Finger millet is named after the shape of its flower. The flower is shaped like fingers of a palm.


Varieties Serena –1  and Elkalakala – 1

P 224 is brown grained and tolerant to lodging and blast

Gulu E is brown grained. For moist mid altitude.

KAT/FMI is brown and drought and blast tolerant and high in calcium. For semi-arid lowlands.

Lanet/FM1 is brown grained and tolerant to cold and drought. For cold semi-arid areas

KAT/PM1 is grey grained tolerant to bird damage, leaf blight and rust

KAT/PM2 is grey grained, tolerant to leaf blight and rust. Grain used at dough stage

KAT/PM3 is grey grained, tolerant to leaf blight and rust

OKOA and SHIBE are Tanzanian varieties planted in low altitudes and resistant to striga

PESE 1, PESE 2, SEREMI 1, SEREMI 2, SEREMI 3 are Ugandan, brown, early maturing

Seed Rate Plant 2-4 kg/ha in very dry areas to 10-15 kg/ha under irrigation
Fertilizer Rate Apply 20kg per hectare at planting Or 10 tons per ha of manure ( alternative to fertilizer)

Top Dress with 20kg per hectare

Planting Spacing Make rows of 30 cm apart and 10 cm from plant to plant. Maximum plant population of 120 000 plants per hectare
Husbandry Millet benefits from intercropping with legumes such as green gram and cowpeas. It can also be rotated with legume crops to benefit from the soil improvement facilitated by these crops or intercropped with other non-cereal crops. Application of farm yard manure at 8-10 tons/ha is recommended in order to improve the soil organic matter content, moisture retention ability and soil structure. Phosphorous application is recommended. Weeding should be done twice, first time 2-3 weeks after emergence and second weeding about two weeks later.
Pest & Diseases Pest Name Symptoms Control
  Smut Sooty mass (powder) in place of fingers Use of certified seed crop rotation
Expected Duration from Planting to Harvesting Low Altitutes: 2-4 months

High Altitudes: 7-8 months

Climatic Conditions Millet is adapted to conditions that are too hot and too dry, and to soils too shallow and poor for successful cultivation of other cereals. It is tolerant to a very wide temperature range but susceptible to frost. Millet is grown from 0 – 2400 m above sea level. An average annual rainfall of 200 – 450 mm is sufficient. Most soils are suitable for its cultivation, except coarse sand.
Harvesting Millet is usually harvested by hand when the grain has a moisture content of 14-15% to avoid seed hattering. Its threshed immediately after harvest. Sometime its mixed with ash before storage.
Post Harvest and Storage Sun dry the harvested panicles to a moisture level of 12-13 % and thresh and store the grain.
Growing Regions Kenya: Lamu, Kilifi, Taita Taveta, Kwale, Mombasa, Nakuru, Baringo, Laikipia, Naivasha, Narok, Koibatek, Taita Taveta, Machachos, Kitui, Makueni, Mwingi, Lower Embu and Tharaka Nithi,

Kajiado, Busia, Siaya, Kakamega, Kisumu, Homabay, Kuria, Migori, Meru, Embu and Nyeri.

Tanzania: Dodoma, Mwanza, Shinyaga, and Singida

Uganda: The hotter areas of Uganda

Expected yields Up to 20-30 bags per hectare depending on variety and conditions


Processing Millet is mostly processed into Flour for human consumption

It’s also used in brewing


Place Millet is usually consumed locally. There are intermediaries that buy at farm gate and markets and sell to millers and other retailers.
Price The price varies between Kshs. 4000 to and kshs 7000 per 90 kg bag. It all depends on the season, region and its availability.


Products / By Products Millet is mostly milled into Flour and used as food.

Its also used to make alcoholic beverages

Biofuel – Its also used to produce ethanol, a bio fuel.

Nutritional value – per 100 g / % Daily Values Energy 378 / 19% Carbohydrates 72.9 / 24% Fat 4.2 / 6% Protein 11.0 / 22% Calcium 8.0 / 1% Phosphorus 285 / 28% ; Iron 3.0 / 17%; Pottasium 195 / 6%; Thiamine (vit. B1) 0.4 / 28%; Riboflavin 0.3 / 17%;


Annual production of millet in 1961 was 394,000MT compared to 70,000 MT in 2011 in Kenya.


Income Per Hectare: Kshs 60,000 (20 bags * 3000/-)

Cost per Hectare: Kshs. 15,000 (25% of Income)

NET:    Kshs. 45,000 (75% of Income)

Break Even Yield (Where Cost=Income): = 5 bags per hectare.

Income Frequency: Twice per year.

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