Farmers visiting sorghum field. Photo Agathe Diama, ICRISAT

Farmers visiting sorghum field. Photo: Agathe Diama, ICRISAT

Farmers from four regions of Mali learnt about groundnut hybridization, sorghum hybrids and multipurpose sweet sorghum, open pollinated varieties of sorghum, varieties resistant to abiotic and biotic stresses with short and medium duration to cope with climate change, hybrid seed production and aflatoxin management during a field day organised by ICRISAT.

Farmers visited the exhibition stands and participated in tasting of sweet sorghum syrup and value-added products of groundnut. Their discussions with researchers covered groundnut and sorghum production technologies and improved cultural practices, constraints and opportunities to improve the crops and production systems.

In the pathology laboratory where aflatoxin detection in groundnut and other crops are being carried out, the farmers were explained the importance of pre- and post-harvest aflatoxin management and different techniques to detect aflatoxin in groundnut products in laboratory, including ELISA (Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay) test.

During the visit, farmers appreciated the variability of breeding materials available, sorghum hybrid seed production and field management techniques. The enthusiasm and expectations of the farmers were heartening:

“I am happy with the performance of the dual-purpose sorghum varieties. I was able to cultivate some of them this year in an experimentation field. Despite the low rainfall, I got good crops yield. Dual-purpose sorghum is useful both for human consumption and livestock feeding and that explain my preference to these varieties. I urge ICRISAT to continue its support to farmers’ cooperatives. This will help them to produce quality seed, which in turn will contribute to improving food security and our incomes,” said Mr Mamadou Goita, a producer from Kifosso, Sikasso region.

“More women can earn better livelihoods nowadays thanks to groundnut seed production.  The women group in Wakoro which I am a member of has been working with ICRISAT during the past ten years; today we can get up to 2 tons of groundnut per hectare using improved varieties in our own fields,” said Ms Djeneba Ouattara.

“With the changing climate and drought conditions, many of our local groundnut varieties are no longer adapted. It is reassuring to know that we can count on research to access improved seeds of varieties that are better adapted to our farming conditions,” said Ms Mariam Camara, a participant from Kayes region.

According to Mrs Balla Togola, “Research carried out by ICRISAT and its partners in Mali has improved farmers’ access to quality seeds. Research efforts should be encouraged that will help farmers to benefit more from agriculture.”

The field day was organized on 18 November, at ICRISAT Samanko Research Station, Mali. Eighty five farmers including 26 women and 59 men representing different villages from Mopti, Kayes, Koulikoro and Sikasso regions attended the program. The field day was coordinated by Dr Ayoni Ogunbayo, Country Project Manager, Mali; USAID Project, and Dr Baloua Nebie, Scientist, Sorghum Breeding, ICRISAT, Mali. The field activities were facilitated by Dr D Hailemichael Shewayrga, Senior Scientist, Groundnut Breeding and Dr Aboubacar Toure, Senior Scientist, Sorghum Breeding.

Source: ICRISAT Happenings