Promoting dual-purpose sorghum and vegetable sack gardens for better nutrition in Mali
Demonstration of improved, dual-purpose sorghum varieties and an innovative method called vegetable sack garden generated great interest in local farmers in Sikasso, Mali, recently. Farmers and agricultural scientists discussed ways to scale up these technologies for wider impact.
The improved dual-purpose sorghum varieties (Soubatimi, Peke and Randiougoucoura), with high grain yield for human consumption and green biomass for animal feed, were highly appreciated by farmers who participated in the field days. Farmers observed demonstrations of different fertility management scenarios (‘no fertilizer’/’DAP+urea’/’cow manure’). Dr Baloua Nebie, Sorghum Breeder, ICRISAT, said, “Most farmers preferred Soubatimi, which gives an excellent response to fertilizer application.”
Soubatimi, with grain size and yield higher than existing varieties in use, gained popularity because it is early maturing, and therefore, more resistant to drought and heat stress. Farmers said the variety was also liked by their livestock as it is low in lignin, soft and palatable.
A vegetable sack garden technology by World Vegetable Center and partners was also exhibited on the occasion. This technology involves preparation of soil in sacks with application of manure that is available around the homestead. “As the technology is being used near home gardens, the follow-up is easier by both adults and children,” explains Dr Jean Baptiste Tignegre, Scientist, World Vegetable Center. Growing vegetables in sacks helps rural women fight malnutrition. For young mothers with reduced mobility, growing vegetables in the family compound gives improved access to nutrient-rich vegetable. The technology also addresses the major concern of many women farmers who cannot own land for farming.
Held at the technology parks of Madina at Bougouni and M’Pessoba at Koutiala during 17–19 October, these events offered a great opportunity to Africa RISING project scientists to introduce proven technologies and discuss scalability of promising technologies with farmers.
Dr Birhanu Zemadin, coordinator of the Africa RISING project in Mali, said, “Dual-purpose sorghum varieties and vegetable sack gardens are two of the many validated technologies under this project. We will continue testing and validating more technologies to suit the demands of the rural communities.”
About 300 participants, including women and students, attended the event in Bougouni, while 310 others were registered in Koutiala district.
Such field days organized on a yearly basis during the cropping season aim to creating awareness about available and proven technologies that are ready for scaling. See here for other technologies that have been disseminated.
Click here to know more about ICRISAT’s work in Mali.
Click here for more on ICRISAT’s work on sorghum.