Management Approaches:
Host Plants


Africa produces almost half the world's millet, and almost a quarter is produced in Niger and Nigeria alone (FAO, 1993).  Four main kinds of millet are cultivated in Africa, summarized in Table 1.  Among these, pearl millet, Pennisetum glaucum, is by far the most important.  Available evidence suggests that pearl millet, also known as bulrush millet, or mil chandelles or petit-mil in West Africa, originated in Africa and was subsequently spread throughout the world.  There is still some debate over whether pearl millet originated in West Africa or in the Abyssinia region (present-day Ethiopia) (Rachie and Majmudar, 1980).

Pearl millet is a fast-growing, robust cereal that uses water more efficiently than either sorghum or maize, as well as being more heat tolerant.  In Africa it is of great importance in the Sahel region, where it is the principle cereal.  It is the staple cereal in Nambia (Anon., 1991).

In West Africa, the principle stem borer of pearl millet is C. ignefusalis.  Busseola fusca has been recorded attacking pearl millet in both East and west Africa.  Several Sesamia species, as well as C. partellus and E. saccharina are also known to attack P. glaucum.

Like pearl millet, finger millet (Eleusine coracana) is now considered to have originated in Africa (Ethiopia) and later imported to Asia, where it assumed greater importance than it had in Africa (Rachie and Peters, 1997).  It is still grown extensively in East Africa, especially around Lake Victoria, and also in Burundi, Rwanda and eastern Zaire, as far north as Zimbabwe, and in Madagascar.  Stem borers attacking E. coracana include the noctuids B. fusca, S. botanephaga and S. calamistis.




Among the less important millets, teff (Eragrotis tef) is almost exclusively grown in Ethiopia, and cultivation of fonio (Digitaria spp.) is restricted to a few West African countries, amoung which Guinea and Mali are the largest producers.

Major references: Acland, 1971; Rachie and Peters, 1977; Rachie and Majmudar, 1980; Spencer and Sivakumar, 1987.

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