This project aimed to modernise the Ethiopian sorghum breeding program at the Ethiopian Institute of Agricultural Research (EIAR).
Sorghum is the world's fifth most important cereal and a staple food crop of millions in the semi-arid tropics. It is crucially important to food security in Africa as it is grown in the drier and resource-poor areas, where its capacity to better tolerate drought, high temperature, and low fertility make it a preferred crop to maize. Although sorghum tolerates stress, drought still causes significant crop losses and food insecurity in major sorghum growing regions in Ethiopia.
More effective use of water in these environments by improved tailoring of genetic and management options could reduce the effect of drought considerably. Local infrastructure and skills to conduct effective crop improvement programs in Ethiopia are limited, but investment to enhance local capacity could produce substantial and enduring benefits.
This project was part of a larger co-investment with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to enhance sorghum crop improvement in Ethiopia's dry lowlands.