Ethiopia: Melkam Sorghum Seed Brings Bumper Crop

Ethiopian Institute of Agricultural Research (EIAR) said that it has discovered sorghum seed that brings bumper crop to farmers residing in the most drought affected areas.

A crew of journalists made Sunday a field trip to west Hararghe Zone aiming at evaluating the status of a new Melkam sorghum seed distributed by Chiro National Sorghum Research and Training Centre.EIAR General Director Dr. Fentahun Mengistu on the occasion said as the institute has been exerting efforts to increase productivity and quality of sorghum for many years, it has come up with the Melkam sorghum seed which will grow within 3 months and yield some 50 quintals per hectare.

Moreover, the seed could be planted side by side with other crops and it would also serve as animal fodder, he said. “It will be one of industrial inputs in a near future.”

According to Dr. Fentahun, if the seed is sown nationwide, Ethiopia will export sorghum in the shortest time possible.”

Chiro National Sorghum Research and Training Centre Director Solomon Zewdu for his part said that since 2006 E.C, the centre has been conducted various researches to produce modern swift seeds.

Last year, it has distributed Dekeba swift sorghum seed for 100 farmers residing in Gemechis and Doba woredas, west Haraghe Zone, he said. This year two woredas including Anchar and Doba have already sown the melkam sorghum seed.

Previously, the farmers used to sow a traditional sorghum seed which reaches maturity with nine months but with low productivity, he noted.

“But the current swift seed is better than the previous type in productivity as it easily copes with the water shortage and its straw is preferable for animal fodder .”

He said that the centre would sustain conducting research on various seed improvement including cereals.

Farmer Sultan Mengesha has been anger with his maize crop losses due to shortage of water. However, owing to the new swift sorghum seed, he has become hopeful looking the already maturing sorghum sown on his half hectare land.

“The major problem is lack of rain and the place is frequently hit by drought, therefore it is must to use swift and drought resistant crop seed.”