Welcome to EU-Alba – University of Copenhagen

Welcome to EU-Alba

Low-cost and pesticide-free treatment of seeds
to improve yield of sorghum and millet in Africa

Sorghum and millets are among the most important crops in dry areas of Africa.  Several diseases of the two crops are transmitted through their seeds and farmers may improve the yield by treating seeds with pesticides before sowing. However, for most farmers pesticides are costly to buy and pesticides are toxic to handle without protection. For these reasons, the aim of this project was to test alternative methods of seed treatment: Low-cost and pesticide-free.

Summary of results: 


Three methods of seed treatment were tested:

  • priming of seeds in water (hydropriming)
  • treatment with hot water
  • treatment with a simple extract of the plant Eclipta alba

Yields were found to increase by up to 60% dependent on the method and dependent on the geographical location. Farmers can use the methods directly to improve yields, but they need to test the treatments on their own fields as a first step. Fields located near the same village typically showed the same or similar effect of seed treatment.

Details of results are provided on the following pages