We need to de-prioritize yield within plant breeding. It has become an obsession and does little to help prepare our farmers for the future. As global temperatures continue to climb and the frequency of extreme weather events increases, our crops need to be bred for resilience so that they can adapt to the changing environment.
“I’ve never seen barley looking this great before!” El Kbir Safraoui couldn’t hold back his excitement about the crop growing in his fields. And he had seen a lot of barley in his lifetime of farming in central Morocco.
Cowpea production has declined in the U.S. in recent decades. But with drought caused by climate change and depleted aquifers leaving farmlands in regions of India, the U.S., Africa and elsewhere high and dry, Close thinks the time is right to bring cowpeas back in vogue — and he’s doing his part.
With one stone, Abdellah Bounagua ensured his voice was heard. He was able to guide breeders like Filippo in their development of the varieties that will allow him, and other farmers like him, to prosper while the climate changes. That’s a big splash for such a small stone.
For the past four years, I have led an international research team that has made it possible to grow durum wheat in conditions of extreme heat along the Senegal River basin, a region highly affected by poverty. Our scientific breakthrough, essential in the fight against hunger in the region, has won the 2017 Olam Prize for Innovation in Food Security.
How are some plant breeders, farmers, millers and bakers retracing the path to ancient, diverse grains that will see us eating healthier, tastier bread into the future?
Say you’re an experienced gardener, adept at sowing and transplanting, weeding and harvesting. You’re ready for the next step in self-sufficiency…