ICARDA’s breeding programs of durum wheat, barley, and lentil have made extensive use of wild relatives to develop elite germplasm well adapted to the drastic and frequent droughts that affect the region in which ICARDA operates. It is time to seek the appreciation of our true clients by demonstrating the performances of these new lines to farmers. Additionally, new CWR-derived lines, can now be used to better target the existing gaps between farmers needs and climate change impacts.

Period of Implementation

Jun 30, 2018 - Aug 15, 2021
Total Budget

USD 1,060,000.00



Improve the stability and the amount of wheat, barley, and lentil production for those areas severely affected by biotic and abiotic stresses due to climate change.


The objective of this project will be measured as: i) One genotype derived from wild crosses from each crop submitted to the variety catalog of Morocco and Lebanon for release; ii) Improve farmers cooperation within projects activities; iii) Asses heat tolerance, drought tolerance and disease resistance of wheat, barley, and lentil CWR. iv) Obtain precise opinions of farming communities to provide future directions for breeding and pre-breeding v) Ensure gender equality in all aspects

Impact Pathway

ICARDA’s gene bank collection is among the largest in the world totaling 155,352 accessions (43,000 of wheat, 32,560 of barley, and 14,512 of lentil), mostly composed of landraces and crop wild relatives (CWR). In this project, we present a new model to create a paradigm shift and accelerate both release, fast-track pre-multiplication, and involvement of farmers in the decision process, while also making them aware of the new available varieties. In particular, the project targets the use of the off-season to accelerate the production of pure seeds, followed by a pre-multiplication since the moment a candidate variety is presented to the catalog, and a proven method for the involvement of farmers via participatory variety selection (PVS). The basic principle is to utilize some of the poorest areas of Morocco as a pilot study, since preliminary data on the yield superiority of CWR-derived elites are already available, to then promote both germplasm and method to other 3 partner countries (Lebanon, Senegal, and Ethiopia). In addition, the project includes a careful understanding of adaptation as well as the nutritional value of the three crops across regions, which in turns ensures better targeting and aims at improving diets in poor rural communities. Another component of this project is the creation and dissemination of new superior cultivars for tomorrow, through the exploitation of the CWR introgression generated in the first phase. The PVS process will identify existing gaps between the promoted CWR material and the farmers’ preferences. These gaps will be converted into selection indexes and used to better target cultivars for tomorrow among the existing CWR segregating populations. In the course of the project, the CWR segregating populations will be evaluated across sites, specific traits of interest will be identified, and pedigree selection used to integrate them into superior inbred lines. Finally, both existing and to be developed CWR-derived elites, shall be promoted not only in farmers’ fields, but also among fellow breeders from Morocco, Ethiopia, Senegal, and Lebanon. The absolute best CWR lines will enter the ICARDA international nurseries system and be disseminated to more than 100 partners in over 40 countries in the world. Also, the data generated from this project will be disseminated in the form of a research article to show the potential of CWR-derived varieties to the whole plant science community. All data generated will also be provided to Germinate 3 database for storage and use.


Crop Wild Relatives Crosses: Multi-Location Assessment in Durum Wheat, Barley, and Lentil

Author(s): Noureddine El Haddad | Noureddine El Haddad | Miguel Sanchez-Garcia | Andrea Visioni | Jilal Abderrazek | Rola El Amil | Amadou T. Sall | Wasihun Lagesse | Shiv Kumar Agrawal | Filippo Maria Bassi

Date: 2021-11-11 | Type: Journal Article

Building resilient Mediterranean dryland rural communities

Author(s): Filippo Maria Bassi | Miguel Sanchez-Garcia | Dina Najjar

Date: 2021-09-17 | Type: News Item/Press Item

Crop wild relatives use in durum wheat breeding: drift or thrift?

Author(s): Noureddine El Haddad | Hafssa Kabbaj | Hafssa Kabbaj | Meryem Zaim | Meryem Zaim | Khaoula El Hassouni | Amadou T. Sall | Amadou T. Sall | Mounira Azouz | Rodomiro Ortiz | Michael Baum | Ahmed Amri | Fernanda M. Gamba | Filippo Maria Bassi

Date: 2021-02-01 | Type: Journal Article

Technical report of DIIVA trials in Senegal and identification of genotypes best suited for heat stress tolerance

Author(s): Amadou T. Sall | Noureddine El Haddad

Date: 2021-01-25 | Type: Report - Sub-type(s): Internal Report

2020 DIIVA-PR Project Research Activity Report in Ethiopia

Author(s): Lagesse Wasihun | Noureddine El Haddad

Date: 2021-01-15 | Type: Report - Sub-type(s): Internal Report

Report of DIIVA-PR project - Lebanon for 2019-2020 cropping season

Author(s): Rola Geryes El Amil | Noureddine El Haddad

Date: 2020-05-05 | Type: Report - Sub-type(s): Internal Report

Potential and limits of exploitation of crop wild relatives for pea, lentil, and chickpea improvement

Author(s): Clarice J Coyne | Shiv Kumar Agrawal | Eric J. B. von Wettberg | Edward Marques | Jens Berger | Robert J. Redden | T.H. Noel Ellis | T.H. Noel Ellis | Jan Brus | Lenka Zablatzka | Petr Smykal

Date: 2020-04-07 | Type: Journal Article

Visit Report to Senegal River

Author(s): Noureddine El Haddad | Amadou T. Sall

Date: 2020-03-05 | Type: Report - Sub-type(s): Internal Report

African elders’ knowledge vital to climate-proof global crops

Author(s): Maina Waruru | Filippo Maria Bassi

Date: 2020-02-03 | Type: News Item/Press Item

Durum Wheat DIIVA-PR trial survey

Author(s): Filippo Maria Bassi | Noureddine El Haddad

Date: 2020-01-06 | Type: Other (Survey / Questionnaire)

Advancement report Season 2019-2020 : Dissemination of Interspecific ICARDA Varieties and Elites through Participatory Research

Author(s): Filippo Maria Bassi | Noureddine El Haddad | Andrea Visioni | Shiv Kumar Agrawal | Miguel Sanchez-Garcia | Jilal Abderrazek | Rola Geryes El Amil | Madiama Cisse | Amadou T. Sall | Lagesse Wasihun | Michael Baum | Jacques Wery

Date: 2019-12-31 | Type: Report - Sub-type(s): Internal Report

DIIVA-PR trials in Morocco, 2019-2020 season

Author(s): Filippo Maria Bassi | Noureddine El Haddad

Date: 2019-12-31 | Type: Map

Farmer Contracts in Different Locations

Author(s): Filippo Maria Bassi

Date: 2019-12-30 | Type: Tool

Farmers details conducting DIIVA-PR on-farm trials in Morocco during the season 2019-2020

Author(s): Filippo Maria Bassi | Noureddine El Haddad

Date: 2019-12-27 | Type: Tool

seeding the future safeguarding the world's essential food crops

Author(s): Filippo Maria Bassi

Date: 2019-08-19 | Type: News Item/Press Item

Selection by Stone

Author(s): Filippo Maria Bassi

Date: 2019-08-16 | Type: Blog

DIIVA-PR trials in Morocco, 2018-2019 season

Author(s): Filippo Maria Bassi

Date: 2018-12-31 | Type: Map