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February 29, 2024
dividerNews ArchivedividerDr. Babak Nakhoda, Head of Molecular Physiology Department at International Conference on Millets-2023, India
Dr. Babak Nakhoda, Head of Molecular Physiology Department at International Conference on Millets-2023, India
Dr. Babak Nakhoda, Head of Molecular Physiology Department at International Conference on Millets-2023, India

Dr. Babak Nakhoda, Assistant Professor and Head of the Molecular Physiology Department of ABRII, was invited to give a keynote speech at the International Conference on Millets which was held on the 30th and 31st of January 2023, at Ramnarain Ruia Autonomous College, Mumbai,  India.

Dr. Babak Nakhoda as a distinguished invited speaker presented his lecture on “Millet and sorghum as climate resilient crops to ensure food security under climate change conditions in Iran: Current situation and future prospects”. He stated that millets, mainly proso and foxtail, and sorghum are the main grain crops of ancient Iranian agriculture, especially in central, south, and southeastern provinces of the country, which face water shortage and heat stresses. C4 photosynthesis, deep rooting system, efficient stomata, and high level of tolerance to drought, heat and salinity, and even alkalinity made these crops the ideal crops for the SAT region. Hence, these crops are considered as climate-smart or climate-resilient crops well adapted to harsh environments. Most millet production in Iran is being cultivated as the second crop after wheat. Although some food products such as bread and some kinds of soups are still being produced from sorghum and millets in southern provinces of Iran, these kinds of crops have been mainly cultivated for forage production or for grain production for songbirds and pigeons.

Dr. Babak Nakhoda mentioned that considering the fact that a huge percentage of people in society are suffering from celiac disease, diabetics, cardiovascular diseases, malnutrition, and obesity, millets and sorghum are good, inexpensive, and available solutions that can improve consumers’ health while providing gluten-free and nutritious foods to the celiac patients. With great potential for establishing the whole value chain, farmers and their families can also get involved in food industries, benefited from different byproducts of these crops, and have a better livelihood in rural areas. Hence, millets and sorghum are promising crops for Iranian agriculture to meet national food security and enhance farmers’ livelihoods. New valuable breeding materials of forage and grain pearl millet and sorghum have been received from ICRISAT and distributed among agricultural research centers and universities. These materials are being multiplied and evaluated in different locations in Iran. We hope that in the very near future, these materials will be used in pearl millet and sorghum breeding programs in Iran to improve new superior cultivars of different kinds of sorghums and pearl millet. Besides, some fruitful negotiations with the private sector have also been done to encourage the food industry's investment in smart food production from grain millets and sorghum in Iran for the first time. Although smart foods are still unknown to the public and are in their infancy, a very brilliant future can be expected for these crops and their industry in Iran. 

 


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