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A Symphony of Sorghum Seeds in Kenya


Farmer in southwestern Kenya explains he would be interested in expanding his sorghum cultivation, using the best-performing varieties. However, a key obstacle is the access to finance. (Photo: Manon Koningstein for the Crop Trust)

By Manon Koningstein

30 August 2023

In Western Kenya, where farmers used to live in harmony with nature. But now, it seems to have lost its rhythm. 

The once-predictable climate has turned capricious, leaving farmers and their crops at the mercy of erratic rainfall and unrelenting heat. 

That includes sorghum, long beloved by the people of Kenya. It's been their sustenance, their tradition, and their solace. But as the climate orchestrates new tempos, sorghum faces an unexpected adversary: a legion of pests and diseases, thriving in the wake of climatic turmoil. As sorghum's song fades, the food security of a community hangs in the balance.

Enter GeRRI, Kenya's Genetic Resources Research Institute, where the nation’s agricultural legacy is preserved. Through Seeds for Resilience, GeRRI aids farmers to revive sorghum’s career in Western Kenya.

We journeyed to Western Kenya, where the stage is set for on-farm evaluation trials. There, as part of Seeds for Resilience, 540 farmers from 23 community groups have an important task at hand. They will select stars among 50 different sorghum accessions. 

Watch the video to dive deeper into the story and learn how the farmers vote for their favorite varieties and what they can do to avoid striga, a parasitic plant that sucks the breath out of sorghum.


Seeds for Resilience is a five-year project to support the national genebanks of Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria and Zambia funded by the German government through the German development bank, KfW.

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