News and knowhow for farmers

JKUAT researchers encourage farmers to grow hybrid Chinese millet

Farmers at the JKUAT Foxtail millet demonstration farm (Photo Courtesy: JKUAT)

Researchers from the Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT) and the Chinese Center for Agricultural Resources Research (CARR) are sensitising farmers on efficiently cultivating and managing the nutritious, high-yielding, drought, and disease-resistant Chinese hybrid foxtail millet. 

The millet variety takes about half the time to ripen compared to most local varieties and adapts to various soils and diverse climatic conditions. It is grown both for human consumption and as feed for livestock.

Speaking during a field training course on the crop’s cultivation at the Sino-Africa Joint Research Centre (SAJOREC) based in JKUAT, Xiaoxin Li, a researcher at CARR, lauded the Chinese hybrid foxtail millet as being disease and drought-resistant and water efficient in comparison with the more cultivated maize and rice grains.  

“The Chinese hybrid foxtail millet is very popular in China for its efficiency in taking up nutrients. It grows quickest between 24-25°C and performs best in sandy loam soils or clay loam,” she outlined.

It has been grown in over 10 African countries including Uganda, Ethiopia, Burundi, Mali, and Zimbabwe.

Leading Chinese agricultural expert Zhao Zhihai pointed out that the crop is particularly suited to combating the challenges faced by African farmers: “It is climate change tolerant and suitable for regions with poorer soils as well as rainy and dry seasons.

According to reporting, the millet variety has been a big hit with Ugandan farmers for its fast maturity– 65 days, compared to local strains which take 90 to 120 days. Farmers have also noted its long seed panicle which yields more seed compared to local varieties.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top