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Adaptive Research and Field Market Studies

FAO-Eritrea: OSRO/ERI/603/Norway - Transplanting of Sorghum and Millet

General objectives:

  • Improved food security in areas with unreliable rainfall
  • Greater food security where rains are delayed
  • Greater food security in early rain-stop years
  • Reduced hunger gap by 10 to 15 days
  • Improved yields in heavy striga infested plots.

Demonstration Field Achievements:

  • Transplanted sorghum and pearl millet gave higher grain yield compared to the sorghum and pearl millet direct sown at transplanting time. 
  • Transplanted sorghum and pearl millet matured from 15-25 days earlier than the sorghum and pearl millet direct sown at transplanting time.
  •  According to the qualitative data from the farmers, striga seed germination was delayed in transplanted sorghum fields.
  • Numbers of striga/ m2 in transplanted sorghum were fewer compared to that of direct sown sorghum.
  • The results reveals that the transplanting technique is feasible in areas where there is shortage of water as a result of the erratic and unreliable rainfall, very short growing season and risk of crop failure due to early rain cessations.
  • The overall increase in grain yield production of transplanted sorghum and pearl millet is due to the combined effect of effectively using early showers of the season and minimizing risk of crop failure through escaping from the early season rainfall cessations, reducing the time of maturity as a result of reducing growing time in the field, better spaced crop stands, reduced weed population and the need for weed control.
  • Generally, it can be concluded that sorghum and pearl millet transplanting technology should be a first choice option of small-scale subsistence farmers of Eritrea practicing rainfed farming systems to reduce the risks associated with the direct sowing, mainly the crop failure as a result of the unpredictable rainfall, shortage of rain fall and a shorter growing season.

Transplanted and direct sown yield of sorghum and pearl millet, 2007

Zoba Sub-zoba Crop Type Transplanted Direct Sown
Area (m2) Yield (t/ha) Area (m2) Yield (t/ha)
Anseba Hamelmalo Sorghum 100 1.6 100 0.7
Hamelmalo Sorghum 100 1.4 100 0.7
Elabered Sorghum 750 1.4 750 1.0
Elabered P. Millet 1400 1.3 1400 0.9
Gash-barka Haikota Sorghum 200 3.0 200 0.5
Forto Sorghum 200 1.0 200 0.7
Dighe Sorghum 200 1.5 200 0.7
Dighe Sorghum 200 2.0 200 1.0
  • AA International staff provided technical assistance designing the project, planning the implementation, training the MoA extension workers and key contact farmers, monitoring performance and evaluating the success.
  • MoA extension workers organised nurseries, supervised transplanting and organised open days.
  • 2000 farmers were introduced to the practice- typical response was “ why have you taken so long (decades) to show us this technique.”

Sorghum and pearl millet on farm-nurseries (mid July 2007)

Farm-nursery, as part of the transplanting of sorghum and millet project Farm-nursery, as part of the transplanting of sorghum and millet project
   
Farm-nursery, as part of the transplanting of sorghum and millet project Farm-nursery, as part of the transplanting of sorghum and millet project
   

Transplanted and direct sown grain yield of sorghum and pearl millet (2007)

Transplanted sorghum, as part of the transplanting of sorghum and millet project. Direct sown sorghum, as part of the transplanting of sorghum and millet project.

Plate 1: Transplanted (left) and direct sown (right) sorghum (sub-zoba Elabered)

Direct sown pearl millet as part of the transplanting of sorghum and pearl milllet project Transplanted pearl millet as part of the transplanting of sorghum and pearl milllet project

Plate 2: Direct sown (left) and transplanted (right) pearl millet (sub-zoba Elabered)

Direct sown sorghum as part of the transplanting of sorghum and millet project Transplanted sorghum as part of the transplanting of sorghum and pearl millet project

Plate 3: Direct sown (left) and transplanted (right) sorghum (Zoba-gash Barka, sub-zoba-Forto, Kebabi-selahit)

 

 

 

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