The International Center for Agriculture Research in the Dry Areas


Since 1977 the International Center for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas (ICARDA) has implemented programs in the Middle East, Central and South Asia, and North and sub-Saharan Africa. ICARDA is a research center within CGIAR, the world’s largest agricultural innovation network.

In the face of intensifying climate change ICARDA’s research-for-development programs in the driest parts of the world provide ways to build better land and water management systems, protect and restore pastoral environments, and develop profitable value chains for farmers. Its work advances scientific knowledge, shapes better practices, informs policy and is open-access to all who need it. For over four decades ICARDA has helped communities, donors, partners, and governments to:

  • Develop drought and disease adapted crop varieties and resilient sheep and goat breeds;
  • Conserve and multiply fast-disappearing crop biodiversity in our genebanks;
  • Research, test and apply new land, soil and water management technologies;
  • Increase farmer income by developing better agricultural systems and market access;
  • Develop the capacities of partners and institutions to follow their own research agendas;
  • Improve access to agricultural enterprise for women and youth.

ICARDA’s non-profit solutions based on peer-reviewed and field-proven science, have been successfully deployed by itself, governments, NGOs, the private sector and development agencies all over the world, impacting millions of people. Its experience and extensive networks of research and development partners enable ICARDA to provide a range of proven, flexible and effective options tailored to specific needs and designed to be easily scaled up and adapted to changing conditions.

Role within AGENT

ICARDA’s genebank experience is used in AGENT to lead the activities of WP4, which aim at achieving new and improved models for the predictions of the usefulness of a given accession. This will be achieved through the deployment of haplotype analysis for major know loci along the genome, the use of genomic predictions of passport data for untested accessions, and ultimately integrate these into the proprietary machine learning model named Focus Identification of Germplasm Sources (FIGS) to asses loci x climate and trait x climate predictions. In addition, ICARDA is also responsible for providing 26K already genotyped accessions to WP2 and conduct drought assessment as part of WP3. In interaction with WP7 leaders we will also help the EVA network to select and asses ideal landraces for field testing and train GB managers in using the FIGS+ pipeline.

Main contacts

Photo of Dr Filippo M Bassi
Dr Filippo M Bassi
Senior Scientist
Photo of Zakaria Kehel
Zakaria Kehel
Gene bank Lead
The International Center for Agriculture Research in the Dry Areas
Dalia Bldg, 2nd Floor
Bashir El Kassar Street
Verdun Area, next to Arab Bank
Beirut, Lebanon