News: Climate change-ready crops developed -
08 Feb 2011
MANILA, Philippines – Taking a pragmatic outlook on climate change, the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) based in India and headed by Dr. William Dar of the Philippines has gone ahead and developed climate change-ready cultivars of dryland crops.
Dr. Dar affirms that “ICRISAT is well placed to respond to the climate challenge. Along with our partners, we recognize the importance of the issue and firmly believe that our strategy, following the inclusive market-oriented development approach, will benefit the livelihoods of communities who are the most vulnerable to climate change.”
ICRISAT’s research is focused on crops that are important to the livelihoods of the people of the dryland tropics. These are pearl millet, sorghum, chickpea (garbanzos), pigeonpea (kadios) and peanut. These crops have several natural evolutionary advantages to withstand global warming.
Short-duration peanut varieties such as ICGV 91114 have good levels of drought tolerance and are already replacing more susceptible older varieties. For chickpea, ICRISAT has developed extra-early (80 to 90 days to maturity) and super early (75 to 80 days) varieties that can escape terminal drought. More recently, ICRISAT researchers have identified chickpea lines that have high levels of heat tolerance, whiich will enable them to be grown in areas with higher temperatures during the heat-sensitive pod filling-stage.
Both pearl millet and sorghum have high levels of salinity tolerance, so are better adapted to areas that are becoming saline due to global warming. Some of the pearl millet varieties and hybrids developed from ICRISAT’s germplasm are able to flower and set seed at temperatures more than 42 degrees centigrade in areas such as Western Rajasthan and Gujarat in India.
Improved sorghum lines have also been developed that are capable of producing good yields in temperatures of 42 degrees C, and have stay-green traits that can enhance terminal drought tolerance.
Source: Manila Bulletin Online, Business Section, 12/24/2010