Breeding strategies for adaptation of pearl millet and sorghum to climate variability and change in West Africa
Developing variety types with high degrees of heterozygosity and genetic heterogeneity for adaptation traits helps achieve 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.
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