Meet Striga Solutions

28 March, 2022

 

Striga Solutions, a multidisciplinary research project led by CDA Professor Salim Al-Babili, provides new and efficient tools to eradicate Striga from farming fields in sub-Saharan Africa. The project receives funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and KAUST.

 

The challenge? Fighting witchweed infestation

Striga (Striga hermonthica), commonly known as witchweed, is an obligate root parasitic weed that poses a major threat to global food security and pearl millet production in sub-Saharan Africa. Pearl millet is a staple food for African smallholder farmers, ranked as the world’s 6th most important cereal crop. Currently, uncontrolled Striga infestation is causing significant losses in cereal production, affecting crop yields of cereals equating to at least $7 billion each year.

 

The solution? Enhancing pearl millet production

Striga Solutions aims to significantly enhance pearl millet production for smallholder farmers, while supporting rural agriculture and economic development in sub-Saharan Africa. To meet this goal, they’ve developed efficient hormone-based methods that hold promise for a significant reduction of Striga seedbank and are working on identifying genetic targets for breeding and generating Striga-resistant pearl millet varieties.

 

It is very satisfying to solve scientific questions, but the satisfaction you gain when you see that your work is helping to solve a major global challenge is quite extraordinary.” – Professor Al-Babili

 

Learn more about Striga and the team who’s fighting it via the newly launched Striga Solutions website.

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