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close this bookRegenerative Agriculture Technologies for the Hill Farmers of Nepal: An Information Kit (IIRR, 1992, 210 p.)
close this folderCropping systems and post-harvest technologies
View the documentRelay Planting of Winter Crops in Maize
View the documentOptimum Planting Density and Spacing for Maize
View the documentRice Technologies for Nepal Hills
View the documentFinger Millet in Nepal: An Improved Production System
View the documentIntercropping of finger millet (kodo) with crotalaria (sanai)
View the documentLentil (Sikhar) Cultivation for Grain and Fodder Froduction
View the documentSarkari Seto: A Traditional Potato Variety for the Hills
View the documentGrain Storage Management for the Hill Farmers
View the documentLong- Term Storage of Seed Potatoes Using the Diffused Light Storage Principle

Finger Millet in Nepal: An Improved Production System

Eleusine coracana


Finger millet (Eleusine coracana), a crop of many poor and subsistent people in the hills of Nepal, is the fourth most important crop in the country. It is uniquely adapted to this country and mostly grown under a maize/millet cropping system. Work on finger millet development has expanded recently starting with the collection of local landraces, introduction of exotic lines and their selection for response to improved management practices. Blast and cercospora diseases are the two important diseases. Four to-five recommendation zones have been established with different traits required for different zones.


1. Early and cold-tolerant variety for the high hills, e.g., NE-94 and NE1703-34. Experiments showed these varieties performed poorly at 2000 meters above sea level.

2. Medium-maturity varieties to facilitate the timely planting of the following crops as well as late transplanting, e.g., GE5714 and GE5177 but only below 1500 m and in a cercospora disease-free environment.

3. Cercospora - but high-yielding varieties, e.g., GE 5174 and GE 5177 in cercospora-disease free zones such as more sunny and drier environments.

4. Select the variety with higher total biomass rather than just the grain yield, since finger millet is valued highly as a good source of fodder.

SEED BED PREPARATION: Use standard 1x3.5 m raised seed bed. Broadcast millet seed at the rate of 10 gm per meter square seed bed. Application of a small quantity of urea will produce good seedlings.

SEEDING: Direct seeding is preferable in the higher hills, particularly under dryland condition. The recommended seed rate is around 5-6 kg/ha.

TRANSPLANTING: Transplanting is the most preferred way under a maize/millet system.

1. m: Transplant finger millet only after the maize has tasseled. This minimizes the maize-millet competition.

2. m: Transplanting before tasseling is preferable. This will allow the following winter crop to grow before the soil moisture is completely exhausted.

3. m: Transplant early, preferably at knee-high stage, again to allow both maize and millet to grow. This will allow the finger millet to head and mature before the cool weather starts.


Interculture, under a standing maize crop while transplanting, the finger millet will have the following advantages:

1. Weeds and stubbles can be removed before this operation and can be used as a green fodder. Weeding should be done at least once more before the millet starts heading.

2. Interculture facilitates top dressing with nitrogenous fertilizer if used. This helps maize as well as the relayed millet crop.


1. For late-maturing and high-yielding varieties, maintain 500,000 plants per hectare or 25,000 plants per ropani. Spacing about 10-20 m hill to hill.

2. For early and low-yielding varieties, double the plant population to attain a similar range of productivity.

3. Plant population should also be increased if planting is delayed.


1. Composting @ 20 ton/ha in the maize field should always be encouraged. (Higher compost quantities may be used.)

2. Top dressing with a low dose of nitrogenous fertilizer (10-15 kg/ha) always helps to boost the finger millet productivity significantly. This should be recommended.

3. Presoaking seeds or seedling overnight in pregnant cattle urine is said to have some hormonal effect on increasing finger millet grain yield by about 20%.



Finger millet has a unique property of having high malting quality. It is also considered as an excellent source of minerals particularly calcium (350 mg/100 g) Low cost weaning food from its malt can be prepared.

- Uniquely adapted to low-input management.

The process involved is simple:

- Responds significantly to small

1. Take finger millet and gram (2 parts finger millet and 1 part gram)

fertilizer levels.

2. Soak this mixture overnight and allow it to germinate for 48 hours and then dry.

- Excellent long-term (grain) storage qualities.

3. Toast this at a mild temperature.

- Unusually high grain calcium content.

4. Grind the mixture. Finger millet should be tempered a while before grinding.

- Tolerance to cold temperatures.

5. Sieve and separate from husk, seed coat, etc.

- High-quality fodder.

6. Finally, blend them in a ratio of 2:1 (finger millet and gram) with supplementation of 5% milk powder and vitamins (if possible).