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Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Collaborative Research on Sorghum and Millet

Genetic Enhancement of Pearl Millet for Yield, Biotic and Abiotic Stress Tolerance in West Africa (GENMIL)

Lead institution: Institut Sénégalais de Recherches Agricoles (ISRA)/CERAAS
Award amount: $1,010,088
Focus countries: Niger, Senegal

Millet storage

Principal investigator: Ndjido Kane
U.S. collaborating institutions: Kansas State University
International collaborating institutions:Senegal - Institut Sénégalais de Recherches Agricoles (ISRA), Centre d’Etudes Régional pour l’Amélioration de l’Adaptation à la Sécheresse (CERAAS); Niger - International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT), Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique du Niger (INRAN)

Drought, diseases and insects are key constraints for millet production in West Africa. There is a recognized need for rapid advancement in the development of varieties addressing these constraints and taking into consideration farmer’s practices and market acceptability. This project aims to accelerate the development of a combination of pearl millet (PM) innovations to put into farmers hands that at finite will result in sustainable productivity enhancement of PM for food security and income generation. Specific objectives are: i) modernizing INRAN and ISRA breeding program to deliver high-yielding PM cultivars that tolerate drought, Striga and downy mildew in Niger and Senegal; ii) assisting production with adapted and resilient farmer’s practices and crop management strategies; iii) co-developing and up-scaling selected options of integrated genetic, natural resource management context to improve PM production; and iv) empowering human and institutional capacities.

The five-year research project (2019-2023) is compartmentalized to meet these 4 specific objectives, relying on series of activities and strategic criteria. A first criterion is dialogue between scientists and farmers and back-and-forth with end-users for a high rate of adoption of PM innovations. The activities around will consist of promoting adoption and advocating the uses and benefits of new PM technologies, within an innovative platform gathering actors of the value chain (stakeholders, private sector, farmer’s organizations, extension services, scientists). Sharing material and knowledge will bring on germplasm originating from West Africa, from Niger and Senegal. Genetic materials either available or being developed will be shared between teams and research programs. Breeding Management System (BMS) will be used as standardize unique management and sharing resources (plant materials and data) system. Germplasm will be evaluated in both Senegal and Niger. Inter population improvement approach of reciprocal recurrent selection (RRS) method will be applied using selected populations to make use of both general and specific combining ability. Recent phenotyping and genotyping approaches will be conducted to evaluate the germplasm and identify/validate major quantitative traits loci (QTLs) for tolerance to drought, resistance to major biotic stresses in Senegal and Niger (complementary and co-working). Farming practices coping with diseases or ecologically intensifying production will be added into the breeding product profile (co-conceptualization). All identified elite cultivars will be integrated into local breeding programs (co-breeding) and evaluated on-farm for performance and farmer/market acceptability (scaling-up). Mentoring of early career research and continuous empowering of young trainees (PhD an MSc), farmers and seed producers will contribute to human and institutional capacity building needed to modernize sustainable PM breeding programs across the NARIs.

For more information about the project, contact:

Dr. Ndjido Kane, Director
Institut Sénégalais de Recherches Agricoles (ISRA)/CERAAS
BP 3320, Thiès Escale
Thiès - Sénégal
Tel:(+221)339514993
ndjido.kane@isra.sn