Cereals For The Semi-Arid Tropics uri icon


  • The region of semi-arid tropics is the most famine prone area of the world. This reglonwith nearly one billion people extends across some 20 million square kilometrer. Majordomesticated cereals adapted to semi-arid regions are sorghum (Sorghum bicolor (L )Moench), foxtail millet (Seraria rralica (L.)P . Bcauv.) and pearl miller (Pcnn~scrumg laucum(L.) R. Br.). Several minor cereals arc grown as speciality crops, or harvested in the wildin times of severe drought and scarcity. lmponant in the African Sahel are the fonios Digirariaibum Sfapf. D. exilis (Kapist) Smpf and Brachiana dejlexa (Schurnach.) C.E. Hubbard.These species arc aggressive colonizers and are commonly encouraged as weeds in cultivatedfields. Sown genotypes differ from their close wild relatives primarily in the lack of efficientnatural seed dispersal. The fonios lend themselves to rap~dd omestication. Several wild cerealsextend well beyond the limits of agriculfure into the Sahara. Commonly harvested are theperennial Sripagrosris pungens and Panicum rurgidum, and the annual Cenchrur brj7orvs(kram-kram). Kram-kram yields well under extreme heat and drought stress. and holdspromise as a domesticated cereal. Sauwi millet (Panicurn sononun) is promising cereal in aridnorthwestern Mexico

publication date

  • 1989