Sorghum is the most important staple crop in Eritrea, followed by pearl millet and finger millet, teff, barley and maize. Marker-assisted Striga
-resistant sorghum and downy mildew-resistant pearl millet
are some examples of the research collaboration areas between ICRISAT and Eritrea.
Development and adoption of improved pearl millet seeds through farmer participatory research led to significant yield increase (+40%) compared to the Tokroray traditional landrace (ref: Roden et al).
Over 10,000 farmers have already benefited from an early-maturing and high- yielding sorghum variety called "Seare" (meaning winner) (ref: HOPE project). It has good household use qualities in local dishes like injera, a local flat bread.
Intensification of sorghum-legume cropping system, combining better seeds, fertilizer microdosing, tile ridging for water harvesting and legume (green gram) intercropping helps farmers obtain better yields and adapt to climate change.
Research collaboration also focuses on better water and soil conservation practices at watershed level. Eritrea is part of a regional initiative supported by ASARECA organization to understand what knowledge gaps to fill (eg trade-offs between livelihoods and environmental benefits), policies (eg water rights), institutions and collective actions are required to scale up best integrated practices in water management.