Enhancing Genetic Diversity of Lentils and Chickpeas in France

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ICARDA, Terres Inovia, and three renowned crop breeders in France, have formed an exciting alliance to enhance the genetic diversity of French lentils and chickpeas, bolstering their resilience to climate challenges and improving their nutritional value.

5th September: The new alliance between ICARDA, Terres Novia, Agri-Obtentions SA, Pro’Pulse, and Semences de Provence, is part of the Cap Protéines program’s initiative, “Evaluating and disseminating varieties of legumes and oilseeds with a high protein content.” By expanding the pool of plant genetic resources, the partners aim to increase the availability of lentil and chickpea varieties in France, addressing the rising demand for legumes while equipping farmers with more robust options to combat climate-driven disruptions.

The research collaboration, set to continue until 2025, revolves around two key objectives:

  • Developing new plant genetic resources well-suited to French conditions.

  • Entailing the cooperative evaluation of existing genetic resources and the creation of a diverse gene pool to facilitate the development of lentils and chickpeas in France.

The scarcity of research investment in this field underscores the significance of diversifying genetic resources for pulses. In light of mounting consumer demand and the vulnerability of agriculture to climate shocks, increasing genetic diversity is imperative to bolster production resilience and enhance productivity.

Gilles Robillard, President of Terres Inovia, underscores the pivotal role played by this research agreement in safeguarding the future of lentil and chickpea crops. Dr. Shiv Kumar, ICARDA Chief Lentil Breeder, highlights the potential for creating more nutritious and climate-resilient varieties that will offer farmers worldwide improved yield prospects.

The expansion of the genetic pool for lentils and chickpeas is expected to drive genetic progress, enhance tolerance to stress and diseases, and improve agronomic performance in yield and protein content. Furthermore, this collaboration aligns seamlessly with the agro-ecological transition underway in French and European agriculture, harnessing the diversity of genetic resources to fortify agricultural production against future challenges.

The research agreement between Terres Inovia, ICARDA, and the French breeders represents a significant stride towards ensuring the resilience of lentils and chickpeas. By pooling our expertise and resources, we are poised to contribute substantially to developing more nutritious and climate-resilient crops, ultimately benefiting farmers and consumers alike.

Read the full press release.

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