The Last Crop Before the Desert
Crop breeders from the International Center for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas (ICARDA) in Morocco are using wild cousins of barley to to develop varieties that can survive on the fringes of the desert.
Barley is the fourth most produced grain globally, after maize, rice and wheat. And although it can produce a decent crop under harsh conditions, it is not unaffected by climate change. By utilizing the diversity found in the crop's wild relatives, breeders are developing varieties that can better cope with the new challenges.