Breeding Sorghum for Improved Resistance to Biotic and Abiotic Stresses and Enhanced End
Botswana, Mozambique, South Africa, Tanzania, Zambia
Texas AgriLife Research and Extension Center, West Texas A&M University, Texas A&M University (US); Sorghum Breeding, Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives, Golden Valley Research Station (Zambia); Instituto Nacional de Investigacao Agronomica, Namialo, Entomology, llAMJ Posto Agronemico de Nampula Via Corrane, Nampula (Mozambique); Botswana College of Agriculture (Botswana); ARC-GCI, University of Free State, University of Pretoria (South Africa)
Sorghum (Sorghum bicolor L. Moench) is grown in Africa primarily as a subsistence food crop by small-holder farmers. Uniquely adapted to many indigenous cropping systems sorghum is mostly characterized by wide-adaptation, abiotic and biotic stress resistance, and multiple end-uses.
To improve sorghum production and assist in developing cash generating markets new cultivars and hybrids are needed with increased grain yield, improved grain and forage quality, increased stress (abiotic and biotic) resistance, and better adaptation. Improvement in end-use quality will improve consumer acceptability and cash sales. Development and deployment of better sorghum varieties or hybrids will increase grain production for on-farm household use and provide extra grain for cash sale. The new technology will contribute to more reliable and sustainable production, and promote sorghum grain consumption directly or through development of new products.
An integrated synergistic team approach involving plant breeding, food science, entomology and plant pathology is the most efficient way to develop new knowledge and genetic technology. Collaboration with private industry and NGOs will aid in moving the technology into the market place. Research locations in southern Africa and the U.S. will enable selection of germplasm with the desired traits (yield, adaptation, stress resistance, weathering resistance) and provide validation of new technology. Laboratory research in grain quality will ensure that the new genetic technology has the traits
1. Develop sorghum genetic technology resistant to selected biotic stresses. 2. Develop sorghum genetic technology resistant to pre- and post-flowering drought stress. 3. Develop sorghum genetic technology with improved grain quality and grain mold/weathering resistance. 4 .Develop sorghum genetic technology with improved grain yield and adaptation for diverse cropping systems and environments.Evaluate forage and sweet sorghums for biomass and potential use in cellulosic ethanol production. 5. Contribute to host-country institutional human capital development through short-term (non-degree) and long-term (M.S. and Ph.D.) educational opportunities.