Mighty millet

a hybrid variety of pearl millet resistant to downy mildew (dm) has been developed jointly by researchers at the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (icrisat) in Patancheru near Hyderabad and the Haryana Agricultural University (hau) located in Hissar.

Caused by the fungus Sclerospora graminicola, dm is the most widespread disease of pearl millet, which is the fourth largest cereal crop in India after rice, wheat and sorghum. If plants are infected with dm at an early stage, their growth gets stunted and they die. Infection of plants at later stages results in failure of grain formation. Farmers in the arid and semi-arid tropics of South Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa, predominantly the poor ones, lose as much as 40 per cent of their millet yield to dm in a bad year.

The hybrid