Protected agriculture: productive use of marginal land
Scaling-up: This technology is suitable for both irrigated and rainfed systems, but particularly for subsistence farmers in dry areas with poor soils.
Protected agriculture – cultivation of high-value vegetables and other horticultural crops in greenhouses – allows farmers to grow cash crops on small plots in marginal, water-deficient areas where traditional cropping is not viable.
This technology, originally developed and tested by ICARDA in the Arabian Peninsula, has been adapted and successfully used in poor, smallholder farming systems in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Yemen.
Protected agriculture offers many advantages:
- Large increases in yield, produce quality and revenue
- High water productivity, saving significant amounts of water
- Significant reduction in pesticide use – lower production costs, healthier produce
- Year-round production, allowing farmers to take advantage of market seasonality and higher prices