Published online by Cambridge University Press: 27 July 2009
The International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) genebank in India holds the world's largest collection of 21,594 pearl millet germplasm accessions including 18,447 landraces from 50 countries. West and Central Africa (WCA) region, which is considered as the centre of diversity for pearl millet, is also an important pearl millet germplasm source for resistance to biotic and abiotic stresses. A total of 7372 landraces were assembled from WCA countries. Out of which, 6434 landraces have the georeference data. The geographic origins of these landraces were analyzed using geographic information system tools to identify gaps in the collection. Geographical distribution of existing collections, type of vegetation, land cover and the high probability (>70%) for the occurrence of pearl millet estimated using the FloraMap software in different countries show that 62 districts in 13 provinces of Nigeria, 50 districts in 16 provinces of Burkina Faso, 9 districts in 6 provinces each of Mali and Mauritania, 8 districts in 8 provinces of Chad and 7 districts in 3 provinces of Ghana as the major geographical gaps in the pearl millet collection at the ICRISAT genebank. In view of this, we suggest that the final areas for exploration in these districts should be decided prior to the launch of the collection missions in consultation with local government officials and extension officers, who have the knowledge of pearl millet cultivation in the districts identified.