Well-designed strategy drives pearl millet mainstreaming nutrition initiative

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A well-designed strategy currently being implemented to develop pearl millet lines that are both high-yielding and high in iron (Fe) and zinc (Zn) was appreciated by donors and partners at a virtual review meeting attended by the leadership of HarvestPlus. Strategic studies ongoing at ICRISAT identified potential high-yielding lines that had Fe ranging from 44 to 72 ppm and Zn from 33 to 56 ppm.

The strategy focused on –

  • Ensuring that 70-80% of the crosses have at least one parental line that is high in Fe and Zn.
  • Identifying parental lines (both seed and restorer lines) with a good combining ability for grain yield and high Fe and Zn for uptake in breeding programs.
  • Initiating trials to assess nutritional profile of pipeline and commercial hybrids of the private sector and providing market advisories to promote biofortified hybrids.
  • Supporting phenotyping of breeding material of the private sector at a highly subsidized cost.

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