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Sorghum

Overview

Crop Sorghum Sorghum Center of origin: CAF, EAF, SAF, WAF

Sorghum is called “the camel of crops”. It has earned this name because of its ability to grow in arid soils and withstand prolonged droughts. The crop plays a major role in the food security of millions of people in marginal agricultural areas.

It occupies 25% or more of arable land in Mauritania, Gambia, Mali, Burkina Faso, Ghana, Niger, Somalia and Yemen, and globally it is the fifth largest cereal crop after wheat, rice, maize and barley.

Sorghum displays an impressive diversity in both its qualities as a food grain and in its ecological adaptations and appearance. Although particularly adapted to drought prone areas that are too dry for maize, the diversity of the crop allows it also to be grown in temperate and high altitude conditions.

Birds share our fondness for sorghum, posing a problem in farmers’ fields. A traditional way of using crop diversity to combat this problem in Africa, and a good example of environmentally friendly pest control, has been to grow bitter varieties with a high tannin content. These varieties are not edible in unprocessed form for either birds or humans, but fermenting or cooking makes the “bird resistant” grain good human food.

The crop has multiple uses beyond using the grain as food. A sweet syrup is made from the juice of the stems in the southern United States. The cereal makes excellent brew for beer and other alcoholic beverages. The plant is used as animal fodder after harvest, and the straw is often used for fencing and building material for huts. Roots are used as fuel for cooking. Now sorghum is also grown as an energy crop, producing ethanol from the sweet sorghum variety for use as bio-fuel. Sorghum is also used in the production of wallboard in the housing industry and in biodegradable packaging materials.

Conserving forever in genebanks

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ICRISAT

Number of varieties available to the public
69.6% 26,410
Data available in genesys
95.9% 36,400

Breakdown of genebanks conserving Sorghum

  • ICRISAT 37,949 / 100%

The Crop Trust has supported 30 projects for Sorghum

  1. Azerbaijan: The Crop Trust supported the Genetic Resources Institute of the National Academy of Sciences to regenerate and characterize 11 sorghum accessions with the objective of rescuing threatened diversity and enhancing use of these crops. 11 accessions are safety duplicated in Svalbard Global Seed Vault.
  2. Benin: The Crop Trust supported the Institut National des Recherches Agricoles du Bénin (INRAB) to regenerate, characterize and safety duplicate in the International Center for Agricultural Research in the Dry Area (ICRISAT) 43 sorghum accessions with the objective of rescuing threatened diversity and enhancing use of these crops.
  3. Bulgaria: The Crop Trust supported the Institute of Plant Genetic Resources to regenerate, characterize and safety duplicate 122 sorghum accessions with the objective of rescuing threatened diversity and enhancing use of the crops.
  4. Burkina Faso: The Crop Trust supported the Institut National de l’Environnement et de la Recherche Agronomique (INERA) to regenerate and characterize 470 sorghum accessions with the objective of rescuing threatened diversity and enhancing use of the crops. 97 accessions are safety duplicated in the International Center for Agricultural Research in the Dry Area (ICRISAT).
  5. Burundi: The Institut des Sciences Agronomiques du Burundi (ISABU) received support from the Crop Trust to regenerate and characterize 138 sorghum accessions with the objective of rescuing threatened diversity and enhancing use of the crops.
  6. Ethiopia: The Crop Trust supported the Ethiopian Institute of Agricultural Research (EIAR) that worked in collaboration with the Kansas state University to evaluate sorghum collected from humid regions of Ethiopia for disease resistance and high grain quality and generate information on the extent of their genetic variation with the aim of identifying potential sources of desired genes, developing populations using these sources and making them available to breeders and other researchers for use in breeding varieties that are adapted to hot and humid tropics in Africa and elsewhere.
  7. Georgia: The Crop Trust supported the Georgian Institute of Farming (GIF) to regenerate, characterize and safety duplicate in the Svalbard Global Seed Vault 70 sorghum accessions with the objective of rescuing threatened diversity and enhancing use of the crops.
  8. Ghana: The Crop Trust supported the Savannah Agricultural Research Institute (SARI) to survey and collect sorghum in three regions of Northern Ghana with the objective of rescuing threatened diversity and enhancing use of the crops. 133 accessions were collected and are safety duplicated in the International Center for Agricultural Research in the Dry Area (ICRISAT).
  9. India: The Crop Trust supported the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) that worked collaboration with the Texas A&M University, USA, to evaluate 248 sorghum accessions for resistance to fungal diseases with the objective of identifying potential sources of resistant genes and making them available to breeding programs worldwide. The project let to the identification of 14 accessions as potential sources of resistance.
  10. India: The International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) receives an in perpetuity grant from the Crop Trust for the long term conservation of the global collections of sorghum and pearl millet it holds on behalf of the international community.
  11. Kenya: The National Genebank, Kenya Agricultural Research Institute (KARI) received support from the Crop Trust to regenerate, characterize and safety duplicate 1421 sorghum accessions with the objective of rescuing threatened diversity and enhancing use of the crops. 176 accessions are safety duplicated in the International Center for Agricultural Research in the Dry Area (ICRISAT)
  12. Mali: The Crop Trust supported the Institut d’Economie Rurale (IER) to regenerate and characterize 816 sorghum accessions with the objective of rescuing threatened diversity and enhancing use of the crops. 103 accessions are safety duplicated in the International Center for Agricultural Research in the Dry Area (ICRISAT) and Svalbard Global Seed Vault.
  13. Mali: The Institut d’Economie Rurale (IER) received funding from the Crop Trust to survey and collect sorghum in six regions of Mali with the objective of rescuing threatened diversity and enhancing use of the crops. 216 accessions were collected and 33 are safety duplicated in the International Center for Agricultural Research in the Dry Area (ICRISAT)
  14. Mozambique: The Crop Trust supported the Instituto de Investigação Agrária de Moçambique to regenerate 137 accession of sorghum with the objective of rescuing threatened diversity and enhancing use of the crop
  15. Niger: The Crop Trust provided support for the Institut National Recherche Agronomique du Niger (INRAN) that worked in collaboration with the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) to evaluate 1152 sorghum accessions for resistance to pests and diseases and tolerance to drought with the objective of identifying potential sources of resistant genes and making them available to breeding programs for use in breeding resistant and tolerant varieties.
  16. Nigeria: The Crop Trust supported the National Centre for Genetic Resources and Biotechnology (NCGRAB) to regenerate, characterize and safety duplicate in ICRISAT and SGSV 319 sorghum accessions with the objective of rescuing threatened diversity and enhancing use of the crop.
  17. Nigeria: The National Center for Genetic Resources and Biotechnology (NACGRAB) received support from the Crop Trust to survey and collect sorghum in the Northeastern, North Central and Northwestern parts of Nigeria with the objective of rescuing threatened diversity and enhancing use of the crop. A total of 130 accessions were collected and 108 safety duplicated in International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA).
  18. Russia: The N.I. Vavilov Research Institute of Plant Industry received support from the Crop Trust to regenerate 400 sorghum accessions with the objective of rescuing threatened diversity and enhancing use of the crops.
  19. Rwanda: The Crop Trust supported the Institut des Sciences Agronomiques du Rwanda (ISAR) to regenerate and characterize 139 sorghum accessions with the objective of rescuing threatened diversity and enhancing use of the crops.
  20. Sudan: The Crop Trust supported the Plant Genetic Resources Unit, Agricultural Research Corporation (ARC) to regenerate and characterize 671 sorghum accessions with the objective of rescuing threatened diversity and enhancing use of the crops. 648 accessions are safety duplicated in the International Center for Agricultural Research in the Dry Area (ICRISAT) and 671 in Svalbard Global Seed Vault.
  21. Swaziland: The Crop Trust supported the National Plant Genetic Resource Centre (NPGRC) to regenerate 45 sorghum accessions with the objective of rescuing threatened diversity and enhancing use of the crops.
  22. Tanzania: The Crop Trust supported the National Plant Genetic Resource Centre (NPGRC) to characterize and evaluate 200 sorghum accessions for aluminum toxicity and drought tolerance with the aim of providing data and information on the genetic and agronomic value of sorghum available at the National Genebank of Tanzania and making this available to breeders to develop multiple stress tolerant varieties for the benefit of farmers in Tanzania and the region
  23. Tanzania: The Crop Trust supported the National Plant Genetic Resource Centre (NPGRC) to regenerate and safety duplicate 172 sorghum accessions with the objective of rescuing threatened diversity and enhancing use of the crops. 105 accessions are safety duplicated in the International Center for Agricultural Research in the Dry Area (ICRISAT)
  24. Togo: The Institut Togolais de Recherche Agronomique (ITRA) received support from the Crop Trust to regenerate and characterize 143 sorghum accessions with the objective of rescuing threatened diversity and enhancing use of the crops.
  25. Uganda: The National Agricultural Research Organisation (NARO) received support from the Crop Trust to regenerate, characterize and safety duplicate 280 sorghum accessions with the objective of rescuing threatened diversity and enhancing use of the crops. 64 accessions are safety duplicated in the International Center for Agricultural Research in the Dry Area (ICRISAT) and 71 in Svalbard Global Seed Vault.
  26. Unites States of America: The Crop Trust supported Texas A&M University that worked in collaboration with the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) to evaluate the 248 sorghum accessions for resistance to fungal diseases with the objective of identifying potential sources of resistant genes and making them available to breeding programs worldwide. The project let to the identification of 14 accessions as potential sources of resistance.
  27. Uzbekistan: The Research Institute of Plant Industry (UzRIPI) received support from the Crop Trust to regenerate, characterize and safety duplicate in Svalbard Global Seed Vault 257 sorghum accessions with the objective of rescuing threatened diversity and enhancing use of the crop.
  28. Yemen: The Agricultural Research & Extension Authority (AREA) received support from the Crop Trust to regenerate and characterize 915 sorghum accessions with the objective of rescuing threatened diversity and enhancing use of the crops.
  29. Zambia: The Crop Trust supported the National Plant Genetic Resource Centre (NPGRC) to regenerate, characterize and safety duplicate 402 accessions of sorghum with the objective of rescuing threatened diversity and enhancing use of the crops.
  30. Zimbabwe: The Crop Trust supported the National Plant Genetic Resource Centre (NPGRC) to regenerate 200 accessions of sorghum with the objective of rescuing threatened diversity and enhancing use of the crops.