Knowledge for Development

Relevant publications


The role of varietal attributes on adoption of improved seed varieties: the case of sorghum in Kenya

Anne Gesare Timu, of ILRI and colleagues from the University of Nairobi and the Tegemeo Institute of Agricultural Policy and Development, Kenya examined the effect of variety attributes on adoption of improved sorghum varieties in Kenya. Using data from a random sample of 140 farmers, a multivariate probit was used to identify variety-specific drivers of adoption. Farmers perceived that improved varieties had desirable production and marketing attributes while the local varieties had the best consumption attributes. The major attributes driving rapid adoption of sorghum varieties were taste, drought tolerance, yield, ease of cooking, and the ability to fetch a price premium. Early maturity, a major focus of research was found to have no effect on the adoption decision. The findings of the study implies that breeders should focus more on non-yield attributes like taste and ease of cooking to increase adoption and satisfy the multiple needs of the farmers. (Agriculture & Food Security, 09/05/2014) 

28/07/2014


Influence of ethnolinguistic diversity on the sorghum genetic patterns in subsistence farming systems in Eastern Kenya

Researchers from CIRAD, IRD and their partners have recently demonstrated that sorghum genetic diversity distribution in eastern Kenya was linked to the ethnolinguistic origin of farmers. The researchers took stock of local sorghum varieties grown by households from three ethnolinguistic groups. They characterised the structure of sorghum genetic diversity within the three areas and tested the link with farmers' ethnolinguistic structures. Distribution of sorghum varieties was associated with ethnolinguistic structures. Introduced varieties, obtained through the formal varietal improvement system, were uniformly distributed within the three ethnolinguistic groups, while several local varieties identified by the farmers were unequally distributed among these groups. This work emphasized the relevance of the local scale for studying the evolutionary processes of crops. (PLOS One, 06/2014)

28/07/2014


Biofortified sorghum: lessons for biotechnology

Experiences with implementing the Africa Biofortified Sorghum (ABS) project that seeks to develop a more nutritious and easily digestible sorghum variety are described. It is argued that the project has contributed significantly to the strengthening of African scientific networks. Other issues reflected upon are: the role of the private sector; intellectual property; biosafety and regulatory capacity; funding; communication issues and the balancing of commercial interests and country needs. (B4FA, 2013) 

28/07/2014


Sustainability and effectiveness of artisanal approach to control mycotoxins associated with sorghum grains and sorghum based food in Sahelian zone of Cameroon

Sorghum is largely produced and consumed by the local population in the soudano-sahelian region of Cameroon. Public health problems related to mycotoxins are not found in the region and whether sorghum and sorghum products avoid mycotoxin contamination or whether local postharvest practices are effective against mycotoxins is considered. The observed low incidence levels of mycotoxins in raw dry sorghum grains from northern Cameroon could be linked to pre- and post-harvest strategies to prevent crop contamination e.g., yearly crop rotation, irrigation in hot and dry weather, use of pesticides to reduce insect populations, the drying of crops to a safe moisture level, and protective storage. (InTech Publishers, 2013) 

28/07/2014


Assessment of genetic diversity of sorghum (Sorghum bicolor L. Moench) genotypes under saline irrigation water based on some selection indices

Many areas potentially suitable for sorghum cultivation have to deal with increasing soil salinities and fresh water supplies needed for food production are getting scarcer. This study identified and evaluated the efficiency and profitability of salt-tolerant sorghum genotypes for cultivation in salt-prone areas. It assessed the extent of genetic variation among 22 sorghum accessions from different origin under saline irrigation water using salinity indices. Some of the introduced genotypes (G7, G8, G9, G11 and G14) are better suited to high-saline irrigation than the local. Further research at field level should evaluate green yield production and whether to use them as genetic resources in plant breeding programmes. (Australian Journal of Crop Science, 2013)

29/07/2014


An assessment of the physiological quality of sorghum (Sorghum bicolor L. Moench) seeds planted by farmers in Bomet district of Kenya

Sorghum yields are still fairly low in Bomet District of Kenya and this may be attributable to the use of low quality seed. More than 25% of sorghum seeds are of inadequate quality in relation to germination and vigour tests performed. This represents a risk for loss of valuable genotypes and can lead to poor crop yield in future when seeds of such inferior quality continue to be regenerated. Further research is recommended on the sanitary, analytical and genetic aspects of seed quality. and More seed vigour tests need to be performed on sorghum seeds to standardise appropriate protocols. (African Journal of Food, Agriculture, Nutrition and Development, 2012)

29/07/2014


Breeding strategies for adaptation of pearl millet and sorghum to climate variability and change in West Africa

Developing variety types with high degrees of heterozygosity and genetic heterogeneity for adaptation traits helps achieve better individual and population buffering capacity. Traits that potentially enhance adaptive phenotypic plasticity or yield stability in variable climates include photoperiod-sensitive flowering, plastic tillering, flooding tolerance, seedling heat tolerance, and phosphorus efficiency. Farmer-participatory dynamic gene pool management using broad-based populations and diverse selection environments is useful to develop new diverse germplasm adapted to specific production constraints including climate variability. For sustainable productivity increase, improved cultivars should respond to farmer-adoptable soil fertility management and water harvesting techniques. Larger-scale, on-farm participatory testing will enable assessments of varietal performance under evolving climatic variability, provide perspective on needs and opportunities, and enhance adoption. Strengthening seed systems will be required to achieve sustainable impacts. (ICRISAT, 2012)

29/07/2014


Production and quality evaluation of complementary food formulated from fermented sorghum, walnut and ginger

This study evaluates the effect of sorghum and walnut variation on physicochemical properties and acceptability of breakfast meal to overcome protein malnutrition. The nutritional and textural qualities of sorghum flour were improved with the addition of walnut and ginger flour. Samples with 25% walnut and 5% ginger were more acceptable than the samples containing 15% walnut and 5% ginger, 35% walnut and 5% ginger, 45% walnut and 5% ginger. Processing of sorghum into flour and porridge will encourage use of sorghum in other forms. Fortification of sorghum with walnut and ginger flour makes the food more nutritious.  (Journal of Applied Biosciences, 2012)

29/07/2014


Sorghum biofuel / sweet sorghum beer value chains. Economic evaluation of sweet sorghum in biofuel production as a multi-purpose crop: the case of Zambia

The potential trade-off in producing sweet sorghum instead of grain sorghum is examined. Identifying high sweet sorghum yielding varieties and the best production scenario are very important pre-requisites to using sweet sorghum in biofuel production. The yield of sweet sorghum is positively correlated with how advanced the production regime is. Due to a negative gross margin obtained under the small-scale production scenario, the results suggest that pro-poor measures should be implemented by any policy aimed at increasing the social benefits (significant contribution of biofuel to the rural poor of Zambia) of a biofuel programme. (Dissertation, University of Fort Hare, 2008)

29/07/2014