Sorghum Overview

 Scientific name: S. bicolor.

 Common name: Jowar (Hindi) Jonna (Telugu) Juara (Oriya) Mtama (Swahili) Sorgho (French)

Sorghum, a versatile and vital cereal crop, holds significant importance as a dietary staple for millions of people across diverse regions in Africa, Asia, and parts of America. As the fifth most important cereal globally, sorghum plays a crucial role in ensuring food security and economic stability for numerous communities.

One of the primary reasons for sorghum's widespread cultivation is its multifaceted utility. The crop is primarily grown for its grains, which serve as a valuable source of nutrition for both humans and animals. Sorghum grains are rich in essential nutrients, including carbohydrates, proteins, and micronutrients, making them an essential component of many diets.

Beyond its role as a dietary staple, sorghum also serves various industrial purposes, further enhancing its significance. The grain finds application in the production of animal feed, contributing to livestock farming and supporting the livelihoods of farmers engaged in animal husbandry. Additionally, sorghum's applications extend to the industrial sector, where it is utilized in brewing and biofuel production, contributing to sustainable energy solutions.

Sorghum's adaptability to challenging environmental conditions is another key factor driving its cultivation in diverse agroecological regions. The crop exhibits remarkable resilience, thriving in semi-arid and tropical climates characterized by limited water availability, high temperatures, and poor soil conditions. Sorghum's ability to withstand drought makes it a valuable crop for regions prone to water scarcity, providing a reliable food source even in adverse conditions.

ICRISAT, recognizing the importance of sorghum in global agriculture and food security, has been at the forefront of sorghum research and improvement. Through its breeding efforts, ICRISAT aims to develop high-yielding, climate-resilient, and nutritionally enhanced sorghum varieties that cater to the specific needs of farmers and consumers. By focusing on traits like drought tolerance, pest and disease resistance, grain quality, and nutritional content, ICRISAT strives to ensure that sorghum remains a sustainable and dependable crop for the millions who rely on it for sustenance and livelihoods.

As a result of ongoing research and collaborative efforts with partners and stakeholders, sorghum's potential continues to expand. The crop not only strengthens food security but also contributes to agricultural diversity and economic growth in regions where it is cultivated.


Our Impact

ICRISAT is at the forefront of innovative and impactful sorghum research and breeding, dedicated to developing improved varieties with enhanced characteristics. With a focus on addressing the diverse challenges faced by farmers and consumers, ICRISAT's sorghum breeding efforts encompass a range of key objectives:

 Higher Yield: Recognizing the importance of better income for farmers, ICRISAT is actively involved in breeding sorghum varieties with desirable agronomic traits, such as early maturity and short-duration varieties, to achieve higher yields.

 Drought Tolerance: Sorghum is frequently cultivated in regions prone to water scarcity, making drought tolerance a critical trait. ICRISAT is dedicated to developing sorghum varieties that can withstand prolonged periods of water stress while maintaining reasonable yields, ensuring greater resilience for farmers in dry areas.

 Pest and Disease Resistance: Sorghum is vulnerable to various pests and diseases, including shoot fly, midge, and downy mildew. By employing advanced breeding techniques, ICRISAT is working to develop resistant varieties, reducing the need for chemical pesticides and minimizing crop losses due to these challenges.

 Improved Nutritional Traits: ICRISAT is committed to enhancing the nutritional quality of sorghum grains. The breeding program targets varieties with higher protein content, improved amino acid profiles, and elevated levels of essential micronutrients, contributing to improved food and nutritional security.

 Striga Weed Resistance: The parasitic weed Striga poses a significant threat to sorghum and other crops. ICRISAT's research focuses on developing sorghum varieties resistant to Striga infestation, mitigating yield losses and enhancing productivity for farmers.

  Dual Purpose Sorghum and Forage Sorghum: ICRISAT's pioneering sorghum breeding program seeks to combine both grain and forage traits in varieties. This allows farmers to benefit economically from both grain production and forage utilization, providing a more diverse and sustainable approach to sorghum farming. India's remarkable 'multi-cut' forage hybrid CSH 24 MF stands as a landmark development achieved using ICRISAT breeding material as one of the parents.

Through a multi-faceted approach and collaboration with various partners and stakeholders, ICRISAT remains dedicated to advancing sorghum breeding and research, ultimately contributing to improved livelihoods, agricultural sustainability, and food security for communities worldwide.


Market segments

ICRISAT's commitment to advancing agricultural research and breeding is underscored by its constant review and updating of market segments for each crop, accomplished through meaningful consultations with diverse stakeholders. These well-defined market segments are pivotal in prioritizing breeding traits that align with current challenges facing crop production and aligning with the preferences of farmers, consumers, processors, and other key players in the agri-food value chain.

For sorghum, ICRISAT's dynamic breeding program is currently focusing on four distinct market segments, each with its unique set of traits:

Post-Rainy Season Sorghum for Food and Fodder:

 Maturity Duration

 Grain Yield

 Stover Yield and Digestibility

 Resistance to Shoot Fly and Charcoal Rot

 Seed Size, Grain Color, and Luster

Rainy Season Sorghum for Food, Feed, and Fodder:

 Maturity Duration

 Grain Yield

 Stover Yield and Digestibility

 Resistance to Shoot Fly and Grain Mold

Forage Sorghum:

 Forage Yield and Digestibility

 Tillering Capacity

 Resistance to Anthracnose and Leaf Blight

 Resistance to Stem Borer

 Suitability for Single Cut or Multi-Cut Harvesting

Sweet Sorghum and High Biomass Sorghum for Biofuel:

 Maturity Duration

 Fresh Stalk and Dry Stalk Yield

 Brix % (Sugar Content)

 Resistance to Shoot Fly and Stem Borer

 Resistance to Anthracnose and Leaf Blight

ICRISAT's dedicated sorghum breeding efforts are driven by a deep understanding of the diverse needs of end-users and markets. By prioritizing these specific traits for each market segment, ICRISAT aims to develop improved sorghum varieties that are better suited to meet the demands of farmers, industries, and consumers alike. Through this strategic and inclusive approach, ICRISAT continues to play a vital role in enhancing sorghum productivity, resilience, and sustainability to positively impact the livelihoods and food security of millions of people worldwide.

By concentrating on these distinct market segments, ICRISAT aims to cater to the diverse needs of different stakeholders, ensuring that groundnut varieties meet specific requirements for oil extraction, home consumption, food preparation, snacks, and confectionary purposes. This strategic approach not only addresses the current challenges faced by the groundnut industry but also aligns with the preferences and demands of consumers and the agri-food value chain stakeholders.

Should you have any questions our dedicated support team is ready to help. Please email: research@icrisat.orga