Read full article by Agathe Diama@ TAAT-Africa Photo Credit: B. Cisse, ICRISAT
The Sorghum and Millet Compact of Technologies for African Agricultural Transformation (TAAT) has successfully concluded its 2019 inception and planning meetings in Mali and Senegal.
These meetings are in line with the objective of contributing to food and nutrition security in seven countries in the Sahel and to improve farmer livelihoods,
With a bold plan to link last-mile populations to value chains, the Sorghum and Millet Compact is an integral part of the African Development Bank’s plan to transform agriculture in seven Sahelian countries — Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal and Sudan — through the TAAT programme.
Equipping farmers to improve yields
Low yields of sorghum and millet are a major concern for farmers in the Sahel.
“A comprehensive management programme has been designed to assist farmers to invest an additional US$ 151 per ha in improved
seeds, water harvesting and Integrated Soil Fertility Management. This will increase average yields to 1.8 tons per ha and steadily reduce Striga infestation, resulting in even greater mid-term gains,” Dr. Dougbeji Fatondji said.
Fatondji, who coordinates the Sorghum and Millet Compact affirmed that the compact targets about 40% to 50% of African farmers with technologies relevant to boosting agricultural productivity and self-sufficiency by 2025.
In the Sahel, low agricultural productivity and lack of value addition are among the main causes of malnutrition, unemployment and poverty.
The agricultural sector accounts for 50% to 70% of employment in African countries, but produces only 25% of Africa’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
Yields of sorghum and millet, the main staple food crops in the Sahel region, are low due to insufficient access to seeds of improved varieties, fertilizers and other agricultural inputs, inappropriate farming practices, declining soil fertility, lack of marketing and extreme weather events.
taking Sorghum and Millet to the last mile
At the Bamako launch, six motorcycles were given to the Sorghum and Millet Compact partners. “These motorbikes will help us reach the last mile where access is often difficult by car,” said Dr Abdoulaye Diallo, Sorghum Breeder at the Institut d’économie rurale (IER) and Compact country Focal Point, on behalf of the beneficiaries.
In Thiès, Senegal, Dr Alioune Fall, Director General of the Senegalese Institute of Agricultural Research (ISRA), said that TAAT fits seamlessly into the country’s existing government programs. As Compact early achievement, he said that 1 ton of breeder seed, 40 tons of foundation seed and 70 tons of certified seed were produced.
During a visit to the Compact seed multiplication site in Bambey, Dr Cyril Diatta, Sorghum Breeder at the Centre National de Recherches Agronomiques de Bambey (CNRA, Bambey), lauded the performance of the sorghum varieties being disseminated.