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Climate-resilient Crops of Tomorrow: Millets

Start date:
21 March, 2023
End date:
21 March, 2023
10:00 - 13:00

Shade House, ICBA HQ


Climate change poses major risks to future global food security and nutrition. Drought and other weather extremes and environmental factors exacerbated by climate change are forecast to impact agriculture and reduce yields of staple crops such as wheat, rice, and maize. But agrobiodiversity holds great potential for mitigating such threats to agriculture in different parts of the world as there are many forgotten and neglected crops which are more tolerant of biotic and abiotic stresses and have better nutritional profiles.

So, it is important to diversify agri-food systems and diets by growing and consuming more resilient and nutritious crops like millets. In fact, not only are millets good for the consumer, but also the farmer and the environment. They are not just nutritious foods. They are also climate-smart foods as their cultivation and consumption helps to reduce agriculture’s effects on the environment.

Hitherto a staple in traditional cooking in India and a number of countries in Africa, millets are becoming popular around the world, including the UAE, due to their health and other benefits. To build up this momentum, the United Nations has declared 2023 the International Year of Millets.

As science, government, industry, and business look for ways to make agri-food systems more sustainable and climate-resilient, crops like millets should be given special attention. They can become more than just a healthy food in local diets and serve as a powerful tool in the arsenal of climate change adaptation and mitigation resources.


Over more than two decades, ICBA has been at the forefront of research and development on stress-resistant crops that are suited to marginal environments affected by a range of factors such as soil and water salinization, water scarcity, and land degradation. The center has identified, tested, and introduced a variety of stress-resistant crops like quinoa, sorghum, pearl millet, and Salicornia in different locations.

In line with the theme of the Year of Sustainability in the UAE “Today for Tomorrow”, COP28 and the International Year of Millets, ICBA will organize a series of events throughout 2023 under the theme “Climate-resilient Crops of Tomorrow”. The first event will be an open day to present the latest results from ICBA’s research and development on millets in the UAE and other countries.

The center has been working since late 2020 on identifying more climate-resilient minor millets. These minor millets are better adapted to arid and saline conditions. Minor millets have a double advantage as they are more stress-resistant and nutrient-dense. But unfortunately, they are considered underutilized or forgotten crops as their cultivation is limited to certain areas. Currently, trials are under way at ICBA on pearl millet, finger millet, foxtail millet, and proso millet under varying water salinity and irrigation regimes. And this work will be showcased during the open day.


The program is designed for extension specialists, researchers, farm and agri-business managers.

How to participate

Participation is by invitation only as there is limited space available.