Small grains are ranked second as staple cereal crop after maize in Zimbabwe. They play a vital role in food and nutrition security. Their drought tolerant nature make them able to thrive better in areas marginal areas for thus being an answer to grain security in this current environment of climate change and variability. The marginal areas of Zimbabwe are characterized by high temperatures , limited and uneven distributed rainfall.
Research & Development
The Small Grains Genetic Research utilizes appropriate technologies encompassing molecular genetics, physiology, pathology, and breeding to research strategies that contribute to the development of superior crop varieties.
The flowers are a typical peaflower in shape, 2 to 4 cm (0.8 to 1.6 in) (¾ to 1½ in) across, yellow with reddish veining. Continued stalk growth then pushes the ovary underground where the mature fruit develops into a legume pod, the peanut – a classical example of geocarpy. Pods are 3 to 7 cm (1.2 to 2.8 in) long, containing 1 to 4 seeds.
Phaseolus lunatus is a legume grown for its edible seed. It is commonly known as the butter bean or lima bean. Both bush and pole (vine) varieties exist, the latter ranges from one to four metres in height. The bush varieties mature earlier than the pole varieties. The pods are up to 15 centimetres (5.9 in) long. The mature seeds are 1 to 3 centimetres (0.39 to 1.18 in) long and oval to kidney shaped.
Millets are a group of highly variable small-seeded grasses, widely grown around the world as cereal crops or grains for both human food and fodder. They do not form a taxonomic group, but rather a functional or agronomic one.
Eleusine coracana is an annual plant widely grown as a cereal in the arid areas of Africa and Asia. It is commonly known as African finger millet, red millet, caracan millet, koracan, and ragi. E. coracana is native to the Ethiopian Highlands. It is very adaptable to higher elevations and is grown in the Himalaya up to 2,300 metres in elevation.
Upland rice is rice grown on dry soil. Most rice is grown in flooded rice paddies. Upland rice is grown in rainfed fields prepared and seeded when dry, much like wheat or maize. The ecosystem is extremely diverse, including fields that are level, gently rolling or steep, at altitudes up to 2,000 metres and with rainfall ranging from 1,000 to 4,500 mm annually.
Fat-free (defatted) soybean meal is a significant and cheap source of protein for animal feeds and many prepackaged meals; soy vegetable oil is another product of processing the soybean crop. For example, soybean products such as textured vegetable protein (TVP) are ingredients in many meat and dairy analogues. Soybeans produce significantly more protein per acre than most other uses of land.
Cowpeas are one of the most important food legume crops in the semiarid tropics covering Asia, Africa, southern Europe and Central and South America. A drought-tolerant and warm-weather crop, it also has the useful ability to fix atmospheric nitrogen through its root nodules, and it grows well in poor soils with more than 85% sand and with less than 0.2% organic matter and low levels of phosphorus.
Sorghum is a genus of grasses with about 30 species, one of which is raised for grain and many of which are used as fodder plants, either cultivated or as part of pasture. The plants are cultivated in warm climates worldwide.
Helianthus L. (sunflower) is a genus of plants comprising about 52 species in the Asteraceae family. The common name "sunflower" also applies to the popular annual species Helianthus annuus. This and other species, notably Jerusalem artichoke , are cultivated in temperate regions as food crops and ornamental plants.