**Principal Investigator: P.A Asungre*
*Collaborating Scientists: I. Sugri, R.A.L. Kanton*
*Collaborating Institutions: FBOs, Seed Producers, NGOs*
*Source of Funding: IGF*
*Location: Manga station, Bawku*
Since the release of five pearl millet varieties in 2015, CSIR-SARI has been producing both Breeder and Foundation seeds. However, the adoption of these improved varieties by farmers has been low due to the existing seed system. Most farmers prefer to recycle their seed for multiple seasons, making good quality seed production expensive and challenging, especially for cross-pollinated crops like pearl millet. As pearl millet is a mandate crop of the institute and is considered an orphan crop, it is essential to continue sustaining its production among farmers.
The main objective of this project is to produce Breeder and Foundation seeds of the five newly released pearl millet varieties for upscaling adoption.
Foundation seed fields of all five varieties (WAAPP-naara, Akad-kom, Kaanati, Afribeh-naara, and Naad-Kohblug) were sown at the Manga station from the third week of June to early July in 2019 (0.50 acres each). The fields were prepared using tractor-harrowing and bullock-ridging at approximately 0.75m apart. A seeding rate of 5 kg/ha was used, and plants were thinned to 2 per stand after weeding. NPK (15-15-15) fertilizer at 125 kg/ha was applied four weeks after plant establishment. The fields were hand-weeded and well-maintained following good agronomic practices.
Foundation seeds of all five varieties have been successfully harvested, processed, and stored at the Manga Station. However, the yields were not as expected due to erratic rainfall experienced in 2021. A total of 349 kg of Foundation seed was produced during the 2021 cropping season, with quantities as follows: Afribeh-naara (29 kg), Kaanati (70 kg), Waapp-naara (80 kg), Akad-kom (80 kg), and Naad-kohblug (90 kg).
The lack of dedicated funding for Breeder and Foundation seed production has been a challenge for the project. To sustain this activity and prevent the discontinuation of variety multiplication, a dedicated source of funding is required. The suggestion to involve the commercialization unit of the Institute in Foundation seed production needs further consideration by the management. A stable source of funding is crucial to support the continuous production and adoption of the improved pearl millet varieties by farmers in the region.