Impact of Genetic Improvement in Sorghum and Pearl Millet: Developing Country Experiences

Obilana, A B and Monyo, E S and Gupta, S C (1996) Impact of Genetic Improvement in Sorghum and Pearl Millet: Developing Country Experiences. In: Proceedings of the International Conference on Genetic improvement of sorghum and pearl millet.

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Achievements have been made in genetic improvement technology in sorghum and pearl millet in many countries o f southern Africa, particularly Botswana, Namibia, Zambia, and Zimbabwe. In the ten-year period 1984-85 to 1994-95, ICRISAT’s germplasm and associated breeding efforts of the SADC (Southern Africa Development Community)/ICRISAT Sorghum and Millet Improvement Program (SMIP), in collaboration with the National Agricultural Research Systems (NARS) scientists, have resulted in the release of 32 improved varieties and hybrids o f sorghum andpearl millet in eight countries of southern Africa. These releases are more than double (250%) those released in the ten years from 1973-74 to 1983-84. Eighty-seven percent of the releases contain ICRISAT materials. Cultivars released in the four countries used as case study experiences in this paper (Botswana, Namibia, Zambia, and Zimbabwe) account for 20 (63%) of the total 32 sorghum and pearl millet cultivars in the region. Of the 20 released cultivars, eight (40%) have been adopted and are presently being grown by farmers. Adoption studies carried out through surveys by SADC/ICRISATSMIP, based on seed sales and distribution, and estimates by breeders in the region, based on quantities of seed produced, indicate a variable diffusion pattern in the four countries, with rates of diffusion ranging from one year (for Phofu sorghum variety in Botswana, Okashana 1 pearl millet variety in Namibia, and PMV 2 pearl millet variety in Zimbabwe), through two years (for Kuyuma sorghum variety in Zambia) to five years (for SV2 sorghum variety in Zimbabwe). The areas of current coverage follow a similar dramatic pattern. In Botswana, variety Phofu covered 25% of the total sorghum area (22, 000 ha) within the one year of diffusion, while variety Okashana 1 covered 14% of the total pearl millet area (47, 000 ha) in Namibia. A 36% farm coverage was recordedfor variety SV2 after three years of significant diffusion in Zimbabwe following emergency seed production. In monitoring the release, on-going adoption, and impact of improved varieties in SADC countries, survey data (1994-95 to 1995-96) from SADC/ICRISAT SMIP indicate an internal rate of return of 27-34% and a stream of net benefits rangingfrom $ 7.8-28.9 million in Zimbabwe for SV 2 and PMV 2. In Namibia, a rate of return of 13% with net benefit o f $ 0.04 million was calculated (Anandajayasekeram et al., 1995). Impact assessments o f the other released improved varieties in Botswana and Zambia are still going on. The presently moderate impacts generated at farm level by these new improved varieties as a result of genetic improvement (involving research and development activities) has been enhanced and promoted by several important factors: 1) the introduction and development of improved germplasm with farmer-preferred traits of early maturity, drought resistance, and acceptable good quality in grain; 2) seed production; 3) effective on-farm testing for farmer verification; and 4) breeder participation and commitment in technology transfer and exchange.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Uncontrolled Keywords: Genetic Improvement, Sorghum, Pearl Millet, Germplasm
Subjects: Mandate crops > Millets > Pearl Millet
Mandate crops > Sorghum
Others > Genetics and Genomics
Others > Germplasm
Depositing User: Mr Ramesh K
Date Deposited: 15 Jun 2017 10:56
Last Modified: 15 Jun 2017 10:59
Acknowledgement: The authors wish to recognize the significant input of Dr. Leland R. House for the initial large sorghum and pearl millet germplasm seed consignments introduced from all over the world to begin the SADC/ICRISAT SMIP in 1983-84. His activity in acquiring such initial diverse germplasm into the program is highly commendable. His initiative in producing and providing large quantities of improved sorghum and pearl millet following the most severe drought of 1991-92 prompted more awareness by farmers and government policy makers and led to increased adoption of new improved cultivars in the southern Africa region. We thank Dr. BholaNath Verma for his useful comments and review of the first draft of this paper. We also are most grateful to the farmers of southern Africa and to national scientists, especially in Botswana, Namibia, Zambia, and Zimbabwe, for their close collaboration with the regional SADC/ICRISAT SMIP and for making impact on farmers’ fields possible in the region.
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