Burkina Faso recently endorsed the Saleable practice of its Primary Pearl Millet Hybrid called Nafagnon
By Abdul Rahman Bangura–
NEW AFRICA BUSINESS NEWS (NABN) Freetown, Sierra Leone- Ratified by the administration of Burkina Faso, the single-cross hybrid also suited the first of its kind to be approved in West and Central Africa (WCA). Nafagnon harvests as much as 45% loftier than popular variety Misari-1. It is more protected to downy mildew and has higher silage profit potential.
The International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics’s (ICRISAT) Pearl Millet Breeding programme for West and Central Africa developed Nafagnon in Niger and the Institut de l’Environnement et de Recherches Agricoles (INERA) assessed it in Burkina Faso.
The hybrid’s name means beneficial milletin Bamanankan language. It also goes by ICRISAT Millet Hybrid (ICMH) 147007. Nafagnon grows up early in 80-85 days and has an earnings potential of about 3 tons per hectare; early maturity enables to withstand terminal drought difficulty.
It is a dual-purpose (grain and forage) hybrid resistant to downy mildew, the most dangerous pearl millet disease in WCA. The seed size, yield potential, stay-green and earliness of the hybrid are characteristics highly inclined toward by planters and end users in Burkina Faso, where low yield of pearl millet varieties relative to other grains is urging planters away from one of the best fitted crops for Sahel’s harsh agro-ecologies.
Nafagnon is a first generation mixture of two genetically distinct inbreds. Such hybrids are named single-cross hybrids. It was examined in main pearl millet producing nations of the region over the last three years.
The National Seed Committee of Burkina Faso declared Nafagnon’s enrollment in the National Seed Catalog, making it the nation’s first pearl millet hybrid to be ratified and the first single-cross hybrid to be endorsed in West and Central Africa.
“The first hybrid millets that were tested in West and Central Africa were bred in India. Unfortunately, they were too early maturing and susceptible to downy mildew disease. Learning lessons from those assessments, ICMH 147007 was developed, evaluated and selected in the WCA region,” said Dr. Gangashetty, millet breeder for ICRISAT-WCA,
“It is well adapted to West African environmental conditions,” added Dr. Inoussa Drabo, pearl millet breeder at INERA, who led the evaluation of multiple hybrids and selection, and provided the necessary documentation for the release of Nafiagnon in Burkina Faso.
“Since the 1990s, researchers at national research institutes and research organizations such as the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) and the Alliance for Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) have been working to obtain millet hybrids,” explained Dr. Issoufou Kapran, Seed System Specialist at ICRISAT-Mali.
“The strong research for development partnership between ICRISAT and INERA has been benefiting smallholder farmers in Burkina Faso. Nafiagnon, the first hybrid, is another important contribution to improve the livelihood of farmers,” said Dr. Ramadjita Tabo, Regional and Research Programme Director for ICRISAT-WCA.
INERA’s approach to millet hybrid development and commercialization in Burkina Faso involves partnerships with farmers and the private sector. Nafiagnon was tested by more than 500 farmers and three seed companies – NAFASO, FAGRI and EPAM – were involved. “The evaluation of pearl millet hybrids in Burkina Faso was taken up under the AVISA Project,” said Dr. Neya James, national coordinator of the project that is funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
Ladji Sawadogo, a planter in the village of Balla that is about 40 km from Bobo Dioulasso, seeded Nafagnon along with the local assortment on the same day on one hectare of land.
“I am impressed by how fast hybrid plants grow. Its leaves remain green at maturity and the grains are well formed and filled on the panicles. Not only will my family have enough to eat, but animals will also have enough to feed,” the farmer explained.
Pursuing its acceptance in Burkina Faso, Nafiagnon will soon be comprised in the second seed list of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS). The hybrid resulted from the activities of HOPE-2 project, subsidized by the Gates Foundation, Harvest Plus, GIZ, CGIAR Research Program Grain Legumes and Dryland Cereals, INERA, seed companies such as NAFASO, FAGRI and EPAM in Burkina Faso.
For New Africa Business News (NABN) Abdul Rahman Bangura Reports, Africa Correspondent
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