Improvement of millet, sorghum, cowpeas and maize in the Sahel
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CTA. 1986. Improvement of millet, sorghum, cowpeas and maize in the Sahel. Spore 4. CTA, Wageningen, The Netherlands.
Permanent link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10568/44504
The research department of the Sahel Institute in Bamako, Mali has just released the results of trials conducted between 1981-1984 to compare different varieties of millet, sorghum, cowpeas and maize. They are the outcome of a regional crop...
The research department of the Sahel Institute in Bamako, Mali has just released the results of trials conducted between 1981-1984 to compare different varieties of millet, sorghum, cowpeas and maize. They are the outcome of a regional crop improvement project involving eight CILSS countries (Permanent Interstate Committee for Drought Control in the Sahel) and financed by the EEC through the European Development Fund (EDF). As a result, a small number of varieties were identified as being capable of adapting to difficult climatic conditions. The project also led to the development of a facility to produce seeds for both breeding and production purposes. It was established to select an array of seeds to test for stability and production characteristics in several ecological zones. This project is an important element in the effort to reduce the food deficit but it must be part of an overall policy. Apart from the problems of price, credit and commercialization, the policy should embrace the distribution of seeds to peasants, improvement of other production factors such as the use of fertilizers and appropriate cultivation techniques, and the maintenance of soil fertility. Such measures are the responsibility of each of the countries concerned. The authors of the report, G. Loynet, A. Kere and O. Sidibe, rightly emphasize that the selection of new varieties and their distribution must be considered an important but not decisive link in making agriculture more intensive. A significant and lasting increase in agricultural production cannot be envisaged simply by exchanging local varieties for improved ones with peasants who are not able to take advantage of this change. Seed selection inevitably involves a trade-off between loss of hardiness and increased productivity. If the other conditions for more-intensive agriculture are not met, there is every possibility that the peasants will reject the new varieties For further information. contact: CILSS Institut du Sahel B P. 1530 Bamako Mali