Delivering heat tolerant alleles to raise farm income along the Senegal River

Last changed: 01 March 2023
Field of wheat

Mauritania and Senegal are famine-affected poor countries. Previous research at two field stations led to identifying heat tolerant durum wheat varieties. That work was deemed deserving of the 2017 Olam Prize for Innovation in Food Security because of its potential impact on the life of farmers.

Further work continued to drive development via innovation by establishing an international pipeline for the delivery of heat tolerant varieties via genomic selection, doubling the rate of genetic gain. In seven years, these investments have resulted in an area change from zero to over 5,000 ha of cultivation, touching the life of some 10,000 rural households.  This project proposal, building on previous achievement and for which we are applying herein, will coronate these efforts by fully validating the genomic selection pipeline, with the set goal of doubling the area of cultivation. Furthermore, we will seek the integration of female cooperatives to operate as community-based seed enterprises supporting the scaling of these technologies, while generating employment and rural income. Finally, we aim to achieve scientific excellent by using the latest molecular tools to attempt the fine mapping and possible cloning of the major locus we identified as controlling heat tolerance. Overall, this proposed research-for-development brings novelty and impact in farmers lives, truly bringing to fruition the investments done so far.


Rodomiro Octavio Ortiz Rios
Professor at the Department of Plant Breeding