Botswana launches new sorghum variety

Botswana's department of agriculture research in Francistown last week launched a new sorghum variety called Larysvt for farmers in some northern parts of the country.

Larysvt was launched by a group of agricultural researchers led by Baatlhodi Mmolawa, who told the farmers that the development of the new breed was started in 1992.

He said studies have been completed and now, farmers can plant it.

Mmolawa said the sorghum has undergone a palatability study, which found out that it is also good for brewing beer.

Larysvt porridge can also be mixed with melon.

He said its white colour is attractive and it is not a maturing variety and it can be harvested within 115 days of planting.

He said characteristics of Larysvt are similar to Segaolane, a variety that is popular among farmers and that it has a large head..

The agricultural research station has planted plenty of Larysvt to increase the seed for the 2006/07 ploughing season.

He explained that Larysvt experiments did not do well in the north-western and southern parts of Botswana. Mmolawa asked farmers to co-operate with extension workers so that their combined efforts could improve food production efforts in Botswana.

Letsholonyana Tabona, a rural agricultural officer, said Larysvt is a Latin America variety. Farmers can expect harvest even during years of drought.

Tabona called on crop farmers to form milling associations either to pressure the Botswana Agricultural Marketing Board to offer better producer prices or to form a better marketing system.

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