Cultivating a sustainable world

The Benefits Of Pearl Millet


Pearl millet is a highly nutritious grain that has been consumed for thousands of years in various parts of the world. This gluten-free grain is rich in dietary fiber, protein, and micronutrients like iron, zinc, and magnesium, making it an excellent addition to a healthy diet.

Pearl millet’s fiber content aids in digestion and can also help lower cholesterol levels, promoting heart health. Its low glycemic index also makes it a suitable food for individuals with diabetes, as it helps regulate blood sugar levels. Furthermore, pearl millet is a good source of antioxidants and phytonutrients, which have been linked to enhanced immune function and reduced risk of chronic diseases.

Planting Pearl Millet

Plant Characteristics:

  • Plant height: 2.0 – 2.2 m; Large, short compact (20 – 30 cm) heads with dark, light grey grains;
  • Maturing: 95 – 110 days (early)
  • Mean yield potential: 2.6 tons/ha;
  • Adapted: throughout Pearl Millet growing areas.

Soils – Water and Soil Requirements

  • Grows well in all the here agro-ecological zones of Zambia.
    Rainfall below 350-700 mm per annum and high surface temperature (30 – 40 C)
    Well-drained sandy or light loamy soils are recommended
    The crop can extract nutrients and water from dry and low-fertility soil.
    It is tolerant to low soil pH and salinity.

Seedbed Preparation:

  • Lubasi needs a fine seedbed for planting as the seeds are small and will take a long to germinate.

Seed Rate:

  • 3 – 4 kg ha or 1 kg/Lima Planting depth.
    After 15 – 20 days of emergence, extra plants from each station must be removed leaving 2 – 3 plants per station or one plant every 20 cm in case of row planting. Thinning should be done before the seedlings start producing secondary branches.

Planting Depth

  • 3-5 cm Spacing: 60-90cm between rows

Planting Dates

  • Region 2: Planting should be from mid-November to mid-December (as per the availability of rains).
  • Region I: Planting in the week of January. The crop should be planted with the second and third good rain.
  • Fertiliser recommendation: 100 kg ha-1 of “D” compound as basal and 50 kg ha-1a of urea as top dressing.

Birds Control:

  • Bird scaring measures from the soft dough stage are essential. If possible avoid small hectarages and swampy areas that are breeding places for the birds.
  • Diseases & pests: Generally resistant to most diseases
  • Storage: thresh grain and mix with 1% Malathion, blue cross or acetylic and store in a cool dry place.


  • Milled Peal Millet flour is used for nshima and porridge
    Pearl millet is used in the brewing of alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages.
    Used in Livestock feed industry.
    Silage and hay by livestock animals.

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