Quest for drought-resistant chickpea could benefit poor farmers

Scientists are seeking to develop chickpeas in which can flourish in dry climates, to help some of the entire world’s poorest farmers reliably grow the staple crop.

Experts are to use low-cost imaging in addition to computing science techniques to identify how to speed the breeding of chickpea varieties in which give high yields in arid conditions.

Their research could enable farmers in Africa – where much of the population relies on poor smallholdings for subsistence – to improve chickpea harvests in a changing climate.

Researchers desire their findings can significantly improve annual yields through current levels of about 1.5 tonnes per hectare to about 5 tonnes per hectare.

Chickpeas grown in Ethiopia depend on monsoon rain for their development, yet in which has been unreliable in recent years, affecting harvests.

Researchers will grow varieties of chickpea plants under a range of conditions in simple transparent frames. Images of the plants’ developing root systems – which show how well these reach into deep soil – will be analysed by artificially intelligent computers.

An interdisciplinary team of scientists will seek to gain a deeper understanding of how conditions affect chickpea growth. They will develop algorithms to determine how a resilient variety could be bred. in which will enable breeders to focus on varieties with improved upon performance.

Experts through the University of Edinburgh will work with Addis Ababa University, the Ethiopian Institute for Agricultural Research in addition to the Ethiopian Biotechnology Institute on the £750,000 project, funded by the Global Challenges Research Fund through the Biotechnology in addition to Biological Sciences Research Council.

The collaboration seeks to build on the University of Edinburgh’s expertise in plant root science in addition to machine learning.

The team hopes the findings through their 30-month study may also benefit chickpea farmers inside Middle East, India in addition to Pakistan, where climates are becoming hotter in addition to drier.

Dr Peter Doerner, of the University of Edinburgh’s School of Biological Sciences, who is usually taking part inside study, said: “Growing in which staple food is usually already a challenge in many poor regions, in addition to is usually becoming tougher amid climate change. A chickpea in which grows well in dry climates could aid many of the entire world’s poorest farmers.”

Explore further:
Searching for a better way to breed chickpeas

Provided by:
University of Edinburgh

Quest for drought-resistant chickpea could benefit poor farmers

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