Pearl millet field day held in Maradi, Niger
On 29 August, ICRISAT and the National Agricultural Research Institute of Niger (INRAN), in collaboration with the Maradi Region Agricultural Department, held a Field Day at a road-side pearl millet variety demonstration plot at Maradi, Niger.
The Field Day was attended by the Secretary General of the Governor’s Office and the Regional Director of Agriculture for Maradi Region, the Director of INRAN’s CERRA-Maradi Research Station, scientists and technical support staff from both the ICRISAT Sahelian Center and INRAN CERRA-Maradi, local seed producers, and more than 100 farmers from a total of ten villages in the vicinity of Maradi.
During the activity, farmers compared the performance of four ICRISAT pearl millet varieties in large plots (20 m x 50 m each) – including locally popular improved varieties SOSAT-C88 and ICMV-IS 89305, as well as ICRI-Tabi and Mil de
Siaka, which are in the pipeline for release in Niger later this year. The vulnerability of SOSAT-C88 to millet headminer provided INRAN entomologist Dr Ibrahim Baoua an excellent opportunity to discuss with farmers effective biological control system developed for this important insect pest of early-flowering pearl millet varieties.
Similarly, INRAN pathologist Issa Karimou interacted with farmers on managing downy mildew in ICRI-Tabi and Striga in SOSAT-C88 and Mil de Siaka, the most important disease and weed, respectively, impacting on pearl millet production in Niger.
Meanwhile, ICRISAT HOPE Project Seed Systems consultant Paul Buckner and local seed producers spoke with farmers about ongoing seed production and plans for the coming year. Farmers were particularly impressed by the excellent performance of high-tillering, compact-panicled, medium-early-flowering variety ICRI-Tabi, which despite some mildew-infested plants showed good levels of resistance against both headminer and Striga, combined with excellent agronomic performance. There is a growing farmer interest in ICRI-Tabi, which is the best non-Iniari germplasm source of high grain iron and zinc concentration identified to date in pearl millet from West Africa, and in pipeline for enrolment in Niger’s national list of recommended varieties later this year. Breeder seed
multiplication of ICRI-Tabi is scheduled to be initiated at ISC in the coming dry season.