Chakti: Iron biofortified Pearl Millet
For reduced market barriers, diversified enterprise and livelihood opportunities, and increased availability of diverse nutrient-rich foods
What is iron biofortified Pearl Millet (IPM)?
Pearl millet is an important staple food in drier regions of Sub-Saharan Africa, including Nigeria, Niger, Senegal, Mali, and Burkina Faso. Its tolerance to drought, heat, soil salinity, and high water-use efficiency makes pearl millet a climate-smart crop. In addition, it has high protein, mineral content, and dietary fiber.
With support from HarvestPlus, scientists at the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) used conventional plant breeding techniques to develop Africa’s first iron biofortified, extra early maturing, drought tolerant pearl millet variety “Chakti”. This biofortified variety combining high iron content with high yield was developed through intra-population improvement approaches with special emphasis on grain iron (60 ppm) and zinc (45 ppm) densities.
As a cheap dietary source for iron and zinc in the region, this Iron biofortified Pearl Millet has the potential to improve nutrition for millions of farming households, having potential to enhance the physical and mental performance, especially of adolescents.