Breeding Strategies for Adaptation of Pearl Millet and Sorghum to Climate Variability and Change in West Africa. uri icon

abstract

  • Semi-arid and subhumid West Africa is characterized by high inter-annual rainfall variability, with variable onset of the rainy season, somewhat more predictable endings, and drought or excess water occurrence at any time during the growing season. Climate change is predicted to increase this variability. This article summarizes options for plant breeders to enhance the adaptation of pearl millet (Pennisetum glaucum [L.] R. Br.) and sorghum (Sorghum bicolor [L.] Moench) to climate variability in West Africa. Developing variety types with high degrees of heterozygosity and genetic heterogeneity for adaptation traits helps achieving better individual and population buffering capacity. Traits that potentially enhance adaptive phenotypic plasticity or yield stability in variable climates include photoperiod-sensitive flowering, plastic tillering, flooding tolerance, seedling heat tolerance and phosphorus efficiency. Farmer-participatory dynamic gene pool management using broad-based populations and diverse selection environments is useful to develop new diverse germplasm adapted to specific production constraints including climate variability. For sustainable productivity increase, improved cultivars should respond to farmer-adoptable soil fertility management and water harvesting techniques. Larger-scale, on-farm participatory testing will enable assessments of varietal performance under evolving climatic variability, provide perspective on needs and opportunities and enhance adoption. Strengthening seed systems will be required to achieve sustainable impacts.
  • Semi-arid and subhumid West Africa is characterized by high inter-annual rainfallvariability, with variable onset of the rainy season, somewhat more predictableendings, and drought or excess water occurrence at any time during thegrowing season. Climate change is predicted to increase this variability. This articlesummarizes options for plant breeders to enhance the adaptation of pearl millet(Pennisetum glaucum (L.) R. Br.) and sorghum (Sorghum bicolor (L.) Moench)to climate variability in West Africa. Developing variety types with high degreesof heterozygosity and genetic heterogeneity for adaptation traits helps achievingbetter individual and population buffering capacity. Traits that potentiallyenhance adaptive phenotypic plasticity or yield stability in variable climatesinclude photoperiod-sensitive flowering, plastic tillering, flooding tolerance,seedling heat tolerance and phosphorus efficiency. Farmer-participatory dynamicgene pool management using broad-based populations and diverse selectionenvironments is useful to develop new diverse germplasm adapted to specificproduction constraints including climate variability. For sustainable productivityincrease, improved cultivars should respond to farmer-adoptable soil fertilitymanagement and water harvesting techniques. Larger-scale, on-farm participatorytesting will enable assessments of varietal performance under evolving climaticvariability, provide perspective on needs and opportunities and enhanceadoption. Strengthening seed systems will be required to achieve sustainableimpacts

publication date

  • 2012
  • 2012
  • 2012