FIRST INTERNATIONAL WORKSHOP 1986


First International Workshop (Bangalore, India; 29 September - 3 October 1986)

I. Recomendations of the First International Small millet Workshop:

i> General Recommedations

1. The papers presented at the International Workshop alongwith the discussions and the recommendations be published for wide circulation. The International Development Research Centre is requested to fund the publication of the proceedings of the International Workshop on Small Millets.

2. Among the small millets, finger, foxtail and proso millets appear to have wider clientele and their importance and development aroused considerable interest. The resonable consistency in performance, the ecological range and the production potential of kodo and barnyard millets have been noted. The role of teff in the Ethiopian economy with its possible extensions elsewhere has been recognized. Little millet with limited production potential has its areas specific adaptation. The growing demand for food and a variety of food products calls for interest and investment in their development.

3. The need for an International Small Millets Research Institute was widely felt. The CGIAR system may consider this proposal.

4. A Steering Committee of 5 members has been elected and charged with the responsibilities of identifying a network for exchanging germplasm, transferring information and look into other service facilities etc. The members of the Steering Committee are: Dr. A. Seetharam, India; Mr. Chen Jiaju, China; Dr. Sayfu Ketema, Ethiopia; Mr. Fighur Muza, Zimbabwe; and Dr. K. Riley, IDRC. The Goverments of China, Ethiopia, India and Zimbabwe are requested to kindly allow the nominated members to participate in the International Development research Centre is requested to organize the Steering Committee meetings.

5. The needs for obtaining definite figures of area, production and productivity from different countries has been pointed out. This may help the planners and the policy makers for deciding priorities. This may also attract the attention of the international community of nations.

6. It is proposed to organize international small millets adaptation trials.

7. The need for exchanging published literature on small millets through a nodal agency has been recognized.

8. The need for encouraging scientific visits and providing expertise where necessary has been felt.

9. The need for providing training facilities to scientific and technical personnel has been expressed.


ii> Genetic Resources

1. The need for updating the list of available small millets germplasm accessions has been recognized.

2. The participating scientists felt the need for free exchange of small millets genetic resources.

3. Each of the paticipating countries is requested to identify the gaps in collecting small millets in their agriclimatic regions and/ or provinces and arrange for collecting missions. It is desirable to associate breeders in collecting expeditions.

4. Besides collecting from farmer's fields and markets, it is desirable to collect land races of cultivated small millets species as well as wild relatives of cultivated species.

5. Recognizing the significance of environmental diversity, it is proposed to evaluate the germplasm in multilocational National/ International nurseries.

6. To obtain uniformity in evaluation, the participating countries are requested to use descriptors for various small millets as published by IBPGR, Rome.

7. Biochemical and processing characterization of small millets germplasm appears worthwhile. Identifying sources of usefull genes from the already available and conserved germplasm should receive top priority since utilization of germplasm is very limited in small millet crops.

8. As the descriptor lists are likely to be voluminous and may have limited circulation, the utilization of the germplasm could be accelerated by circulating pocket size editions of descriptor lists with limited characters like plant height, maturity, pest and disease resistance, grain yield etc.


iii> Breeding and Varietal Improvement

1. The small floret size in all millets has limited the artificial hybridization and recombination breeding. The contact method and hot water emasculation method used to some extent have their own limitations. So there is need to overcome this problem by possibly studying induced male sterility using gametocides and their is need to standardize these methods. Genetic male sterile systems, and mechanisms like protogyny may also be investigated and confirmed. We may also for out crossing systems wherever available.

2. All small millets are inbreeders. There is not much work done on the application of various breeding procedures and assessing their relative efficiency.

3. Mutation breeding could be one of the methods thought of in small millets since artificial hybridization is difficult. The possible application of this breeding procedure in different areas of varietal improvement needs to be fully exploited.

4. Single plant selections from germplasm accessions could be one of the simplest and effective means of obtaining superior genotypes.

5. The application of biotechnology particularly anther culture and ovule culture techniques and exploitation of somaclonal variability in callus cultures could be thought of as a method for evolving varieties rapidly.

6. Quality breeding in small millets is also important although it is a very difficult area to make any headway in short period if time. Seed protein, mineral content and malting quality are some of the area for consideration. Screening of available germplasm for consumer, nutritional and processing quality characters may be the first step in this direction.

7. There is need to understand more and more about the genetic control of various yield and yield contributing characters.

8. Identification of varieties with wide adaptation, high yield stability, and differing photo period sensitivity is important particularly in finger millet, foxtail millet and proso millet as these crops are grown in varying rainfall areas and temperature regimes and day lengths. Besides evolution of varieties for different cropping systems, both relay and mixed cropping should also be attempted.

9. As all small millets are essentially rainfed crops confining themselves to semi-arid tropics, breeding of drought tolerant varieties is important. the initial step in this direction will be screening of all available germplasm and identifying the usefull lines.

10. All small millets are low input crops and grown by poor and marginal farmers. Under such situations use of pesticides for the control of pests, diseases and weeds is neither feasible nor practicable. Inbuilt resistance is the best way of tackling this situation and this should receive high priority. some of the important diseases and pests that could be considered for resistance breeding are blast in finger millet, shootfly in proso millet and little millet, smut in kodo millet, foxtail millet and proso millet.

11. Following identification of new practices like seeds fertilizers, weedicides, fungicides, pesticides, testing on farmer's fields for obtaining his acceptance, laying of large scale demonstrations for exhibiting the production as well as economic potential and of scientists involvement in lab-to-land programmes for mutual information transfer require attention.

12. The concern for supplying certified seed of high quality small millets including seed treatment with pesticides and fungicides has been expressed. The mechanisms of seed production and distribution were discussed. Seed village concept and distribution of seeds through exchanging "new" for "old" varieties to farmers can be explored.


iv> Production Technology and Cropping Systems

1. Intercropping: There are benefits from intercropping for small farmers, the use of legumes may help yields. It represented a practical way of growing a variety of crops needed for the household.

2. Line sowing: It could be an efficient improvement. In Africa, this may require mechanization using animal draught. There is a whole technology developed in India which needs to be transferred to Africa, including the village maintenance services provided by blacksmith and carpenter.

3. Sowing time: In africa, time of planting is often of critical importance for yield: working up a fine seed-bed could take too much time, especially without animal draught power.

4. Weed control: In Nepal, transplanting is always used and it is useful in filling gaps in the stand. This deserves a lot more emphasis, there is evidence of useful yield benefits. Transplanting provides a way of seeding in time into a nursery, and of a weed control by through cleaning of the remaining (5/6th) of the area being cultivated. Wild finger millet in Africa presents a daunting weed problem for other types of control. In Africa, Striga can become a serious problem, especially in pure stands of finger millet.

5. Organic manure: The use farmyard manure was mentioned by several delegates, and this important traditional practice deserves study as the least labour intensive method for using F.Y.M. Results in India suggest benefits from incorporating legume residues in situ.

6. Transfer of technology: Where there are no recommended practices, these should be developed in close consultation with the farmers, giving special attention to what are the limiting factors in their exsiting systems. Where recommended practices have been developed, surveys should be made to determine which factors are being adopted, and which are not being adopted. The various constraints preventing the adoption of the latter should be carefully evaluated and alleviated as far as possible.


v> Diseases and pests

A. Diseases

1. Blast is the most serious disease of finger millet. It appears at different stages of plant growth. Different biotypes of blast fungus also could be present as in other crops and this area of racial differentiation of blast is worth investigating.

2. Viral diseases on finger and foxtail millets have been reported from many countries. Insects are generally associated with viral transmissions. There is need to understand the biology of vectors and their relationship with viruses in the transmission of viral diseases.

3. Leaf spot diseases are important in several African countries on finger millet. Resistance breeding is the best and the most effective in preventing yield losses.

B. Pests

1. Birds and aphids have been identified as serious pests of finger millet in Africa. Stem borers occur on finger millet in Asia. Finger millet earhead pests deserve attention in Africa and Asia.

2. Shootfly has been identified as the most predominant on small millets in Asia and the USSR. Shootfly escape mechanisms by manipulating sowing time and other cultural practices, if identified for various regions of the production, would be very helpful.

3. The biology and dynamics of most important pests of small millets, the occurrence of alternate and/or collateral hosts and screening of the available germplasm in pest sick plots deserve investigations.

4. Besides inbuilt resistance and cultural control of pest populations, critical studies on the occurrence of natural enemies, their breeding and release in farmer' fields are required. The occurrence of pests and losses in mixed, inter and relay cropping systems is to be investigated.


C. Pest and disease control

1. Considering the economic value and status of small millets, it can be said that integrated disease/pest control measures are to be adopted with emphasis on inbuilt resistance, cultural control, biological control and chemical control in that order.


vi> Food Uses

1. Screening of germplasm for malting and popping characteristics and breeding varieties with improved malting and popping characteristics.

2. Development of simple milling machinery and a making it available in millet growing areas.

3. Diversification of uses of small millets and development of health or speciality foods from millets: diabetic foods, high fiber foods, weaning foods, flakes, quick cooking cereals etc.

4. While breeding varieties, attention should be paid to retain the desirable qualities of millets such as good storage quality, high mineral content etc.

5. Analysis of varieties grown under different agroclimatic conditions for nutrient content and polyphenols.

6. Studies on fine structure of millet grains.

7. Setting up of a permanent millet quality laboratory, if it is not possible to establish collaboration or association with Food Technological Research Institutes or other such institutes for analysing or testing the varieties and taking research work on millet product formulations.

8. Improving status of millets by substituting rice and other cereals in prestigious foods.

9. Publication of booklets on millet products and giving wide publicity for these.

10. Consumer preference checks for different millet products and improving their quality and consumer acceptability.


vii> Small Millets as Forage

1. Millet straw especially from small millets is highly relished by cattle. The cost of straw in several millets compensates the cost of inputs in cultivation. Moreover, the peasant farmers depend on this byproduct to large extent in maintaining their milch and draught animals. In many countries the farmers are willing to sacrifice grain but not fodder. This point has to be kept in mind in future breeding programs.

2. Efforts are essential to identify suitable small millet varieties for fodder purposes. Millets as green forage crops assume more importance especially in scarce rainfall years. Selected varieties should be able to produce large amount of green fodder in a very short time that they may be available for growth.

3. Types suitable for multi-cuttings have to be identified which can be grown even under irrigated conditions.

4. Suitable millet varieties have to be identified for establishing in waste lands and eroded lands. Methods of establishing such crops also need to be worked out.

5. The dry straw of many millets may not be nutritious. Methods to fortify such low value fodder by use of urea, molasses etc., have to worked out and popularized. The other possibility of improvement of the quality of the straw would be to include a legume alongwith the millet crop itself.

II. Papers: