In her lead article, Eva Weltzien, principal scientist at ICRISAT-Mali describes how sorghum breeders across Africa have been able to develop improved varieties resistant to Striga, and tolerant of high salinity and low phosphorus conditions using local landraces, as well as reintroduce landraces that may have been lost. She notes that the germplasm base must be well known and understood and particular varieties chosen appropriately and in consultation with local stakeholders and farmers to know what varieties might be most suitable. Due recognition of the local knowledge which guides the final selection is critical.
In their lead article, Florence Wambugu and Nehemiah Mburu of Africa Harvest describe how the Africa Harvest organisation is partnering with international research centres of the CGIAR and local national agricultural research institutes (NARIs) to improve the crop. Examples from Kenya and Tanzania show that improved access to high-quality certified seeds, intensification of production and adoption of good agronomic practices have led to increased productivity, stronger market links and higher volumes being traded between the two countries.