Photo: LI-BIRD Photo Bank

Use of Genetic Diversity and Evolutionary Plant Breeding for Enhanced Farmer Resilience to Climate Change, Sustainable Crop Productivity, and Nutrition under Rainfed Conditions (EPB)



Evolutionary Plant Breeding (EPB) represents a dynamic and inexpensive alternative breeding approach where breeders and scientists partner with farmers and provide them with seeds of mixtures of a wide and diverse range of selected genetic material from national and international genebanks (including landraces, improved varieties, breeding lines etc.) to plant in their fields. The concept of EPB emphasizes on decentralized participatory plant breeding targeted at helping resource poor farmers where seeds of varietal mixtures are planted and harvested continuously in the target environments, and through natural selection and natural crossing in crops, the genetic composition of the crop population harvested is continuously changing over generations. In this way, genotypes better adapted to the changing climate trends and local environmental and farm conditions will progressively become more frequent in the population. Subsequently, natural selection of crop population supported by farmer’s selection and plant breeder’s supervision will evolve a new population as genebanks within the farmers’ fields. These evolutionary populations (EPs) are expected to have more adaptability and stability compared to single varieties. 

Overall goal of the project is to sustainably increase crop productivity and enhance the resilience to climate change of farming communities under low-input, rainfed and less favoured production conditions and organic production systems. The specific objective of the project is to enhance the resilience of target low-input farmers in the project area by developing EP populations with higher and stable yields under the local farm agronomic and stress conditions, including drought, salinity, pest and diseases. 

The project is implemented in six different countries: Iran, Jordan, Nepal, Bhutan, Ethiopia and Uganda. It is expected that farmers in these countries will benefit directly from the deployment of evolutionary populations, where it reduces their vulnerability to production and income losses, and to climate year-to-year variability, and the environment of unsafe or excessive use of pesticides with positive effects on their health. Local Initiatives for Biodiversity, Research and Development (LI-BIRD) in partnership with Nepal Agricultural Research Council (NARC) are implementing the EPB Project in Nepal in two districts: Lamjung, mid-hill region (800-1300masl) and Jumla, high hill region (2000-3000masl). The project will work on rice and common bean by incorporating germplasms from project sites, gene bank collections, research centres and seed actors from the relevant ecological and adaptation domains.

 

Project Details
Countries: Bhutan, Ethiopia, Iran, Jordan, Nepal, Uganda
Working districts: Lamjung, Jumla
Project Duration: 2018 - 2022
Partners: Bioversity International, National Agricultural Genetic Resources Centre
Funded by: International Fund for Agriculture Development
Contact Person: Dipendra Kumar Ayer