Mechanised multi-row seeding of finger millet
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Finger millet (Eleusine coracana L. Gaertn) in sub-Saharan Africa is produced at subsistence level by low income earners and particularly in drought prone areas. Unfortunately, production is affected by many factors most especially weeds. The effect of weeds is made more important because finger millet is sown by broadcasting. Row sowing of finger millet has been shown to significantly reduce finger millet weeding labour requirements to economic levels. Despite the great benefits associated with finger millet row sowing, the practice is still burdensome because it is a tedious and time wasting process. It is mostly done manually or with innefficient single-row seeding equipments. Research targeting mechanized crop production is greatly inclined to high powered equipment, not easily affordable by low income communities and mostly suited for large grains. Mechanised seeders currently availabale are used for large seeded crops and cannot be used for finger millet as their metering mechanisms releases big quantities of seed in a furrow, necessitating another tedeoud exercise of thinning. In order to solve the finger millet sowing associated drudgery, there is need to review the existing seeding mechanization efforts in order to come up with a design appropriate for tiny seeds that is multi-row, user friendly to low income communities, time saving and able to perform in the sandy soils of most finger millet growing parts of Uganda and elsewhere.