PMT reviews sorghum activities in Maharashtra

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PMT reviews sorghum activities in Maharashtra

It has been a fruitful year for 25,000 sorghum farmers in the Western and Marathwada regions of Maharashtra State in India, thanks to interventions from the ICRISAT-HOPE project that have helped them realize more than 40% higher grain yield and over 20% higher fodder yield.

This was revealed at the meeting of the project’s Program Management Team (PMT) composed of Drs Said Silim (Principal Investigator and Director, ICRISAT Eastern and Southern Africa), George Okwach (Project Manager) and Mary Mgonja (Principal Scientist) with donor representative Dr Yilma Kebede of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF) at ICRISAT Patancheru on 9-13 January. The meeting reviewed the sorghum component of the project, under which ICRISAT works with Mahatma Phule Krishi Vidyapeeth (MPKV) and Marathwada Agricultural University (MAU) to enhance post-rainy season sorghum yields in Maharashtra.

With the objective of reviewing the progress made and suggesting changes required, the PMT travelled extensively in rural Maharashtra, camping in a different place every day. The PMT along with staff from ICRISAT (Belum VS Reddy, A Ashok Kumar, G Basavaraj and ST Borikar) and partner institutions (SR Gadakh, VG Pokharkar and Uttam Chavan from MPKV; SP Mehtre and Sachin More from MAU) visited farmers’ fields to elicit farmer response to improved seeds and technologies supplied by the project, to learn more about their requirements, and to make project interventions more sustainable. In its third year of implementation, the project directly served more than 25,000 small sorghum farmers who received improved seeds, technologies and training on improved crop management, seed production and marketing to increase grain and stover production and to realize higher prices for their produce.

The PMT gauged the geographical extent of the areas covered and the number of farmers served under

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the project, the incremental yields and profits realized by them, the strength of partnerships built and the changes in crop cultivation and marketing in the last three years.

Buoyed by the project’s success, Dr Kebede complimented the PMT for its efforts in developing products to address focused target areas and adaptation; taking the products into the field; and working together to meet the objectives in South Asia (SA). Considering the gains reported by the farmers from the adoption of improved technologies, he encouraged the team to continue with its excellent work.

Commending the good work of ICRISAT and its partners in Maharashtra, Drs Silim, Okwach and Monja expressed hope to see similar success in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA).