ICRISAT in Nigeria organized a field day to demonstrate pearl millet research and introduce millet varieties to Nigerian farmers, partners and other stakeholders in the agricultural sector. The event attracted stakeholders and national partners in the pearl millet value chain as well as representatives of farmer groups and leaders in the Local Government Area (LGA) of Minjibir.
Dr Hakeem A Ajeigbe, ICRISAT’s country representative in Nigeria, highlighted the institute’s efforts along with that of partners in releasing improved pearl millet varieties with high yielding and nutritional benefits, resistance to pests and diseases including downy mildew. ICRISAT collaborated with national agricultural research institutes such as the Lake Chad Research Institute (LCRI) and the Institute for Agricultural Research (IAR), Zaria, in developing new improved pearl millet varieties that will soon be handed over to farmers to promote both domestic and industrial usage of the crop. Dr Ajeigbe also mentioned the International Year of Millet in 2023 as being instrumental for raising awareness about the health benefits of the crop and its suitability for cultivation under changing climatic conditions.
Similarly, Dr Michael Vabi, Socio-economist, ICRISAT-Nigeria, revealed that millets are a traditional food across Africa and Asia, largely consumed in their natural forms. He added that increasing awareness of millets and their health benefits is helping fuel their return to plates and to farms as well as adding value to agricultural practices.