• 27/06/2022

How To Cultivate The Ancient African Grain; Pearl Millet


Sep 16, 2021

Of all the world’s cereals,pearl millet is the sixth most important. Descended from a wild West African grass,it was domesticated more than 4000 years ago, probably in what is now the heart of the Sahara Desert. Long ago it spread from its homeland to East Africa and India. Both places adopted it eagerly and it became a staple.

Environmental Requirements For Cultivation

Although the crop is grown where rainfall ranges from 200 to 1500mm, most occurs in areas receiving 250 to 700mm. The lowest rainfall areas rely on mainly on early maturing cultivars. Although very drought resistant,pearl millet requires it’s rainfall to be evenly distributed during the growing season. It very strange that unlike sorghum,it cannot retreat into dormancy during droughts. On the other hand too much rain at flowering can also cause crop failure.

Like most crops,pearl millet does extremely well in light ,well drained loams. It performs poorly in clay soils and cannot tolerate waterlogging. It is tolerant of subsoils that are acidic – even those as low as pH 4-5,and high in aluminum content.

How It Is Grown In Farms

Despite its unmistakable importance, however, pearl millet can be considered a disappearing crop because its untapped potential is still vast across Africa. Currently ,this grain is an orphan among the significant cereals. It is poorly supported by both science and political influence. In fact,a few people have ever heard of it.

In reality pearl millet is the easiest to grow. It suffers less from diseases than sorghum,maize,or other grains. Also,it has fewer insect pests. The widespread impression that pearl millet is essentially an animal feed,unpalatable to all but the desperately hungry is wrong. The grain is actually a superior foodstuff. Pearl millet does not require a fine tilt when it is being planted,you can till your land and plant the seeds in the rough field.

Even in the most unproductive soils,this crop has a promise to give good returns because it usually does not require fertilization because it has a poor uptake of artificial fertilizers when applied to the soil. This is an advantage to the farmer because input costs will be considerably lower.

8510cookie-checkHow To Cultivate The Ancient African Grain; Pearl Millet


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