Key to the SARD-SC initiative is the effective distribution of nurseries and trials throughout participating countries. In November 2013, the Nigerian SARD-SC Wheat Team assembled a number of nurseries of selected ICARDA materials and sent them to West African partner countries: Mali, Mauritania, and Niger.
This collaboration has proved to be extremely successful and is set to continue in coming seasons, with the Nigerian program promising to supply a few kilograms of its most advanced and best-performing breeding lines and varieties to its West African partners.
Through the ICARDA-Sudan program, ICARDA has recently developed a research station in Sudan where conditions are ideal for the development and trials of heat-tolerant early-season wheat and legume varieties. The station uses an integrated approach to crop development; improved varieties are only part of the story. Technology innovations are also included, such as supplemental irrigation that uses targeted irrigation at times when it is most likely to be effective in increasing yield.
The varieties and techniques developed are being scaled up and supplied to countries with a similar climate to the Sudan site. In 2013–14, nurseries of 22 heat-tolerant spring bread wheat were sent to Ethiopia, Nigeria, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, and Zambia, and three nurseries were sent to Sudan. Sets of elite heat-tolerant bread wheat lines were also sent to Niger, Nigeria, Mali, Mauritania, and Zambia. Each nursery contains the materials needed for a 10 m2 field demonstration plot, providing a site where local farmers can gain practical and relevant information on the new techniques and varieties.
The distribution of improved varieties and dissemination of technological information has the potential to improve food security for millions. A particular success has been in Northern Nigeria where yields of up to 6 t/ha have been obtained using improved varieties and techniques such as raised-bed cropping, in comparison to the 1–2 t/ha yielded by traditional varieties and techniques.