Finger Millet in Eastern Africa

Finger millet is an important subsistence crop in small scale cereal-based farming systems. However production has been low due to lack of improved technologies, including varieties. The crop, one of the most nutritious of major cereals, could be the key to solving Africa’s malnutrition problem among women and children.



  • Germplasm characterized and sources for resistance to blast, Striga and drought identified
  • Germplasm profiled and identified for nutrient content: Accessions with high nutrient content identified for different nutrients
  • Farmer preferred high-yielding varieties with resistance to main biotic and abiotic stresses released and used by farmers: Ethiopia (7), Kenya (5), Tanzania (2) and Uganda (1)
  • Improved agronomic packages validated and promoted
  • Training imparted in Good Agricultural Practices, value addition and market enterprise practices and seed production to farmers, extension staff, agrodealers and seed companies. 


  • Community seed production units started in Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda, women being the main producers
  • Grain price of finger millet improves
  • Farmers access more seed of improved varieties leading to increased production
  • More income to farmers from seed production as they sell at 1.5 times the cost of grain 
  • 40% yield increase in farmers’ fields with improved varieties and up to 60% with improved varieties and appropriate agronomic packages 
  • Yield increase (2010-2015): 2.0-2.3 t/ha in Ethiopia; 0.6-1.0 t/ha in Kenya; 0.7-0.9 t/ha in Tanzania; and 1.8- 2.3 t/ha in Uganda 
  • Availability of greater diversity of finger millet products leading to increased consumption.

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