Innovation of the day

Sulkhaniya Bajra: Traditional Pearl millet variety from Rajasthan

Hailing from the most arid district Churu of Rajasthan, where summer temperatures goes beyond 50°C, Shri Hanumana Ram Jhuriya has been conserving this traditional variety of pearl millet, which is named after his village Sulkhaniya since last four decades through continuous selection method.

The main features of the variety include:
  • Tolerance to drought
  • Extra-long ear heads with compact seeding
  • High yielding
  • /
  • Bold, Nutritious grains, sweeter taste
  • High fodder yield, rich in sweetness, preferred by cattle.
  • Medicinal properties- used in stomach ailments

In his sixties, Hanumana ram is a religious man who has devoted his whole life in conservation of this variety, the seeds of which were provided to his forefathers some 300 years ago by a religious man. When rest of his village switched over to cultivating hybrid pearl millet varieties, he proudly continued his mission of conserving Sulkhaniya Bajra till date. He has studied upto 5th standard, but has interest in poetry and composes verses and poems in his free time. There are 7 members in his family- wife and five children. Agriculture is his main occupation and has been involved in farming for last 45-50years. Out of his total 4 hectares land, Sulkhaniya bajra is cultivated on around 2 hectares for seeds and rest for his household consumption. Each year at the time of harvesting, he carefully selects the best ear heads for seeds to be planted next year. The grains when separated from the ear heads are mixed with neem leaves and can be stored upto 5 years.

Details of the variety:

Sulkhaniya bajra is suitable for sandy loam soil of the dry and semi-arid climate. It is an early sowing variety sown during the pre-monsoon rains. In around 50-55 days 50% ear heads are formed whose average length ranges between 60-90 cm. The total number of tillers per plant range between 6-10 and the percentage of productive tillers ranged between 90-100%. The crop matures in around 90 days and the total yield ranges between 20 -25 quintals/hectare and average biological yield is 40 quintals/hectares. The variety is drought tolerant and can withstand long gaps of dry season. The productivity is good even in dry period as compared to commonly cultivated varieties.

National Innovation Foundation – India has facilitated the validation trials at SKRAU Bikaner, whereas second year trials are underway. Based on the first year trials, the variety was found to be 10.91% superior to best check variety in terms of yield and SKRAU Bikaner has recommended as follows:

The innovator’s variety has good potential for increasing productivity in comparison to the other varieties of pearl millet under rain fed conditions. It has unique, distinct and very attractive long compact medium thick ear heads. The tested variety is an early maturing and good fodder quality. It also possesses tolerance to the prevailing disease of pearl millet under field condition. Looking at its performance under arid condition, it holds good promise for the market and it may serve as a basic breeding material for further research and development.

A team of experts comprising of Dr. Junaid Akhtar (Program Coordinator, KVK, Fatehpur), Dr. S. K. Choudhary (Assistant Plant Protection Officer, Central Integrated Pest Management Centre, Jaipur), Shri B. L. Asiwal (Scientist, KVK, Fatehpur) and Shri Hardev Choudhary (Innovation Officer, NIF, Gandhinagar) also visited for on-site evaluation and conducted a meeting of villagers to discuss the various qualities of the variety. Farmers’ field trials in Rajasthan and Gujarat

Multi-location trials were conducted in Farmers field of Rajasthan and Gujarat, where the production of grain and fodder yield was higher at all the locations tested, when compared to state and local check varieties. Farmers in all the locations showed preference for the variety due to its qualities and better production.

Based on the excellent results of the variety, Shri Hanumanaram Jhuriya was awarded at the 9thNational Biennial Competition, held during Festival of Innovation (FOIN) 2017, at Rashtrapati Bhawan, New Delhi in March 2017.

The seeds of the variety can be procured directly from the farmer at his address: Vill: Sulkhaniya, Teh: Ratangarh,Distt: Churu – 331022, Rajasthan. Contact: 09166287876, 09166552801

You may also contact directly to National Innovation Foundation-India at: 02764261131/ 32/ 38/ 39 Email:vard@nifindia.org [C/o Grambharti, Amrapur, Gandhinagar-Mahudi Road Gandhinagar, Gujarat Pin: 382721 (http://nif.org.in/) Read more on: http://nif.org.in/innovation/sulkhaniya-bajra-improved-traditional-pearl-millet/957