Project Details

Tackling abiotic production constraints in pearl millet and sorghum-based agricultural systems of the West African Sahel

Duration: 01/Apr/2010 - 31/Mar/2013

Locations: West and Central Africa

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

Using an integrated genetic and natural resource management approach, this project aims at enhancing adaptation of pearl millet and sorghum to low-phosphorus (P) soils and water stress in the Sahelian zone of West Africa (WA). A combination of physiological experiments, classical and marker-assisted breeding research, and agronomic studies is used to tackle the combined effects of low soil P and droughts on pearl millet and sorghum growth in West Africa's smallholder cereal production systems. In a stepwise approach', the studies will unravel available genetic diversity for low-P tolerance and enhance the understanding of the relative importance of low soil P and water stress, and their interaction, for cereal productivity in the Sahel. New crop management techniques beyond fertilizer microdosing will be developed and tested, such as seed coating with P, promotion of symbiosis with vesicular arbuscular mycorrhiza (VAM) and on-farm processing of rock phosphate (RP), to help enhance productivity under Sahelian abiotic stress conditions. A strong focus on farmer experimentation with adapted cereal cultivars and new crop management options will help in validating these techniques, and thus contribute to early adoption and project impact.

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