Over 300 women and youth in Nigeria discovered recently that the humble, environment-friendly sorghum can be made into delicious products and, in the process, earn them a better income. These aspiring farmers and agricultural entrepreneurs were trying to make the most of a trend of rising demand for processed sorghum products. They found that training in sorghum production and processing techniques could give them an edge in income generation and employment.
Since 2015, several training programs, conducted by ICRISAT along with ATASP-1* and other partners, have trained over 10,000 youth and women in seven participating states and four Staple Crop Processing Zones (SCPZs) in Nigeria.
Industrial demand for sorghum is growing in Nigeria, with about 20% of the total sorghum produced being taken up by industries. This increased demand is because of rising awareness about sorghum’s health benefits and the government’s policy of high import prices.
The recently conducted training program for women and youth strategically focused on wealth generation through business development, with interactive sessions on micro and small business enterprises, fundamentals of business proposal and business plan development, record keeping, report writing and group formation and development. Experts also delivered special lectures on sorghum production and processing for household use.
The trainees learnt how to prepare processed sorghum products such as composite sorghum flour, kunu drink, sorghum noodles, popped sorghum, cookies, cakes, bread, doughnuts and crisps (with groundnut).
This training, conducted during 29 October–23 November 2018, began in Kano-Jigawa SCPZ and ended at Adani-Omor SCPZ. A total of 329 participants (155 male; 174 female) attended the training which also covered health issues as well as demonstration on storage, cleaning, drying and packaging of sorghum.