HOPE project ESA team develops country strategies for sorghum and millets
On 22-23 November, 2012, the HOPE Project ESA Team, held a workshop to develop country strategies for the project’s mandate crops – sorghum and millets. The workshop was held in Arusha, Tanzania and was attended by 33 participants with representatives from Uganda, Tanzania,
Ethiopia, Kenya, Eritrea, South Sudan as well as ICRISAT HOPE project staff.
Country strategies for sorghum and millet research and development were prepared during the workshop to define country priority research and development focus that would further assist smallholder farmers to increase their income and improve their livelihoods.
Since its inception in 2009, the project, in partnership with local partners, has promoted 10 and 15 varieties of improved sorghum and finger millet respectively which are high-yielding, early-maturing and market-preferred. The project also continues to promote crop management techniques such as Striga and soil-water management, microdosing, and row-planting to boost productivity of the crops. In Tanzania, these improved technologies have led to enhanced on-farm grain productivity from 0.8 to 2 MT per ha for finger millet and 1 to 1.8 MT per ha for sorghum.
In the last two years, the HOPE project team has trained farmers in agri-business, finance and credit management and linked the farmers (by participation in stakeholder forums) to input suppliers, grain buyers or processors, and financial credit providers in order to sustain enhanced adoption of technologies and increased grain productivity.
Outlining the meeting objectives, Dr. Mary Mgonja noted that the country strategies will be useful as they will serve as benchmarks for determining what research projects to implement in those countries. The country strategy development framework was also presented and it comprised of past research outputs, variety adoption rates, strategic objectives and vision for success to help in the drafting of the country strategies, expected to be finalized by 8 December.
While thanking the local partners for organizing the meeting, the Regional Assistant Director, Dr. Alastair Orr advised the participants to start thinking along regional (not individual country) perspective to facilitate sharing of information and technologies. This would help shorten the research-farmer information gap in HOPE mandate countries and facilitate quicker realization of impacts/benefits from research and development by farm households.