05
Feb

Performance of pearl millet germplasm accessions and hybrids capture interest in Niger

Pearl millet breeding technician, Mr Hama Adamou, flanked by Dr Malick N Ba, ICRISAT-Niger Country Representative (L) and Dr Hamidou Falalou, Head Regional Genebank (R).. photo: CT Hash, ICRISAT

Pearl millet breeding technician, Mr Hama Adamou, flanked by Dr Malick N Ba, ICRISAT-Niger Country Representative (L) and Dr Hamidou Falalou, Head Regional Genebank (R).. photo: CT Hash, ICRISAT

Pearl millet germplasm accessions selected on the basis of grain yield, country of origin, cropping cycle, resistance to downy mildew, head type and grain color were of great interest to partners at a recent field visit to the ICRISAT-Niger.

“What we have seen in the field was impressive in terms of the performance and diversity of pearl millet germplasm accessions. Also, with our visit to the genebank we learnt a lot on seed processing and conservation for better use,” said Ms Nasser Aichatou, Director, AINOMA Seed Company.

”The performance of pearl millet germplasm accessions demonstrated here could contribute to boosting productivity and the Niger government should link this opportunity offered by ICRISAT with the Nigériens Nourrissent les Nigériens (3N) initiative to reach the goal of food security,” said Mr Ousmane Abdou, Representative of the Ministry of Agriculture.

The materials showcased during the field visit are the result of a pre-breeding trial including 241 germplasm accessions from the ICRISAT-Niger genebank, representing accessions from West and Central African (WCA) countries and 4 checks (2 hybrids and 2 Open Pollinated Varieties (OPVs)) planted during October 2015.

Recently developed high yielding and high-iron OPVs (ICTP 8203 & SOSAT-C88) and hybrids (ICMH IS 14002 and ICMH IS 14012) were used as checks to compare the performance of genebank accessions for yield and its related component traits. The objective of the experiment was to evaluate the phenotypic performance of these germplasm accessions for further utilization in pearl millet breeding programs across by WCA partners and worldwide.

During the visit, participants were introduced to accessions that included Gueriniari-1, Okashama-1 and Moro, all known for high iron content. These genotypes (basically the Iniari type) have contributed to development of high-iron accessions such as ICTP 8203 and GB 8735. The phenotypic performance of recently introduced biofortified (high-iron) pearl millet variety ICTP 8203 and new single-cross hybrids (ICMH IS 14002 and ICMH IS 14012 selected by Dr Prakash Gangashetty, Post-Doctoral Fellow – Pearl Millet Breeding, ICRISAT, were also great attractions.

Dr Paul Buckner, seed systems specialist with the visitors. photo: CT Hash, ICRISAT

Dr Paul Buckner, seed systems specialist with the visitors. photo: CT Hash, ICRISAT

“These pre-breeding germplasm accessions will also be further used for grain sample analysis to assess their genotypic potential for biofortification,” said Dr Gangashetty.

Another point of interest for the participants is the advantage of producing pearl millet seeds during the off-season to avoid cross-pollination and certain pests and diseases.

The field visit, held on 22 January, had representatives from Ministry of Agriculture, the National Seed Certification Agency, the National Agriculture Research Institute (INRAN), Institut de recherche pour le développement (IRD), Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), private seed companies (AINOMA and MANOMA) and farmers’ organizations.

Investors/CGIAR Research Programs: Genebanks, Agriculture for Nutrition and Health and Dryland Cereals.

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