Seed System of Finger Millet [Eleusine coracana (L.) Gaertn] in Yilmana-Densa and Mecha Districts, Northwestern Ethiopia
Background: Finger millet is one of the major crops grown in Amhara Regional State particularly in West Gojjam Administration Zone in maintaining food and nutrition security. However, farmers in the study area grow limited number of finger millet varieties due to inadequate efforts of variety development, seed production, distribution and marketing.
Objective: The survey was conducted to assess the existing finger millet seed system, variety development, seed production and to suggest options for effective finger millet seed system development.
Materials and Methods: The survey included 120 sample households from four farmers’ associations of Yilmana-Densa and Mecha districts, West Gojam Zone, Northwestern Ethiopia. A structured questionnaire was employed to collect primary data through individual interviews and focus group discussions as well as secondary data from relevant organizations and analyzed using SPSS software Version 20.
Results: The farmers allocate relatively the highest share of their farmland to finger millet. Farmers used multiple seed sources, but gift from parents were found to be a predominant seed source at initial time. In both study areas, on-farm saved seeds accounted 83.6 to 88.1% and borrowed or purchased locally seeds accounted 11.9 to 16.4%. This showed the informal seed system accounted 100% of the seeds used, and the use of seed-fertilizer package did not get attention by extension organization. Few farmers’ cultivars are grown in the study area due to inefficiency of informal seed system with poor promotion and poor seed quality.
Conclusion: Finger millet producing smallholder farmers have not access to seeds of improved varieties of the crop and informal seed system was inefficient. Therefore, it is suggested to strengthen both the formal and informal seed systems to enhance the yield of the crop.