Muuka, F.P.

Seed production of sorghum and perl millet - Mexico, DF (Mexico) CIMMYT : 2004 - p. 41-45 - Printed

Sorghum and pearl millet are important indigenous African cereal food crops. To date, several improved varieties and a number of agronornic recommendations have been developed for different categories of farmers in different agro-ecological regions. These include open-pollinated varieties (OPVs) and hybrids for grain and forages; and recommendations on spacing, plant population, and fertilizer rates. The improved varieties are diverse in maturity, adaptation, height, seed color, and size. Generally, they are tolerant to prevailing diseases such as anthracnose, downy rnildew, ergot, smut, viruses, leaf diseases, and sooty stripe. Due to numerous constraints, seed production and supply for traditional food crops such as sorghum and rnillet are unstable and often lack continuity. As a result, promotion and adoption of new varieties in Zambia is limited. Statistics on the production and sale of sorghum and pearl rnillet seed/grain are not readily available (Penninkhoff 1988; Chisi and Muuka 1996). Singh and Jain (1991) estimated national seed requirements at 336-480 tons for sorghum and 295 tons for pearl rnillet. During 1985-94, area planted to sorghum and millet grew by 0.2 and 13,1% per year , respectively (F AO 1996). Thus, current seed requirements could be higher than this estimate. Also, the estimate was rnade when only a few improved varieties were available on the rnarket. As new varieties spread and adoption increases, seed demand generally increases (Lof and Nchemba 1994; Maimu et al. 1995; Ericsson and Karlsson 1999). Farmers are increasingly aware of the benefits of improved seed and of differences arnong cultivars. In particular, farmers value the early maturity, large seed size, and higher grain yields of new varieties. Guidelines for producing quality seed of these varieties have also been developed. The recommendations are similar to best agronornic practices for the respective varieties, although certain additional procedures are suggested, depending on the class of seed.



Crop yield
Disease resistance
Food crops
Seed production

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