Project: To strengthen sorghum, finger millet and pearl millet value chains in East Africa

 

Photo credit: ICRISAT

Farmers attend a sorghum field day in Kiboko, Kenya, conducted for the Sorghum for Multiple Uses (SMU) value chains in Kenya and
Tanzania project. Photo: ICRISAT, file photo

NEW PROJECT BRINGS HOPE TO FARMERS WAITING TO BUILD ON PREVIOUS SUCCESSFUL VALUE CHAIN INITIATIVES

 

To strengthen sorghum, finger millet and pearl millet value chains in East Africa, a new project was launched. The four-year program will target resource-constrained smallholder farmers and agropastoralists in Kenya and Tanzania and will build on the successes of earlier projects. At the launch, farmers, especially women, spoke of their entrepreneurial achievements through the previous projects and their expectations of the new project. (See box)

The project – Strengthening sorghum and millet value chains for food, nutritional and income security in arid and semi-arid lands of Kenya and Tanzania (SOMNI) – will build on the work accomplished by previous projects, particularly Harnessing Opportunities for Productivity Enhancement (HOPE) 1 and Sorghum for Multiple Uses (SMU). It will upscale the deployment of production technologies and development of value-added products of sorghum, millets and suitable dryland legumes for household and commercial uses.

The project will specifically focus on:

  • Improving productivity of sorghum, finger millet and pearl millet and increasing their capacity to adapt to environmental variability in smallholder farming systems in Tanzania and Kenya;
  • Increasing access to sorghum and millet food, feed and fodder by the poor, especially rural women and children;
  • Increasing consumption of nutritious dryland cereals by the poor, especially among nutritionally vulnerable women; and
  • Increasing income from marketing dryland cereal grain, fodder and products by low-income value chain actors, especially smallholder women farmers.

Read the full article: ICRISAT

Advertisements

Cultivation of improved legumes and cereals

 

Photo credit: ICRISAT

Farmers and project members inspecting green gram crop. Photo: Egerton University

INCREASING FARM PRODUCTIVITY IN KENYA THROUGH CULTIVATION OF IMPROVED LEGUMES AND CEREALS

In a span of one year, 300 farmers in Kerio valley in Kenya earned over KES 4.8 million (USD 46,978) by cultivating 44.5 ha of green grams and over KES 4.2 million (USD 41,106) through cultivation of 161.8 ha of groundnuts.

These farmers were trained in increasing productivity of dense legumes (groundnuts, green grams) and cereals (millets and sorghum). High quality seeds of green grams and groundnuts mainly KS20 variety, CG 7, and ICGV 90704 that are well adapted to hot dry areas of Kerio valley were released to farmers. Farmers were trained on improved planting practices. Prior to this, farmers used to plant less seed (4 kgs per 0.4 ha instead of 8 kgs per 0.4 ha) which reduced their yield to 3-4 bags per 0.4 ha instead of 7-8 bags per 0.4 ha.

Due to the combination of providing high yielding improved seeds and training on better agronomic practices farmers in four areas (Kapkayo, Biretwo, Kabulwo and Arror) tripled their acreage to 364 ha for groundnuts and increased monetary gains from KES 4 million (USD 39,149) in 2015 to KES 25 million (USD 244,682) in 2016. Green gram production also increased significantly from an area of less than 48 ha to over 116 ha with total incomes increasing from KES 2.8 million (USD 27,404) in 2015 to 5.6 million (USD 54,808) in 2016.

As harvest improved, farmers were briefed on the benefits of collective marketing of produce through aggregation centers at Arror, Kabulwo, Biretwo, Kapkayo and Cheplambus for better price negotiation. Due to aggregation, market access became easier for farmers. For example the Greenforest Company Ltd. based in Nairobi is currently buying the unshelled groundnut at KES 70 (USD 0.68) and green gram at KES 125 (USD 1.22) per kilo.

In addition farmers were trained on correct spacing, timely planting, importance of earthing-up for groundnut to facilitate better pod formation, pest (pod borers, cutworms, aphids) and disease (mainly early blight, cerspora leaf spots and Groundnut Rossette virus) control.

Read the full article: ICRISAT

HIGH BIOMASS SORGHUM AND PEARL MILLET

 

Photo credit: ICRISAT

Newly developed high biomass sorghum. Photo: B Veera Shetty, ICRISAT

NEWLY DEVELOPED HIGH BIOMASS SORGHUM AND PEARL MILLET A BOON TO 2G BIOFUEL PRODUCTION IN INDIA

The advantages of newly developed high biomass sorghum and pearl millet developed by ICRISAT and Indian Institute of Millets Research (IIMR) for use as feedstock in second generation or lignocellulosic (2G) biofuel production in India was highlighted at a recent workshop.

The advantageous traits of these dryland crops are wider adaptability, fast growth, high biomass production potential, resilience to drought, and non-compromise on food security as the grain is used for human consumption. The use of these crops in biofuel production has the potential of improving incomes of Indian farmers in the semi-arid regions.

India is a signatory to the UN Climate Change Paris Agreement (COP21) and biofuel production is one of the thrust areas identified to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The country’s ethanol production is mainly from sugarcane molasses. However, considering severe water shortages there is limited scope to increase the production of this water-intensive crop. Hence there is a need to develop newer feedstocks along with supply chain mechanisms and optimized biomass processing technologies for establishing commercial 2G biofuel plants. These plants need to have the capacity to produce sufficient ethanol to augment the blending demands of the country. The government’s current goal is to blend 5% of ethanol in gasoline across the country and increase the blending percentage to 10% in the short run and up to 20% in the next five years.

To develop an action plan to address the above issues, 70 participants representing the Government of India, industry and academia cutting across various specializations met at ICRISAT headquarters.

The main objectives of the workshop were –

Read the full article: ICRISAT

DRY-SEASON GROUNDNUT VARIETIES

Photo credit: ICRISAT

Participants during the farmers’ field visit appreciating groundnut variety Samnut24. Photo: A Diama, ICRISAT

NIGERIAN FARMERS BEAT HIGH TEMPERATURES WITH DRY-SEASON GROUNDNUT VARIETIES

Farmers in northern Nigeria are switching over to groundnut production in the hottest months of the year. From an initial six farmers cultivating the improved groundnut variety in the 2012 dry season, today there are over 5000 farmers in northern Nigeria involved in groundnut production.

Unlike vegetables and fruits grown in the dry season, the groundnut produced during this period coincides with a peak in demand for groundnut seeds, so seed growers can tap a ready market. In addition, the groundnut crop residues provide a good source of income to farmers at a time when the price of fodder is highest. Also, the groundnut is not affected by market glut as is the case with fruits and vegetables during this period.

“I am a farmer and public servant for about 35 years now. Since this dry season groundnut was introduced 3 years ago, I got about 200 bags of groundnut last year, in addition to the fodder which I use for feeding my animals,” says Mr Abdulahi Abubakar, a farmer and a legislator. “Unlike the varieties that we used to grow during the rainy season, this groundnut is not damaged by pests.”

“There is much higher yield in dry season production. If you can get a ton in the dry season, you’ll only get half ton per ha in the rainy season. You can also cultivate this groundnut with less irrigation compared to tomato and maize. From 42 ha I want to go for 100 ha and get into mechanization. It is my wish that in the coming dry season, you will visit my mechanized farm.”

“I encourage the youth in my area to take up groundnut production. I will support them financially as they start this business,” said Mr Abubakar during a field visit organized on his farm recently. “I also want to tell them to use improved seeds and appropriate planting methods and to follow the advice given by extension officers,” he said.  Mr Abubakar’s farm is located in the local government area of Ningi, Bauchi State, Nigeria.

Read the full article: ICRISAT

World Day to Combat Desertification

Photo credit: Google – Imgres.jpg

 

United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification

World Day to Combat Desertification to be held on 17 June 

Let us find long‐term solutions, not just quick fixes, to disasters that are
destroying communities,” urged Monique Barbut, Executive Secretary of the UNCCD.(See PRESS RELEASE below).

COMMENTS

Willem Van Cotthem: We keep hoping that success stories and best practices will be applied at the global level. Priority should be given to methods and techniques providing daily fresh food to the hungry and malnourished. It cannot be denied that hunger and malnutrition are constantly undermining the performances of people. Application of existing success stories in local food production (kitchen gardens, school gardens, hospital gardens, …) would positively influence the efforts to combat desertification (limiting erosion, stimulating reforestation, etc.). We keep hoping.

ReplyUnited Nations Convention to Combat Desertification Hi Willem Van Cotthem, would you like to share some success stories you have? We always welcome all to share!”

       ReplyWillem Van Cotthem : Hello Friends at the UNCCD Secretariat: It will be my pleasure to select a series of success stories in the literature. However, I am convinced that the UNCCD secretariat has the necessary documentation to compile even a book on this subject (to the best of my knowledge the documents, e.g. presentations at COPs and meetings of CST and CRIC, have been there during my active period in the CST and in Bonn). Please consider a consultancy to achieve top class work that would serve all member countries, the CST and the CRIC. To be presented at the next World Day June 17th 2016.

PRESS RELEASE
UNCCD’s Monique Barbut Calls for Long‐Term Solutions Not Just Quick Fixes To Drought Bonn, Germany, 22/02/2016 –
“Protect Earth. Restore Land. Engage People. This is the slogan for this year’s World Day to Combat Desertification to be held on 17 June. I am calling for solidarity from the international community with the people who are battling the ravages of drought and flood. Let us find long‐term solutions, not just quick fixes, to disasters that are destroying communities,” urged Monique Barbut, Executive Secretary of the UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD).
The droughts and floods beating down on communities in many parts of the world are linked to the current El Niño, which is expected to affect up 60 million people by July. In some areas, including in North Eastern Brazil, Somali, Ethiopia, Kenya and Namibia, the El Niño effects are coming on the back of years of severe and recurrent droughts. It is impossible for households that rely on the land for food and farm labor to recover, especially when the land is degraded.
What’s more, these conditions do not just devastate families and destabilize communities. When they are not attended to urgently, they can become a push factor for migration, and end with gross human rights abuses and long‐term security threats.
“We have seen this before – in Darfur following four decades of droughts and desertification and, more recently, in Syria, following the long drought of 2007‐2010. It is tragic to see a society breaking down when we can reduce the vulnerability of communities through simple and affordable acts such as restoring the degraded lands they live on, and helping countries to set up better systems for drought early warning and to prepare for and manage drought and floods,” Barbut said.
Ms Barbut made the remarks when announcing the plans for this year’s World Day to Combat Desertification, which will take place on 17 June.
“I hope that World Day to Combat Desertification this year marks a turning point for every country. We need to show, through practical action and cooperation, how every country is tacking or supporting these challenges at the front‐end to preempt or minimize the potential impacts of the disasters, not just at the back‐end after the disasters happen,” she stated.
The United Nations General Assembly designated 17 June as the observance Day to raise public awareness about international efforts to combat desertification and the effects of drought.
Ms Barbut thanked the Government and People of China, for offering to host the global observance event, which will take place at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing.
“China has vast experience in nursing degraded lands and man‐made deserts back to health. This knowledge can and should benefit initiatives such as Africa’s Great Green Wall, the re‐ greening in southern Africa and the 20 X 20 Initiative in Latin America. We can create a better, more equal and climate change‐resilient world,” she noted.
“I also call on countries, the private sector, foundations and people of goodwill to support Africa  when the countries meet later in the year to develop concrete plans and policies to pre‐ empt, monitor and manage droughts,” Ms Barbut stated.
The 2016 World Day campaign is also advancing the Sustainable Development Goals adopted in September last year. The Goals include a target to achieve a land degradation‐neutral world by 2030. That is, a world where the land restored back to health equals to, or is more than, the amount degraded every year.
For more information on the Day and previous events, visit: http://www.unccd.int/en/programmes/Event‐and‐campaigns/WDCD/Pages/default.aspx
For background information and materials for the 2016 Observance, visit: For information about the Global Observance event, visit: http://www.unccd.int/en/programmes/Event‐and‐ campaigns/WDCD/wdcd2016/Pages/default.aspx
Contact for World Day to Combat Desertification: Yhori@unccd.int
For Media information: wwischnewski@unccd.int

Low-cost agri interventions to make the drylands greener

Photo credit: ICRISAT

Mr Tippeswamy in his pigeonpea field showing robust crop growth with soil test-based
balanced fertilization. Photo: G Chander, ICRISAT

Drylands get greener with low-cost agri interventions and shared resources in Andhra Pradesh, India

Farmers in the drylands of Andhra Pradesh, who previously struggled to sustain their groundnut and pigeonpea crops during long dry spells, are now witnessing an increase in food grain production by 30 to 40% and fodder production by 10% to 30%. They are also raising mango plantations and growing vegetables. This has been possible through low-cost agricultural interventions such as building farm ponds and replenishing degraded soils with micro and secondary nutrients and sharing of farm resources such as machinery and pasture lands.

These learnings were shared at field days that had Innovation Platform experts interacting with about 300 farmers (100 were women) from the Dryland Systems (DS) sites in Anantapur and Kurnool that receive only about 540 mm of annual ra infall. The topics discussed included water conservation, soil health, gender mainstreaming, fodder promotion, small-scale vegetable cultivation, managing common lands and mechanization.

Read the full story: ICRISAT

Tef, gluten-free, highly nutritious and drought-tolerant

Photo credit: ICRISAT

Tef: New superfood crop in ICRISAT’s portfolio

Tef (Eragrostis tef), an important crop for both income and nutrition in Ethiopia, has joined the list of ICRISAT’s research crops. Being a minor millet and grown in semi-arid and sub-humid environments, it fits well into ICRISAT’s mandate.

Injera made from tef is a staple dish in Ethiopia.
Photo: GA Ayele

 

Tef is not only gluten-free, but also highly nutritious. It has the highest amount of protein among cereals and has high levels of calcium, phosphorous, iron, copper, barium and thiamine.

Relatively unknown outside the country, Ethiopians are proud of the crop and consider it as their identity. Tef is grown on 3.02 million ha land with more than 6.54 million smallholder farmers producing 4.75 million tons. It is the number one crop in terms of area and ranks second in terms of production in Ethiopia.

The decision to include tef was made by ICRISAT Governing Board during its 72nd meeting held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, in April 2015. This was at the request of Ethiopian Institute of Agricultural Research (EIAR). As a follow-up, ICRISAT organized a stakeholder consultation meeting recently to identify key constraints and opportunities using the value chain approach.

“It is really exciting to focus on tef which is gaining prominence internationally. The ability of the crop to grow in diverse environments and its nutritional value makes it an extremely important crop in improving the resilience, income and food security especially under climate change. There is a need to improve the profitability of tef cultivation while undertaking genomic and genetic studies that help develop varieties resistant to lodging and other stresses that the crop is facing,” said Dr David Bergvinson, Director General, ICRISAT.

Read the full story: ICRISAT