Prolinnova–Sudan national workshop to promote farmer-selected pearl millet variety

On 31 January 2013, Prolinnova–Sudan held a national workshop in El Obied Agricultural Research Station, North Kordofan, to promote the newly released, farmer-selected pearl millet variety Wadelbashir. SOS Sahel–Sudan, the NGO that coordinates Prolinnova–Sudan, collaborated with El Obied Research Station and the Climate Change Network in organising this event.

Back in 2009, when Prolinnova–Sudan was coordinated by Practical Action–Sudan, it supported joint experimentation by farmers and researchers on early-maturing varieties of sorghum and millet that had been selected by El Daw Mohamed El Ghazali, a farmer in Meheribiba village of Um Ruwaba locality in North Kordofan State. This joint experimentation, initiated by Mahmoud Awad Mekki, sociologist at El Obied Research Station, allowed for creative interaction between the knowledge and experience of farmers and of scientifically trained researchers and extensionists.

The plant breeder Elgailani Adam Adalla at El Obeid Research Station led a team of scientists and the farmer innovator in making a proposal for the release of Wadelbashir and other pearl millet varieties for rainfed and irrigated areas of Sudan.  In June 2012, the Sudan National Variety Release Committee approved the farmer’s early-maturing pearl millet variety. The farmer innovator El Ghazeli and another farmer who took part in the experimentation attended the June meeting and spoke there about the innovation process, while Mahmoud Awad Mekki spoke about the need for more participatory research of this kind.

The Sudanese Climate Change Network (SCCN) subsequently became involved in Prolinnova–Sudan and contributed to documenting and upscaling this innovation, which supports small-scale farmers and pastoralists in adapting to climate variability and change. Practical Action partially funded the January workshop and arranged for the participation of the farmer innovator and a scientist from Darfur, in addition to three of its own staff. In addition, His Excellency North Kordofan State Minister of Agriculture and Animal Wealth as well as various other institutions and farmers from North Kordofan and North Darfur States took part in the workshop.