Despite being the "backbone" of developing economies, poor dryland farmers are often sidelined in terms of governmental support, says William Dar.
Dar, director-general of the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT), says that in addition to financial support, dryland farmers need better policies, more effective institutions, improved infrastructure and better access to higher quality inputs such as seeds.
Agricultural research, which usually receives less than one per cent of public money, should also be better funded, says Dar, as it plays a crucial role in improving crop yields and farmers' income. The Consultative Group on International Agriculture Research recently found that every US$1 spent on international agricultural research leads to US$9 worth of additional food produced in developing countries.
Proactive measures by governments in support of dryland farmers could alleviate the global food crisis, concludes Dar.