The release of two new nutritionally high sorghum varieties, one with three times higher iron content, will be a boost for farmers as well as the malnourished populations, especially children in Nigeria. Both varieties have yields that are double that of the local varieties and are also short duration, allowing farmers to adapt better to climate change.
One of the new varieties has iron content three times higher at 128.99 ppm compared to 40 ppm. The improved varieties yield 2.4-2.8 tons per ha, compared to yields of less than one ton per ha from local varieties. Initial screenings were encouraging as they showed that the new varieties were resistant to Striga compared to other varieties in the trial.
“Sorghum has been recommended for infants, the elderly, pregnant and lactating mothers because of its high caloric and nutritional value. There are cases of ‘hidden hunger’ (deficit of iron and zinc) among low income farmers who sell most of their produce. Sorghum is naturally high in iron and zinc,” said Dr Ignatius Angarawai, Scientist-Sorghum Breeding, ICRISAT-Nigeria.
He also stated that, “The newly released varieties can help overcome periods of drought especially terminal drought problems prevalent in the Sahel and Sudan savannah agroecologies of Nigeria because they are early maturing, with 50% flowering in 67 days against the average 90 days for other varieties.”
The improved open pollinated varieties were developed by a team of scientists in the Nigerian national agricultural research system and ICRISAT. The new varieties involved crossing local Nigerian germplasm with improved lines from ICRISAT’s collection in Mali. The new varieties retain desirable traits such as bold and white grains preferred by farmers and traders.
The two varieties, 12KNICSV-188 and 12KNICSV-22 were approved for registration and release as SAMSORG 45 and SAMSORG 46, respectively, by the National Committee on Naming, Registration and Release of Crop Varieties, Livestock Breeds and Fisheries, during their 23rd seating at the National Centre for Genetic Resources and Biotechnology (NCGRAB), Nigeria, on 4 February.
ICRISAT-Nigeria team acknowledges the efforts and contributions of former ICRISAT scientists Eva Weltzien Rattunde and Henry Frederick Weltzien Rattunde towards the development of these two improved sorghum varieties.
For more on Sorghum see: http://exploreit.icrisat.org/profile/Sorghum/193
For more on Nigeria see: http://exploreit.icrisat.org/profile/Nigeria/361
Projects: Agricultural Transformation Agenda Support Program (ATASP-1) and Identification of Micronutrient-Dense Sorghums for Better Health in West and Central Africa (WCA) and India
Partners: Institute for Agricultural Research (IAR), Nigeria, State Agricultural Development Programs (ADPs), Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (FMARD) and ICRISAT
Investor: African Development Bank and HarvestPlus
CGIAR Research Programs: Dryland Cereals and Dryland Systems