African Development Bank (AfDB) has designed a comprehensive management programme to invest an additional 151 dollars per hectare to assist sorghum and millet farmers in improved seed, water harvesting and integrated soil fertility management.
the Sorghum and Millet Compact of Technologies for African Agricultural Transformation (TAAT) Leader, Dr. Dougbedji Fatondji, said Nigeria and six other African countries would benefit from the additional funding.
In a document made available to News Agency of Nigeria in Abuja on Wednesday, the bank mentioned Burkina Faso, Niger, Mali, Senegal, Sudan and Chad as beneficiaries of the planned support programme.
Fatondji said the move had become imperative because the demand for sorghum across all of Sub-Saharan Africa was projected to increase by 9.1 million tonnes by 2025.
“TAAT, therefore, has designed a comprehensive management programme aimed at assisting farmers to invest an additional 151 dollars per hectare in improved seed, water harvesting and integrated soil fertility management.
“This will increase average yields to 1.8 tonnes per hectare and steadily reduce the infestation of striga, resulting in even greater mid-term gains,” he said.
Striga, commonly known as witch-weed, is a genus of parasitic plants that occur naturally in parts of Africa and is an impediment to attainment of household food security for poorly resourced.
Fatondji said millet farming was equally important to human welfare in the Sahel as it was the most important cereal grown in the drier portion of the Semi-arid zone, occupying 15.8 million hectares of rotationally grazed lands.
The TAAT Leader said that the programme was part of the bank’s plan to ensure food security in the Sahel region.
He said the sorghum and millet compact targeted about 40 per cent to 50 per cent of African farmers with technologies relevant to boosting agricultural productivity and self-sufficiency by 2025.
Fatondji said the programme would improve agricultural activities across Africa by raising productivity, mitigating risks, promoting diversification and processing in 18 agricultural value chains within eight Priority Intervention Areas, including sorghum and millet.
He said the acceleration programme had become imperative because the agriculture sector accounted for between 50 per cent and 70 per cent of employment in Africa but produced only 25 per cent of Africa’s Gross Domestic Product.