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

Published on 22 November 2011

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Start Date: 1 April 2010 | End Date: 31 March 2013


Using an integrated genetic and natural resource management (IGNRM) approach, this project aims at enhancing adaptation of pearl millet [Pennisetum glaucum (L.) R. Br.] and sorghum [Sorghum bicolor (L.) Moench] 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 step-wise 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 micro-dosing 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 en­hancing produc­tivity under Sahelian abiotic stress conditions. A strong focus on farmer experimen­tation with adapted cereal culti­vars and new crop management options will help validating these tech­ni­ques and contribute to early adoption and project impact.

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