Genetic evolution of seeds: INRA on the battle front

Faced with the challenge of climate change and food security, INRA is developing new resistant and efficient plant varieties. After years of research, the institute has already created 34 varieties, 13 of which have been sold to seed companies. These varieties, designed to improve yields and the sustainability of agricultural systems, are designed with a view to their large-scale adoption by farmers.

In a context of climate change and increasing water stress, the development of new resilient and high-yielding plant varieties has become a major strategic issue to ensure food security in Morocco.

Faced with recurrent droughts and extreme temperatures, the genetic improvement of seeds represents an essential lever for strengthening the sustainability and productivity of agricultural systems. It is with this in mind that the National Institute of Agronomic Research (INRA) in Meknes has been carrying out intensive research for several decades aimed at creating new varieties of cereals, legumes and oilseeds, adapted to local agro-ecological conditions.

Among the emblematic locations of this work, the Douiyet Experimental Estate, which stands out for its crucial role in the design of varieties combining high yields, tolerance to environmental stress and superior nutritional qualities.

A “long and rigorous” variety creation process
The creation of a new plant variety is a long-term process, requiring 12 to 14 years of experimentation and evaluation before being offered to farmers. This long delay is explained by the need to test varieties in different agro-ecological conditions to guarantee their resilience to biotic (diseases and pests) and abiotic (droughts and extreme temperatures) stresses.

34 new varieties created
In its strategic plan, INRA is committed to developing between 30 and 50 new varieties as part of the “Green Generation 2020-2030” strategy. These varieties, covering cereals, food legumes and oilseeds, are designed to improve agricultural yields by 50% while strengthening the sustainability of production systems.

To date, 34 new varieties have been created, of which 13 have already been transferred to seed companies for multiplication. Among them, there are six varieties of durum wheat, six of soft wheat, five of oats, four of barley, three of rapeseed, three of chickpea, two of triticale, two of lentil, two of broad bean and one of faba bean. .

Taghouti Mona, researcher at the Rabat Regional Center, explained to us that “these varieties are distinguished by high yield, adaptation to difficult climatic conditions and superior production quality.” She insisted on the importance of making these varieties known to farmers and seed companies and promoting their large-scale adoption to achieve national sovereignty in seed matters.

Encourage the use of new varieties
INRA understands that the creation of high-performance varieties only makes sense if they are adopted by farmers. This is why the institute has implemented a proactive communication strategy to raise awareness among farmers and seed companies of the advantages of these new varieties.

In this context, several events are organized during the month of May, the objective of which is to present the latest results of agricultural research to the various stakeholders, especially strategic partners.

Mehdi Idrissi / ECO Inspirations



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