News / Africa

Nigerian Project Aims to Boost Sorghum and Millet Production

The effort, managed by the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics, wants to increase yields by up to 40%

Fifty-five-year old Ahmed Abubakar Maidu, is one of the farmers who has been linked to a produce market by ICRISAT and its partners, the Lake Chad Research Institute in Maiduguri and the Green Sahel and Rural Development Initiative in Jagawa state.

Maidu lives in Gagagrawa local government area of Jigawa State in northern Nigeria. He grows a number of different food crops on his farm, but in the past he could hardly meet his family’s needs for food and cash.

ICRISAT aims to improve yields of millet in northern Nigeria, where the grain is used for making a thick dough (
ICRISAT aims to improve yields of millet in northern Nigeria, where the grain is used for making a thick dough ("fura"), a popular drink ("fura da nunnu") and a custard-like food ("kwoko")

All this changed for Maidu when ICRISAT introduced him to new growing methods and improved seed varieties for the crops he grows.

"Now, due to the introduction of new farming technology, I double what I use to get," he explained. "For example, this year I planted one and half acres only, but I have 30 bags of pearl millet, 15 bags of sesame and three bags of cowpea."

He said the harvested crops are split; some are used for home consumption and the rest are sold to earn cash for the family. The seeds are kept for the next farming season.

Maidu said after many years of poor harvest and sales, ICRISAT and its partners have introduced him to new markets for his produce.

"These marketers invited us," he said, "and told us they have got a good market where they are going to lead us to sell our farm produce."

Today, he earns about 500,000 naira, or $3,100 per year, which is much higher than in past years.

A Nigerien farmer takes home his harvest of sorghum. The superior stress-resistant traits of sorghum make it a good candidate for the hot dry regions of West Africa.
A Nigerien farmer takes home his harvest of sorghum. The superior stress-resistant traits of sorghum make it a good candidate for the hot dry regions of West Africa.

He now sells his farm produce at Maigatari and Babura markets on the border of Niger, and to the agro-food processing campany in Kano, Dala Foods, Limited.

Bashir Alhaji Baba is market specialist at Lake Chad Research Institute, Maiduguri, funded by the Nigerian government, a partner in the ICRISAT project.

He said improved sales of Maidu's crops are part of an effort to help poor millet and pearl sorghum farmers.

"We actually organize the farmers and the markets themselves," he explained, "so that they will be buying from the farmers at lucrative prices…so that both the farmers and the marketers will benefit."

He said to increase yield and income, farmers are introduced to new varieties of pearl surghum and millet.

Dr. Hakeem Ajeigbe is ICRISAT country representative and system agronomist working with the project.

He said farmers are taught to use a technique called microdosing, or applying small amounts of fertilizer with the seed at planting time. Ajeigbe said the method has been used in neighboring countries.

"Taking the [technique] of microdosing for surghum and millet…was developed elsewhere in [Niger] and other West Africa countries, but we have adopted it," he said.

Ajeigbe said farmers are also trained in improved management options and are linked to seed companies.

George Okwach is project manager specializing in sorghum and millet.

Sorghum is a drought-tolerant staple food used for porridge and baking bread. Increasing costs of imported barley have driven breweries to look to sorghum as an alternative for brewing beer.
Sorghum is a drought-tolerant staple food used for porridge and baking bread. Increasing costs of imported barley have driven breweries to look to sorghum as an alternative for brewing beer.

He said the primary objective of the project is to improve yields for household consumption of up 40%.

That’s good news to households in northern Nigeria, where millet is used for making a thick dough called“fura” and as an additive to fresh cow milk for the popular drink “fura da nunnu.” It is also used for making millet juice, or “kunnun zaki” and for preparing a custard-like food called “kwoko.”

Okwach said increased grain production should also give farmers more money to support their families.

"Food security," he said, "is a very elusive concept in much of dry land tropics, Africa included. There are crop failures nearly every year and so farmers hardly have enough food to sustain them from one year to another."

The effort in northern Nigeria is part of an ICRISAT project called HOPE, or Harnessing Opportunities for Productivity Enhancement of Sorghum and Millets in Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia. The four-year project, which is funded by Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, is providing support to 110,000 households in 10 countries of sub-Saharan Africa.

ICRISAT is a non-profit organization devoted to science-based agricultural development. It’s one of 15 research institutes in the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research, a network of centers funded by United Nations.

You May Like

HRW: Egypt's Trial of Morsi ‘Badly Flawed’

Human Rights Watch says former Egypt leader's detention without charge for more than three weeks after his removal from office violated Egyptian law; government rejects criticism More

Photogallery Lancet Report Calls for Major Investment in Surgery

In its report published by The Lancet, panel of experts says people are dying from conditions easily treated in the operating room such as hernia, appendicitis, obstructed labor, and serious fractures More

Music Industry Under Sway of Digital Revolution

Millions of people in every corner of the Earth now can enjoy a vast variety and quantity of music in a way that has never before been possible More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Study: Insecticide Damaging Wild Bee Populationsi
X
April 24, 2015 10:13 PM
A popular but controversial type of insecticide is damaging important wild bee populations, according to a new study. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Study: Insecticide Damaging Wild Bee Populations

A popular but controversial type of insecticide is damaging important wild bee populations, according to a new study. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Data Servers Could Heat Private Homes

As every computer owner knows, when their machines run a complex program they get pretty hot. In fact, cooling the processors can be expensive, especially when you're dealing with huge banks of computer servers. But what if that energy could heat private homes? VOA’s George Putic reports that a Dutch energy firm aims to do just that.
Video

Video Cinema That Crosses Borders Showcased at Tribeca Film Festival

Among the nearly 100 feature length films being shown at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival in New York City are more than 20 documentaries and features with international appeal, from a film about a Congolese businessman in China, to documentaries shot in Pakistan and diaspora communities in the U.S., to a poetic look at disaffected South African youth. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video UN Confronts Threat of Young Radicals

The radicalization and recruitment of young people into Islamist extremist groups has become a growing challenge for governments worldwide. On Thursday, the U.N. Security Council heard from experts on the issue, which has become a potent threat to international peace and security. VOA’s Margaret Besheer reports.
Video

Video Growing Numbers of Turks Discover Armenian Ancestry

In a climate of improved tolerance, growing numbers of people in Turkey are discovering their grandmothers were Armenian. Hundreds of thousands of Armenians escaped the mass deportations and slaughter of the early 1900's by forced conversion to Islam. Or, Armenian children were taken in by Turkish families and assimilated. Now their stories are increasingly being heard. Dorian Jones reports from Istanbul that the revelations are viewed as an important step.
Video

Video Migrants Trek Through Western Balkans to Reach EU

Migrants from Africa and other places are finding different routes into the European Union in search of a better life. The Associated Press followed one clandestine group to document their trek through the western Balkans to Hungary. Zlatica Hoke reports that the migrants started using that route about four years ago. Since then, it has become the second-most popular path into Western Europe, after the option of sailing from North Africa to Italy.
Video

Video TIME Magazine Honors Activists, Pioneers Seen as Influential

TIME Magazine has released its list of celebrities, leaders and activists, whom it deems the world’s “most influential” in 2015. VOA's Ramon Taylor reports from New York.
Video

Video US Businesses See Cuba as New Frontier

The Obama administration's opening toward Cuba is giving U.S. companies hope they'll be able to do business in Cuba despite the continuation of the U.S. economic embargo against the communist nation. Some American companies have been able to export some products to Cuba, but the recent lifting of Cuba's terrorism designation could relax other restrictions. As VOA's Daniela Schrier reports, corporate heavy hitters are lining up to head across the Florida Straits - though experts urge caution.
Video

Video Kenya Launches Police Recruitment Drive After Terror Attacks

Kenya launched a major police recruitment drive this week as part of a large-scale effort to boost security following a recent spate of terror attacks. VOA’s Gabe Joselow reports that allegations of corruption in the process are raising old concerns about the integrity of Kenya’s security forces.
Video

Video Japan, China in Race for Asia High-Speed Rail Projects

A lucrative competition is underway in Asia for billions of dollars in high-speed rail projects. Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Malaysia Thailand and Vietnam are among the countries planning to move onto the fast track. They are negotiating with Japan and the upstart Chinese who are locked in a duel to revolutionize transportation across Asia. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Bangkok has details.
Video

Video Scientists: Mosquitoes Attracted By Our Genes

Some people always seem to get bitten by mosquitoes more than others. Now, scientists have proved that is really the case - and they say it’s all because of genes. It’s hoped the research might lead to new preventative treatments for diseases like malaria, as Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Bible Museum Coming to Washington DC

Washington is the center of American political power and also home to some of the nation’s most visited museums. A new one that will showcase the Bible has skeptics questioning the motives of its conservative Christian funders. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Armenia and Politics of Word 'Genocide'

A century ago this April, hundreds of thousands of Armenians of the Turkish Ottoman empire were deported and massacred, and their culture erased from their traditional lands. While broadly accepted by the U.N. and at least 20 countries as “genocide”, the United States and Turkey have resisted using that word to describe the atrocities that stretched from 1915 to 1923. But Armenians have never forgotten.
Video

Video Afghan First Lady Pledges No Roll Back on Women's Rights

Afghan First Lady Rula Ghani, named one of Time's 100 Most Influential, says women should take part in talks with Taliban. VOA's Rokhsar Azamee has more from Kabul.
Video

Video New Brain Mapping Techniques Could Ease Chronic Pain

From Boulder, Colorado, Shelley Schlender reports that new methods for mapping pain in the brain are providing validation for chronic pain and might someday guide better treatment.

VOA Blogs