New varieties of groundnut and pearl millet released for the dry savanna regions of Nigeria

A local farmer with his pearl millet harvest

New varieties of groundnut and pearl millet released for the dry savanna regions of Nigeria

The National Variety Release Committee of Nigeria has approved the release of two new groundnut varieties and one of pearl millet developed by ICRISAT and its partners for commercial cultivation in Nigeria.

Groundnut varieties SAMNUT 25 (ICGX-SM 00020/5/P10) and SAMNUT 26 (ICGX-SM 00018/5/P15/P2) were recommended and released, based on their good performance across the targeted production environments in Nigeria with regards to pod and haulm yields, resistance to the groundnut rosette disease, early crop maturity, high nutritional qualities, and wide acceptability by the local farmers.

The two varieties originated from F5 aphid resistance x groundnut rosette virus resistance nursery with breeding lines provided by ICRISAT Mali from ICRISAT Malawi in 2006, as part of a total of 140 breeding lines supplied to the Institute for Agricultural Research (IAR) at Zaria, Nigeria. With financial support under the Tropical Legumes II (TL II) project, IAR Zaria scientists evaluated lines of groundnut in collaboration with ICRISAT and other National Agricultural Research System partners in the country.

A local farmer with his pearl millet harvest

A local farmer with his pearl millet harvest. Photo: ICRISAT

ICRISAT and its partners are also making continuous efforts to develop pearl millet varieties suitable to the Northern Sudan and savanna regions of Nigeria which have been suffering from drought.

The Lake Chad Research Institute in collaboration with ICRISAT obtained 360 pearl millet breeding materials made of landraces and improved varieties from ICRISAT Niamey through the German Ministry for Economic Development and Cooperation (BMZ) project, and evaluated and characterized agronomic and yield-related traits for each ecological zone in the 2006 rainy season.

Selected lines were subsequently evaluated through the ICRISAT-led HOPE project in farmer-participatory variety selection.

Based on the performance of pearl millet variety PEO5984 in both on-station and on-farm multilocation trials, farmers preference and profitability over local varieties under the same agronomic practices, the Government of Nigeria recently approved the release of PEO5984 as LCICMV-4 otherwise nicknamed “Jira ne” in Hausa language.

The early-maturing variety PEO5984 has an average yield of 2,263kg/ha, indicating a yield advantage of about 29% over the local variety. This will boost millet production especially in marginal areas of Nigeria where maize or sorghum cannot produce any significant yield due to drought.

The TL II project is being implemented under the CGIAR Research Program on Grain Legumes, while the HOPE project is under the CGIAR Research program on Dryland Cereals. Both projects are funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.