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The non-profit organization Crop Trust has developed a new variety of durum wheat that should produce good harvests where ordinary durum wheat perishes from heat and drought, The Guardian reports.
The new variety, called Jabal, is a cross between common durum wheat and a wild relative of the wheat that grows in dry regions of Syria. In tests, Jabal has performed well under extreme conditions where other grains failed.
"Many farmers said it was love at first sight when they saw Jabal standing luxuriantly while all the other varieties died in the drought," says Filippo Bassi, one of the researchers behind the new variety, in a comment to The Guardian.
The researchers expect the variant to work just as well on a larger scale. The new wheat is also soon to begin commercial cultivation in Morocco, which is currently suffering from the worst drought in 40 years and where harvests have fallen by 70 percent.
Jabal is part of the Crop Trust's Wild Relatives project, which aims to get farmers around the world to use more genetically diverse crops. The goal is that the world's food supply should not depend entirely on a small number of varieties that can be very sensitive to changes in conditions such as extreme heat, drought or greatly increased precipitation.