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15 January 2018

Innovation prize for research on fast-growing durum wheat for hot climate

New durum wheat varieties in Fanaye Senegal.

Photo credit: Filippo Bassi (ICARDA) via flickr. (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

Today, there are durum wheat varieties that can be grown on the savannah, along the Senegal River during the four months of the year when temperatures reach 35-40 degrees (°C) and it is too hot to grow other crops. Behind these new varieties are plant breeder Filippo Bassi from ICARDA and geneticist Rodomiro Ortiz from SLU. Now they have been awarded an international food safety prize for their work.

“A ‘crazy idea’ has resulted in the ability to grow durum wheat in the extreme heat of famine-affected Senegal, Mauritania and Mali, potentially boosting the income for 1 million farming families.” This is the statement that explains the choice of the winner of the 2017 Olam Prize for Innovation in Food Security.

Read more here at SLU’s webpage…