12) Project launched to increase the use of sorghum and pearl millet grains for poultry feed (10 June 2005)

The International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT), along with its partners from various R&D sectors, has launched a collaborative project to enhance the utilization of sorghum and pearl millet grains in the poultry feed industry in India, China and Thailand.

Funded by the Common Fund for Commodities (CFC), the Netherlands, in association with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, the project brings together partners from the agricultural research institutes, universities, NGOs, poultry feed manufacturers, poultry growers, and farmers' groups from the three countries.

Deputy Director General of ICRISAT, Dr Dyno Keatinge, launched the project on behalf of the Director General, Dr William Dar. According to Dr Keatinge, the project blends the relative strengths of the partners so that the poor and marginal farmers get the best value from sorghum and pearl millet. By increasing the utilization of the crops grown in the dry parts of the developing world, the project will help the most disadvantaged farmers. He urged the partners to build upon the pilot project on the use of sorghum for poultry feed funded by DFID.

Though the poultry industry has been using maize for the production of feed, there has been a great demand to find alternatives. Sorghum and pearl millet have the potential to fill this gap. The problem, however, is one of low productivity, production and access. The project is expected to increase productivity of sorghum and pearl millet and improve their storage and bulking facilities.

The project aims at linking small and marginal farmers growing sorghum and pearl millet with poultry feed manufacturers, resulting in value addition and enhanced income for the farmers. This in turn will create a greater demand for the two crops.

The three-year project has a total funding of $2.1 million. While $1.5 million is from the CFC grant, the remaining resources will be contributions by the partners.

In India, the project will be operational in Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra. In China and Thailand a province each with a cluster of project villages will be selected. The Liaoning Academy of Agricultural Sciences, Shenyang and the Field Crops Research Institute, Bangkok are among the partners for the project.

For further information, contact Dr CLL Gowda at c(dot)gowda(at)cgiar(dot)org.

by ICRISAT. All rights reserved.