High-iron pearl millet varieties identified for fast track improvement in Africa

(L to R) Mr Hamadou Adamou, research technician, Dr Gangashetty, Dr Tabo and Dr Govindaraj at the demo plots. Photo: ICRISAT

(L to R) Mr Hamadou Adamou, research technician, Dr Gangashetty, Dr Tabo and Dr Govindaraj at the demo plots. Photo: ICRISAT

Pearl millet varieties GB 8735 and ICTP 8203 have been selected for fast track improvement and release in Niger, Ghana and Senegal. The selected varieties along with local controls are being tested on-farm at more than 30 locations across five countries.

This is part of an initiative for biofortification of pearl millet and sorghum. Other key achievements of the initiative include:

  • Creating a database on commercialized open pollinated varieties of pearl millet for Fe (iron) and Zn (zinc) density over 16 locations across West and Central Africa (WCA);
  • Working towards defining the Fe baseline for WCA (i.e. ~40 XRF ppm) which still needs to be validated.

These achievements were discussed at a review and planning meeting for the initiative. The meeting also focused on plans for nurseries and trials in 2017 with National Agricultural Research Systems partners. Other key issues discussed included strengthening the XRF lab and upgradation to the latest calibration method and exercising caution with regard to grain sampling protocols. The country strategy for millet and sorghum was shared highlighting the importance of biofortification research. The review group visited the high-Fe cultivar demonstration plots and actively participated in the ranking of demo entries.

The two-day meeting was organized by ICRISAT-Niger. The 22 participants represented partner organizations and ICRISAT staff from Niger, Nigeria and India. Presentations were made by NARS partners and by ICRISAT staff Dr Ramadjita Tabo, Research Program Director, West and Central Africa and Country Representative Mali; Dr Malick Ba, Country Representative Niger and Senior Scientist, Entomology; Dr Prakash Gangashetty, Scientist, Pearl Millet Breeding; Dr Ignatius Angarawai, Scientist, Sorghum Breeding; and Dr M Govindaraj, Scientist, Pearl Millet Breeding.

Partners: HarvestPlus, The Council for Scientific and Industrial Research -Savanna Agricultural Research Institute (CSIR-SARI), Institute of Agricultural Research (IAR), Institut d’Economie Rurale (IER), Institut de l’Environnement et de Recherches Agricoles (INERA), Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique du Niger (INRAN), Institut sénégalais de recherches agricoles (ISRA), Usman Danfodio University- Sokoto (UDU-Sokoto), l’Association Minim Sông Pânga (AMSP) and ICRISAT.

CGIAR Research Program: Agriculture for Nutrition and Health (A4NH)

This work contributes to UN Sustainable Development Goal good-health

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