Millet in Mali
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CTA. 1988. Millet in Mali. Spore 18. CTA, Wageningen, The Netherlands.
Permanent link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10568/44978
In semi-arid regions of Mali millet is intercropped with cowpea on 60% of cultivated plots, but production of millet, the nation's major food crop, has been in decline. Loss of fallow periods, declining soil fertility and an increasingly drier...
In semi-arid regions of Mali millet is intercropped with cowpea on 60% of cultivated plots, but production of millet, the nation's major food crop, has been in decline. Loss of fallow periods, declining soil fertility and an increasingly drier climate, have restricted production to about 500 kg oer hectare. Traditional millet-farming patterns have been the subject of a four-year investigation carried out by ILCA at two sites in Mali. The studies have found that changing the planting date of the crops, altering the pattern and density of crops and rotating millet/ cowpea intercrops with millet alone can contribute towards a 30% increase in yield. Delay in sowing the leguminous cowpea by seven days reduces competition and promotes both grain and biomass yields. Planting millet and cowpea in alternate holes also reduces interspecies competition. A single application of rock phosphate and alternate intercropping allows three times as much cowpea to be planted without reducing millet yields. The ILCA study also discovered that, in dry conditions, cowpea showed a competitive edge over millet, a position that was reversed in areas of higher rainfall. In Mali, cowpea is a valuable source of protein for both humans and livestock. The new findings should help tc boost production of both mil let and, more importantly cowpea which traditional!, forms only 10% of the mix at planting and only 5% at harvest. For more details, contact: H. Hulet Sahel Programme I LCA Box 60 Bamako MALI