|Picture by: Iraq WLI team, Abu Ghraib benchmark site, Iraq|
Improving water productivity is one way of saving water in countries like Iraq where water scarcity presents a serious challenge to sustain agricultural production and promote food security. With support from USAID, the WLI has managed to support Iraqi researchers' efforts to improve water efficiency by promoting greenhouse technology to grow tomatoes, cucumbers and eggplants in the Abu Ghraib benchmark site of Iraq. In addition to saving water, the technology is proven to increase yield and farmers’ revenue by more than 10 fold as compared to farmers growing the same vegetables in the open field. The increase in yield also creates an opportunity for women who are traditionally responsible for post-harvest processing of vegetables.
The research team is also promoting other improved technologies to increase water productivity and yield based on experiments on farmers’ fields. One such experiment compared surface and sub-surface drip irrigation systems to grow eggplants, and determined that sub-surface drip irrigation both saves water and increases yield. The finding has great significance for women who make up 44% of the users of the technology. Findings of the research were shared with farmers in the community through a field day where the team demonstrated the benefits of the technology and encouraged its adoption.