Millions Fed: Proven Successes in Agricultural Development

Improving Crops for Arid Lands

Pearl millet and sorghum in India

Carl E. Pray and Latha Nagarajan

Key period: mid-1960s–present

Geographic region: India

The intervention: Diffusion of improved pearl millet and sorghum was achieved through long-term investments by the Indian government, state governments, and the international agricultural research system. This effort contributed vitally to reducing food insecurity in India’s arid and semi-arid tropics, where a majority of the country’s poor are still concentrated. National average yields of sorghum and pearl millet have increased by up to 85 percent over the last four decades, and almost 80 percent of sorghum and pearl millet areas are now sown with high yielding varieties. The emergence of private seed companies further expanded access to these improved varieties among the 6 to 9 million smallholder households cultivating these crops.

Book Chapter:
Improving Crops for Arid Lands: Pearl millet and sorghum in India
Carl E. Pray and Latha Nagarajan
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Discussion Paper:
Pearl millet and sorghum improvement in India
Pray, Carl E.; Nagarajan, Latha. 2009. IFPRI Discussion Paper 919.
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