Options to improve livelihoods and protect natural resources in dry environments uri icon


  • This article reviews work that had the objective of introducing agricultural technologies in a marginal dryland area, the Khanasser Valley, northwestern Syria. The highly variable rainfall is barely sufficient to support livelihoods in this traditional barley?livestock production system. The valley is representative of other marginal dryland areas in West Asia and North Africa. We used a farmer-participatory approach to evaluate the performance of agricultural technologies for dry marginal areas in terms of their contribution to livelihoods and effect on the environment. The integrated approach allowed comprehensively comparing and evaluating the viability of promising technologies, including novel crops, intercropping, soil management techniques, and livestock rearing. The results show that improved barley varieties, olives, cumin, and lamb fattening can improve livelihoods, particularly for the land-owning households, whereas other households can benefit indirectly in terms of employment spillovers. These options are also environmentally friendly and sustain the natural resource base

publication date

  • 2009