Priorities for Millet Research in East and Central Africa
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The Eastern and Central Africa (ECA) region covers an estimated area of 8 million km2. The millets (pearl and finger) are major crops grown in localized areas of this region where the low rainfall received does not permit reliable production of the preferred cereals such as sorghum and maize. More than 95% of the millet grains are consumed as food in the main production areas and only small quantities are commercially processed or marketed. As the countries become more urbanized and disposable incomes increase, commercial agroprocessing is bound to be stimulated. However, for commercialization to occur, increased production and productivity are a pre-requisite. This paper reports the continuing importance of millets in the semi-arid and drought-prone areas of ECA, trends in millet production and productivity over time and factors contributing to the observed trend. It will also look at identified production and productivity enhancing constraints and strategies that have been put in place to address the same.