Morocco: Using Underutilized Crops To Fight Climate Change And World Hunger

Morocco: Using Underutilized Crops To Fight Climate Change And World Hunger

African nations are coming up with creative solutions to the devastating effects of climate change on the world’s food security. Phenoma, a phenotyping platform at Mohamed VI University in Benguérir, Morocco, is one such ray of hope. Here, scientists are committed to enhancing a variety of seeds genetically so they can tolerate drastic temperature changes without sacrificing their nutritious content.

Mohammed VI Polytechnic University Ph.D. candidate Salma Rouichi, a research engineer, emphasizes the potential of these underappreciated crops, saying, “These are somewhat forgotten species but very resilient to various stresses, especially climate change.” Because they are low maintenance and require little inputs, they are extensively employed in Africa. These resilient species can help provide nutritional security by addressing a variety of problems associated with salinity, drought, water stress, and climate change.

The Benguérir Phenoma site offers climatic situations that are likely to become more commonplace, in contrast to many other indoor phenotyping platforms that mimic real-world conditions. Prof. Moez Amri, a genetics and plant breeding specialist at the College of Agriculture and Environmental Science, UM6P, claims that Benguérir “represents a future climate scenario” because of its high summer temperatures of over 50°C and low annual precipitation of only 150 millimeters during the cropping season. The solutions we create here may have global applicability and satisfy particular research needs not just in Morocco and Africa but also globally.

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