International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture

BSF Project - First Cycle

Characterization, genetic enhancement and Revitalization of finger millet in western Kenya
High calcium and carbohydrate content make finger millet a highly nutritious traditional cereal for infants and children and for the sick. Its small seed size deters pests, and its grains can be stored for over 10 years without significant deterioration. Yet, finger millet – a traditional subsistence staple grown in western Kenya and throughout East Africa – has faced declining use over the last 50 years due to changing farming systems and low productivity. That low productivity, however, can be improved. Most farmers who still farm finger millet are using unimproved local varieties and traditional broadcasting sowing methods. According to the Treaty Benefit-sharing Fund Project, by using improved varieties and better agronomic practices, the yields of this nutritious grain could increase from 0.5–1.0 tonne per hectare to 3.0–5.0 tonnes per hectare. Giving small-scale farmers access to higher yielding finger millet varieties can contribute to economic development and poverty alleviation in Kenya. To help farmers take advantage of this potential, the project evaluated and characterized finger millet genotypes and wild subspecies, identified those with high yield potential and blast disease resistance, and developed eight hybrids, three of which have advanced for further selection. Building from this new understanding, the project has initiated seed multiplication and on-farm demonstrations of two finger millet varieties in five districts of western Kenya.
Finger Millet
Window 2 - Immediate action projects
Region: Africa
Implementing institution: Maseno University

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