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September 27, 2008

New millet varieties developed in Uganda

Researchers have developed four new varieties of finger and pearl millet with high protein concentrations. They are intended to boost the food and nutritional value of communities, especially in semi-arid areas in Uganda, like Karamoja.

Dr. Nelson Wanyera, the head of cereal research programmes at the National Semi-Arid Resources Research Institute (NaSarri) in Soroti district, said the four varieties were also intended to boost diet for diabetics and people with HIV/AIDS. He said they were also looking at popularising the varieties for children’s porridge.

Wanyera said the varieties have a protein content of 14% calcium and iron.

The millet can be ground into flour for millet bread, porridge and can also be used in the fermentation process for alcohol.

Wanyera said the four varieties SEC 915,314 and 712 for finger millet and ICMV 221 are drought resistant and mature within 75 to 80 days. The millet can be grown in low to mid altitude areas like Sironko, Karamoja and Nakasongola.

Wanyera said the varieties were available through different National Agricultural Research Organisation institutes. He urged farmers to adopt the new varieties since they are also resistant to finger millet rust.

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