The International Center for Biosaline Agriculture (ICBA) recently hosted an event in Dubai, UAE, to launch the Millet Demo Farm, a project established in collaboration with SELCO Foundation. This initiative aligns with the goals of the International Year of Millets and COP28, emphasizing the importance of climate action, sustainable agriculture, food security, and nutrition.
The Millet Demo Farm, a collaborative effort with the SELCO Foundation, is a showcase of the millet value chain, from seed production to consumption. This farm serves a role in raising awareness about the role of millets in adapting agriculture to climate change. By focusing on this often-neglected crop, the farm demonstrates how millets can be integral to climate-smart agriculture, contributing to food security and nutrition.
Dr. Tarifa Alzaabi, the Director General of ICBA, emphasizes the need for sustainable and resilient agrifood systems, advocating for the inclusion of underutilized crops like millets. With their climate resilience and nutrient density, millets are highlighted as a key tool in adapting agrifood systems to climate challenges. Dr. Alzaabi stresses the importance of applied research and innovation for lasting impact.
Echoing these sentiments, Ms. Nirmita Chandrashekar of the SELCO Foundation underscores the necessity for decentralized, sustainable, and clean energy-driven processing for smallholding farmers in the MENA region. This collaboration aims to extend knowledge and technology transfer across the countries where ICBA operates.
ICBA researchs and develops climate-resilient and nutritious crops suitable for arid and salt-affected environments. The center boasts a genebank with a vast collection of drought-, heat-, and salt-tolerant plant species, including millets. This genebank is a testament to ICBA’s commitment to biodiversity and sustainability, housing significant collections of barley, quinoa, and other stress-resistant crops.
ICBA has made strides in promoting millet cultivation globally. With the distribution of millet germplasm to partners in 29 countries and research in nations like Morocco, Togo, Tunisia, The Gambia, and Uzbekistan, the center is actively working to enhance global food security and climate resilience.