Seed Ball Technology Improves Sahelian Pearl Millet and Sorghum Farming

The Sahel region of Africa is one of the harshest cropping environments in the world. Sahelian farmers have limited resources, income and access to inputs such as fertilizer and water. This makes the region ideal to introduce new technology advancements to help smallholder farmers with planting techniques to increase the pearl millet crop yield rate. The Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Collaborative Research on Sorghum and Millet (SMIL) at Kansas State University began a research project in 2013 to do just that. The SMIL research project, Seed Balls – Enhancing the Yield Effect in Pearl Millet and Sorghum and Disseminating the Technology in West Africa, developed seed ball technology to increase average yield by 30% to provide opportunities for entrepreneurs (especially women) and increase income for smallholder farmers. SMIL efforts are led by principal investigator Dr. Ludger Herrmann, professor at the Institute of Soil Science and Land Evaluation, Soil Chemistry, and Pedology, at the University of Hohenheim (Universität Hohenheim in Germany).