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|Title: ||Transplanting sorghum and millet as a means of increasing food security in semi-arid, low income countries.|
|Authors: ||Young, E. M.|
Atokple, I. D.K.
Abunyewa, A. A.
Kasei, C. N.
|Issue Date: ||Feb-2003|
|Publisher: ||Centre for Arid Zone Studies|
|Abstract: ||Increasing food security and reduction of risk continues to be a recurring theme in
agricultural development programmes of the new millennium. Erratic and unreliable
rainfall and resulting shortages of water are the most serious physical constraints to crop
production in semi- arid areas. Under these conditions there is a considerable risk of failed
crops, patchy stands and high re-planting costs. Consequently programmes have been
initiated to conserve water for supplementary irrigation during the growing season.
This project however is based on the premise that supplementary water can be used more
efficiently if applied at the beginning rather than at the end of the season, to ‘extend’ the
effective growing season in short duration areas. Some proportion of sorghum and millet
crops can be raised in nurseries using small amounts of water before the rainy season then
transplanted at the onset of rains. Besides providing seedlings to alleviate the problem of
patchy stands and replanting costs, this reduces the growing period in the field, thus
providing an earlier harvest and providing an extra dimension to food security.
The application of the transplanting technique to a dryland agriculture cropping system
has been investigated with subsistence farmers in semi-arid regions of Zimbabwe, Ghana,
Ethiopia and Eritrea. This update focuses on work in Ghana where on-station and on-farm
trials have confirmed that transplanting sorghum and millet into a dryland agricultural
system is a viable option. On-station and on- farm trials have indicated that transplanted
early sorghum and pearl millet varieties (varying from 10 to 40 days old at transplanting)
flower and mature from 5 to 25 days earlier than the ‘normal’ direct-sown seed, offering
an earlier harvest when food reserves are low and prices high. Eighty-percent of farmers
conducting on-farm trials also received higher yields from their transplanted crops of both
early and late varieties, and in many cases this increase was double that of normal yields.
Participating farmers conducting on- farm trials have therefore responded very positively to the transplanting technique, despite initial reservations concerning labour requirements.|
|Description: ||An article published by Centre for Arid Zone Studies in February, 2003|
|Appears in Collections:||College of Agric and Natural Resources|
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