Project Details

Bringing the benefits of heterosis to smallholder sorghum and pearl millet farmers in West Africa: Establishing a solid foundation for hybrid development

Duration: 01/Apr/2014 - 31/Mar/2017

Locations: West and Central Africa

Project contact: Mr Baloua Nebie (

Donor: Government department -national- state or local,Bundesministerium for Wirtschaftliche Zusammenarbeit und Entwicklung (BMZ)-Germany,Deutsche Gesellschaft for Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ)-Germany

CGIAR Research Program: Dryland Cereals

The overall goal of this project is to enhance sorghum and pearl millet productivity in West & Central Africa (WCA) through cultivation of nutritious hybrids, contributing to food security, income generation, & improved nutrition. To achieve this goal, key NARS, university & ICRISAT researchers will collaborate to define “functional” heterotic parental-pools required for sustainable hybrid develop¬ment, establish efficient hybrid breeding strategies based on quantitative-genetic parameters & molecular-breeding tools, & create new and diverse hybrid parents. The sorghum research will target the main sorghum production systems (700-1100 mm rainfall) with work on Guinea grain types in Mali and on Kaura & Fara-Fara grain types in Nigeria. The majority of sorghum is produced on poor soils (low plant-available phosphorus), and thus we will optimize hybrid selection strategies targeting these conditions. The pearl millet research continues to focus on the 400-700 mm rainfall zone with sandy soils and variable rainfall, targeting long-panicled hybrids for both Niger & Senegal. In both crops, grain mineral content (iron, zinc) of the parents & hybrids will be assessed and related to phytate content, to permit selection of nutrient-dense hybrids that should contribute to improved human nutrition.

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