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Experts Meet To Boost Millet, Sorghum Production

by Wangah Wanyama
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By Prossy Nandudu 

Researchers on sorghum and millet from Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda have converged in Soroti city to discuss ways of improving the productivity of sorghum and Millet in the East African region. 

Sorghum and millet are major crop commodities deeply rooted in the agricultural and food systems of communities living in the drylands of East Africa, and are food security crops that can withstand the changing weather if their production is improved. 

According to Dr Scovia Adikini, the program leader of the Drylands and Cereals Program at the National Semi Arid Resources Research Institute (NaSARRI), millet can withstand the changing weather and it has more nutrients which include zinc, iron, and protein, compared to other crops. 

However, its productivity is characterised by low yield, damages due to pests and diseases, low soil fertility and unstructured markets for the two crops among others. 

In an interview on Wednesday, November 22, Adikini said that at the end of the three-day meeting that kicked off on Tuesday, research scientists hope to come up with strategies for increasing production, food security, and household income but also in the management of malnutrition among others. 

She added the two crops account for 80% of the area planted to cereals and 90% of the region’s grain production and are key to addressing the impacts of hunger, malnutrition, and poverty in the region. 

In attendance are research experts from Kenya, Tanzania and others from the National Agricultural Research Organisation (NARO). 

The meeting is part of the harnessing of sorghum and finger millet genetic resources for increased productivity and utilisation in the arid and semi-arid regions of the East Africa project. 

The project is being implemented by NARO-NaSARRI in partnership with Tanzania Agricultural Research Institute (TARI-Uyole), Kenya Agricultural and Livestock Research Organization (KALRO- Kibos), Integrated Breeding Platform (IBP), ICRISAT, Makerere University and NARL among others. 

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