15 Years of Pearl Millet Improvement in the SADC Region

Monyo, E S (1998) 15 Years of Pearl Millet Improvement in the SADC Region. International Sorghum and Millets Newsletter, 39. pp. 17-33.

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Pearl millet improvement under the SADC/ ICRISAT Sorghum and Millet Improvement Program (SMIP)originally focused on two major objectives. The first was to lay the foundation for making improved varieties widely available to farmers in the region. This was to be achieved by supplying national breeding programs with enhanced germplasm and information they could use to stabilize yields in their specific environments. The second was to raise the level of expertise available for the breeding, production, and utilization of pearl millet, contributing to development of strong national programs with the capacity to generate and test elite germplasm. Significant progress has been made towards these objectives. The pearl millet germplasm from southern Africa have been collected, characterized, and conserved. The regional facility holds well over 7000 pearl millet germplasm accessions from around the wor ld, 3082 of which are of SADC origin. Sixteen pearl millet varieties originating from this project have been released in five SADC countries: Malawi (2), Namibia (4), Tanzania (2) , Zambia (4) , and Zimbabwe (4) . These varieties currently occupy 2-45% of the total pearl millet area in these countries. Functional millet breeding programs have been established in nine countries, among them Namibia where a successful seed development and delivery system was developed from scratch, Malawi, Namibia, and Tanzania are now in the process of redefining their breeding priorities through farmer-participatory methods. An IPM package for control of the armored bush cricket has been successfully implemented in Namibia and Zambia. Over 80 scientists and 200 technicians have been trained in crop improvement, agronomy, crop protection, seed production, and quality control; and this training has helped national programs upgrade their skills and experience. SMIP recognizes that a strong regional scientific capability and the technical advances made in the development and dissemination of improved varieties provide a solid foundation for increasing farm-level productivity and incomes. If the ful l potential of this foundation is to be realized and the ultimate goal of the program fulfilled, SMIP must now address three important issues: seed delivery systems, broader stakeholder input into technology development, and commercialization of pearl millet.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: Mandate crops > Millets
Depositing User: Library ICRISAT
Date Deposited: 17 Sep 2011 04:37
Last Modified: 17 Sep 2011 04:37
URI: http://oar.icrisat.org/id/eprint/1673
Official URL:
Acknowledgement: UNSPECIFIED
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