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Togo
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Togo is a narrow country in West Africa with poor human rights records. Its human development depends heavily on how to lift over half its population out of poverty, a majority of which rely on traditional dryland farming. ICRISAT has an active research collaboration in Togo, especially in dryland cereal improvement.  

 40% - Share of agriculture in Togo's GDP

 16% - Children under five in Togo who are underweight

 36th -Togo’s rank in the 2013 Ibrahim Index of African Governance

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General context

Togo is a narrow 600-km long strip of land in West Africa, with a 56-km coastline. The country has bad human rights records and faces international criticism over the non- democratic political governance and illegal ivory trafficking. Togo's economy, which relies a lot on agriculture (40% of GDP), has collapsed since the suspension of EU aid in 1992.

However, a restored dialogue with international donors after relatively transparent elections in 2010 and reduction of external debt, have given the country brighter development prospects.[

Almost half the 6.8 million population lives below the poverty line, three quarters in rural areas. The level of malnutrition is quite significant (about 16% of children under-five are underweight). Rural poverty is more pronounced in North Togo (Savannah, Central and Kara regions), as harsh semi-arid agroecological conditions mean crop farming is more prone to failure.

Togo has two climatic zones: the Southern part (Maritime and Plateau regions) is humid tropical with two rainy seasons (April-July and September-October) and annual rainfall between 800 and 1,000 m; and the North Togo (Center, Kara and Savannah regions) is drier, with Sudan and Sudan-Sahel climate with one rainy season (April- October).

Improving the productivity of dryland agriculture is therefore key to ensuring better food security and nutrition in Togo. 

ICRISAT research in Togo

ICRISAT has for years collaborated with Togo on sorghum, millet and groundnut research for years. A remarkable example of the use of crop genetic diversity to improve yields and nutrition is the early-maturing, downy mildew-resistant open pollinated pearl millet variety ICTP 8203. It was developed at ICRISAT- India from Northern Togo iniari millet landraces, and released for cultivation in Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra.

 This variety was found to have the highest level of iron density among a diverse range of populations, open pollinated varieties, and hybrids in several trials conducted during 2004-2008. One of its improved versions led to the high-iron pearl millet variety known as Dhanshakti, the first biofortified crop cultivar to be officially released and reaching farmers' fields in India.

Adoption studies of early maturity sorghum varieties in the Savannah region showed a highly positive return of such research and extension effort.

Crop research is also looking at making dryland cereals more palatable to consumers. Dryland cereals, adapted to short and erratic rains, are the major staple crops in semi-arid North Togo. Sorghum, for instance, is consumed in whole grains, and as flour, bread, pancakes, semolina and babyfood. The Agricultural Research Institute of Togo (ITRA) and the West and Central Africa Sorghum Research Network (ROCARS) have produced a bread made of sorghum flour, well received by consumers.

The early-maturing,downy mildew- resistant open-pollinated pearl millet variety ICTP 8203 that was developed from Northern Togo landraces.
Photo: ICRISAT
Iron-rich pearl millet cultivar was developed in India, using iniari landrace from Togo.
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