See more from this Session: Symposium--Participatory Plant Breeding for Food Security and Conservation of Agrobiodiversity
Sunday, October 31, 2010: 3:20 PM
Long Beach Convention Center, Room 201A, Second Floor
Sorghum in West Africa is highly diverse. Four of the fives races are cultivated, each with a wide range of varieties, for specific growing conditions and uses. Sorghum improvement in West Africa has used this local diversity in a targeted manner for recurrent population improvement, variety development, and hybrid breeding during the past 10 years. Eco-physiological characterization of local germplasm has facilitated the adaptation of breeding protocols to work with photoperiod sensitive materials. This research has resulted in significant yield improvements of photoperiod sensitive sorghum varieties for the Sudanian agro-ecology of Mali and neighboring countries. As a result of the participatory approach used for variety development and testing, adoption of the new varieties is occurring as a result of the trials themselves, as well as activities to enhance local seed systems. The adoption of new varieties tends to add new diversity to the portfolio of varieties available in a village. Indications are that, also at a household level, the varietal diversity being used is increasing. Involving women farmers in variety testing has guided the program to consider adaptation to low soil fertility conditions more explicitly. It is also opening the way for the adoption of varieties with increased iron and zinc contents, and their use for food prepared for young children.