Thummam Project in Somalia

Thummam plant


Project plan beginning: June 2017

Project start: January 2019

Project finish: February 2019

PROJECT SCOPE: Project comprises options of plantation project;

5 ha; 5 x (100 m x 100 m) Thummam (Panicum turgidum) hydroseeding pasture application.

Project Location: Burco – Somaliland

Inclusions of this project are:

  • Plantation and Management Plan
  • Irrigation System
  • Maintenance Unit
  • Solar Power Plant
  • All Equipments & Materials
  • Irrigation Water Storage
  • Training of technical staff for operating and maintenance of the irrigation system

The system consists combinations of traditional systems with contemporary systems. Basis of the system is to supply local fodder need.  It is functional and beneficial in compliance with the requirements. The system is designed on the basis of plant materials necessary requirements, target production and local specifications for a maximised healthy and successful vegetative production as well cost effective.





Latin Name: Panicum turgidum Forssk.

Common names: Thummam, taman or tuman, afezu, guinchi, thaman, markouba, du-ghasi. Desert grass.

Description: Thummam (Desert grass) is a perennial, much-branched growing as dense bushes up to 1-2 m tall (max). It bends over and roots at the nodes. Leaves few, stems hard, bamboo-like, solid, smooth and polished; 2.5-3 mm in diameter, emitting from the nodes panicles of branches in tufts from a swollen base. Panicle terminal; 3-10 cm long; spikelet’s 3-4 mm long, solitary (Cooke, 1958). The roots are remarkable for their clothing of root hairs to which fine sand adheres, giving them a felty appearance (Bor, 1960).

Distribution: From South-west Pakistan through the Arabian peninsula to northern and eastern Africa.

Season of Growth: Perennial.

Altitude Range: Natural ranges are from the Dead Sea Depression, at -380 m at Shor-es-Safiyeh, to 3 200 m in the Tibesti Mountains of the central Sahara.

Rainfall Requirements: It occurs largely within the 250 mm isohyets.

Drought Tolerance: Remarkable. In the open tussock communities in Mauritania and the western Sahara plants survive by dissociating themselves from one another rather than growing in association. The root-stock is stout and the root fibres strong and woody; the root hairs bind particles of fine sand by the extrusion of a glue which allows them to absorb more moisture from the soil (see Brachiaria aura).

Soil Requirements: It is usually found on deep dune sand, but will grow in a well-drained latosol.

Ability to Spread Naturally: The plant usually spreads by the bending over of the stems until the nodes reach the ground, where they take root to form a new plant.

Land Preparation for Establishment: No preparation is necessary in the sandy environment in which it grows.

Vigour of Growth and Growth Rhythm: In the Sahel it begins flowering in August, continues flowering through to February and is mature in June (Boudet&Duverger, 1961). The tuft grows again each year.

Cultivars: There is a variation within the species, and there are forms with high grain yields. The vegetative yields of these forms in Near Eastern collections were up to twice those from Mauritania, especially at low levels of nutrients.

Main Attributes: Its drought tolerance, sand-binding characteristics and grain production.

Main Deficiencies: It’s woodiness.

Optimum Temperature for Growth: It is native to hot, dry, arid climates.

Latitudinal Limits: 4-38°N, longitude 17°W-80°E.

Palatability: The young leaves and shoots are very palatable; even in the dry state it is still eaten by camels and donkeys.

Natural Habitat: Sand dunes on the edge of the Sahara, the arid Red Sea coast, and dunes in India.

Fertilizer Requirements: There is little response to nitrogen, but some to phosphorus and potash.

Dormancy: Grains will not germinate and establish unless 20-30 mm of rain, or its equivalent in irrigation water, is supplied, even though subsequent stages of growth are more or less tolerant to drought. Thus, seedlings exist rarely, and reproduction is mainly vegetative (Williams & Farias, 1972).Value for erosion control.

It is valuable for fixing dunes in the 100-400 mm rainfall areas. In the neighborhood of the Red Sea, P. turgidum covers the whole of the coastal plain.

Designed irrigation system for this project is “SPRINKLER GUN IRRIGATION SYSTEM”. Sprinkler irrigation is a method of applying irrigation water which is similar to natural rainfall from above. Water is distributed through a system of pipes usually by pumping. It is then sprayed into the air through sprinklers so that it breaks up into small water drops which fall to the ground. The pump, valves, distribution pipes, and sprinklers are generally designed to apply water as uniformly as possible.

Here with the estimated  advantages of  sprinkler irrigation system for this project.

  • Affordable and more easy to set up.
  • Water measurement is easier than surface irrigation system.
  • Less interference with cultivation and less land loss.
  • High and frequent application can be effectively accomplished.
  • Easy mechanization and automation. (Through solenoid valves and control units)
  • Suitable for all types of field condition (except heavy clay soil).
  • High efficiency due to uniform water distribution.
  • Accurate and easy measurement of distributed water.
  • Soluble fertilizers, herbicides and fungicides can be added in water before distributing to the crops.
  • No special skills trained personal can operate the system reasonably well. Reduces labor cost.
  • Possibility of applying minute quantity of water for germination and other irrigation systems.
  • Soil moisture is maintained at optimum level by sprinkler irrigation and 20 higher yields are obtained of crops and the quality of other crops is also good.


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