Morocco: Development of new cereal varieties more tolerant to drought

Morocco: Development of new cereal varieties more tolerant to drought

Six promising durum wheat and barley varieties that are more tolerant to drought, and that offer higher yields and important nutritional qualities have been developed by the International Centre for Agricultural Research in Dry Areas (ICARDA), Morocco’s National Institute for Agronomic Research (INRA) and the Benchaib seeds company.

According to a joint statement by the three partners, six new varieties of durum wheat (Nachit, Jabal and Jawahir) and barley (Chiffa, Assiya and Khnata) have been developed under the DIIVA-PR project, which aims to produce cereal varieties with better drought tolerance and nutritional values.

Founded by the Crop Trust and coordinated by ICARDA, this project aligns with the strategic vision of the Generation Green Plan 2020-2030 of the Moroccan Ministry of Agriculture, with the aim of achieving greater food sovereignty by 2030 for cereal crops, notably through strengthening the certified seed sector to offer better varieties to farmers, the statement said.

It took more than ten years of research to develop these new varieties, using genetic resources of ancestral grains, collected and stored in the Gene Bank of ICARDA in Rabat, said the statement, adding that these ancestral grains have survived without human intervention for millennia in very harsh climatic conditions.

They carry key genetic traits to create new varieties more capable of withstanding climatic challenges, such as drought.

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