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

Video Positive Messaging Helps Revamp Ethiopia's Image

In country once connected with war, poverty, famine, headlines now focus on fast-growing economy, diplomatic reputation More

Russian Activist Thinks Kremlin Ordered Nemtsov's Death

Alexei Navalny says comments of Russian liberals who think government wasn't involved are 'nonsense.' More

Video Land Disputes Rise Amid Uganda Oil Boom

Investors appear to be cashing in by selling parcels of land to multiple buyers 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.
Positive Messaging Transforms Ethiopia's Imagei
X
Marthe van der Wolf
March 03, 2015 9:03 PM
Ethiopia was once known for famine and droughts. Now, headlines more often point to its fast-growing economy and its emergence as a regional peacemaker. How has Addis Ababa changed the narrative? VOA's Marthe van der Wolf reports.
Video

Video Positive Messaging Transforms Ethiopia's Image

Ethiopia was once known for famine and droughts. Now, headlines more often point to its fast-growing economy and its emergence as a regional peacemaker. How has Addis Ababa changed the narrative? VOA's Marthe van der Wolf reports.
Video

Video Cyber War Rages Between Iran, US

A newly published report indicates Iran and the United States have increased their cyber attacks on each other, even as their top diplomats are working toward an agreement to guarantee Iran does not develop a nuclear weapon and to free Iran from international sanctions. The development is part of a growing global trend. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video Answers Elude Families of MH370 Passengers

For the families on board Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, an airline official’s statement nearly one year ago that the plane had lost contact with air traffic control at 2:40 AM is the only thing that remains confirmed. William Ide reports.
Video

Video Land Disputes Arise Amid Uganda Oil Boom

Ugandan police say there has been a sharp increase in land disputes, with 10 new cases being reported each day. The claims come amid an oil boom as investors appear to be cashing in by selling parcels of land to multiple buyers. Meanwhile, the people who have been living on the land for decades are chased away, sometimes with a heavy hand. VOA's Serginho Roosblad reports.
Video

Video In Russia, Many Doubt Opposition Leader's Killer Will Be Found

The funeral has been held in Moscow for Boris Nemtsov, the opposition leader who was assassinated late Friday just meters from the Kremlin. Nemtsov joins a growing list of outspoken critics of Russia under the leadership of President Vladimir Putin who are believed to have been murdered for their work. VOA’s Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
Video

Video Simulated Astronauts Get Taste of Mars, in Hawaii

For generations, people have dreamed of traveling to Mars to explore Earth's closest planetary neighbor. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports that while space agencies like NASA are planning manned missions to the planet, some volunteers in Hawaii are learning how humans will cope with months in isolation on a Mars base.
Video

Video Destruction of Iraq Artifacts Shocks Archaeologists

The city of Mosul was once one of the most culturally rich and religiously diverse cities in Iraq. That tradition is under attack by members of the Islamic State who have made Mosul their capital city. The Mosul Museum is the latest target of the group’s campaign of terror and destruction, and is of grave concern to archaeologists around the world. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports.
Video

Video Smartphones May Help in Diagnosing HIV

Diagnosing infections such as HIV requires expensive clinical tests, making the procedure too costly for many poor patients or those living in remote areas. But a new technology called lab-on-a-chip may make the tests more accessible to many. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Refugees Complain of Harassment in Pakistan

Afghan officials have expressed concern over reports of a crackdown on Afghan refugees in Pakistan following the Peshawar school attack in December. Reports of mass arrests and police harassment coupled with fear of an uncertain future are making life difficult for a population that fled its homeland to escape war. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports from Islamabad.
Video

Video Ukrainian Volunteers Prepare to Defend Mariupol

Despite the ongoing ceasefire in Ukraine, soldiers in the city of Mariupol fear that pro-Russian separatists may be getting ready to attack. The separatists must take or encircle the city if they wish to gain land access to Crimea, which was annexed by Russia early last year. But Ukrainian forces, many of them volunteers, say they are determined to defend it. Patrick Wells reports from Mariupol.
Video

Video Moscow Restaurants Suffer in Bad Economy, Look for Opportunity

As low oil prices and Western sanctions force Russia's economy into recession, thousands of Moscow restaurants are expected to close their doors. Restaurant owners face rents tied to foreign currency, while rising food prices mean Russians are spending less when they dine out. One entrepreneur in Moscow has started a dinner kit delivery service for those who want to cook at home to save money but not skimp on quality. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Presidential Hopefuls Battle for Conservative Hearts and Minds

One after another, presumptive Republican presidential contenders auditioned for conservative support this week at the Conservative Political Action Conference held outside Washington. The rhetoric was tough as a large field of potential candidates tried to woo conservative support with red-meat attacks on President Barack Obama and Democrats in Congress. VOA Political Columnist Jim Malone takes a look.
Video

Video Southern US Cities Preserve Civil Rights Heritage to Boost Tourism

There has been a surge of interest in the American civil rights movement of the 1950s and '60s, thanks in part to the Hollywood motion picture "Selma." Five decades later, communities in the South are embracing the dark chapters of their past with hopes of luring tourism dollars. VOA's Chris Simkins reports.
Video

Video Deep Under Antarctic Ice Sheet, Life!

With the end of summer in the Southern hemisphere, the Antarctic research season is over. Scientists from Northern Illinois University are back in their laboratory after a 3-month expedition on the Ross Ice Shelf, the world’s largest floating ice sheet. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, they hope to find clues to explain the dynamics of the rapidly melting ice and its impact on sea level rise.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More