New Drought-tolerant Varieties of Durum Wheat and Barley for Morocco
Moroccan farmer Abdellah Bounagua shows a spike of Nachit, a new variety developed from crop wild relative-derived durum wheat. Photo: Michael Major/Crop Trust
17 March 2023
An international collaboration of world-leading scientists led by the International Center for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas (ICARDA), and supported by the Crop Trust, has delivered six new durum wheat and barley varieties tolerant to increasingly severe droughts ravaging Morocco.
As a component of the Crop Trust's Crop Wild Relatives Project, ICARDA and its partners developed six promising new drought-tolerant varieties of durum wheat and barley. The new varieties promise to help increase production, resilience, and nutritional quality for farmers. With their climate-smart and enhanced food quality traits, such as heat, drought, and pest resistance, the new varieties aim to strengthen food and nutrition security and improve the livelihoods and resilience of Moroccan farmers.
To ensure the viability of the new varieties, crop breeders evaluated the barley and durum wheat in farmers' fields across Morocco, exposing them to some of the most severe droughts on record, and identifying the most promising ones. The project engaged 200 local farmers also tested the varieties for four years across 30 Moroccan farms.