Gadam Sorghum

Breakthrough in sorghum production with high-yielding drought-resistant varieties

Drought stress during crucial growth stages of sorghum has long hindered grain quality, particularly in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA).

Surveys in Ethiopia, Burkina Faso, and Nigeria highlight severe drought during pre- and post-flowering stages as a major constraint in sorghum production, making it the primary limiting factor in SSA.

To address this, collaborative breeding efforts involving the African Centre for Crop Improvement, the Institute of Agricultural Research (IAR), the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT), and the University of Life Sciences have led to a groundbreaking discovery.

Scientists have identified drought-resistant, high-yielding sorghum varieties that have the potential to revolutionize agriculture in arid regions of Africa.

According to the researchers, the varieties thrive under adverse conditions, yielding promising results and providing hope for many farmers whom for a long time have grown sorghum, a staple food for millions in SSA.

The researchers conducted an extensive study titled “Response of African Sorghum Genotypes for Drought Tolerance under Variable Environments,” analysng 225 sorghum types in diverse conditions, including non-stressed situations and pre- and post-flowering period drought stress. Employing advanced statistical analyses, such as the additive main effects and multiplicative interaction (AMMI) method, the scientists pinpointed the most resilient and high-yielding genotypes.

Results unveiled a vast genetic diversity in sorghum resources, offering a pathway for selecting promising genotypes tailored to drought-prone regions. The study underscored the significant impact of environmental conditions on grain yield, with certain varieties showing variable responses to different growing environments.

Notable findings include specific genotypes (G56, G157, G8, G152) exhibiting high tolerance to pre-flowering period drought stress, and others (G144, G115, G157, G08) selected for post-flowering period drought stress. Genotypes G144 (Kaura Short Panicle-1) and G157 (Kaura Mai Baki Kona) displayed higher grain yield in drought-stressed environments, emerging as top performers.

AMMI analysis facilitated the identification of appropriate genotypes for specific locations, with G119 and G127 recognized as suitable for non-stressed conditions due to their stability and high yield. Importantly, these newly identified genotypes not only outperformed registered cultivars but also possessed traits highly valued by farmers, making them ideal candidates for future breeding programs.

Farmers in dry areas of SSA, characterized by pre- and post-flowering period drought stress, stand to benefit significantly from these newly discovered sorghum strains. The adoption of these high-yielding and drought-resistant varieties has the potential to empower African farmers, especially those in SSA, to increase food production and fortify their resilience against the adverse impacts of climate change.

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Source:By Zablon Oyugi