DROMAMED aims to promote transformations on maize agricultural systems in order to be more sustainable, more efficient and more resilient to climate stresses such as drought and heat. Through improving the tolerance of maize crops to drought, DROMAMED encourages the transition to Innovative Farming Systems (IFS) around the Mediterranean Area.
DROUGHT and heat are among the main problems that agriculture systems are facing worldwide and the situation is expected to get worse due to climate change –climatic models predict a rise of average temperatures, alteration of both rainfall amount and distribution patterns and increase risk of heat stress.
MAIZE is one of the most important crops for feed and food worldwide and is a model crop in plant breeding. Global cereal demand in 2020 was estimated at 2.1 billion tons and, for the first time, maize demand was the largest attaining 852 Mt compared to 760 million Mt for wheat and 503 Mt for rice. It is very likely that the demand for maize (as well as for other cereals) will increase in the years to come.
Besides, in some of the most affected regions by the climate change, like the Mediterranean Area, we find some adapted maize germplasm. However, autochthonous Mediterranean maize, despite unique adaptation, show low yield. Additionally yield improvement is being limited by increasing stresses, with high temperature and drought as the main challenges encountered in a climate change scenario.
MEDITERRANEAN countries conserve the largest maize genetic diversity of the Old World, selected for adaptation to a wide diversity of stressful environments, such as the Sahara Desert. Saharan maize exhibits high phenotypic and genetic diversity and a wide range of variability for adaptation to temperate regions being considered a novel source of drought tolerance.