Feasibility Study on Striga Control in Sorghum

Sorghum remains an important food security crop in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) and especially in the marginal areas where other crops do not do well. Sorghum production in SSA is estimated at 26 million MT with Nigeria being the leading sorghum producer in Africa and the second in the world after USA. Mali ranks second in Africa and sixth in the world with Ethiopia ranking third in Africa and eighth in the world. Sorghum is primarily a smallholder crop grown primarily for household food security. Commercialisation of the crop is rather limited and its value chain is under developed. Striga remains a major constraint not only to sorghum production but also to other cereals and other crops (including sugarcane). In Ethiopia, for instance, Striga affects all cereal crops and unlike other countries like Kenya it is also found in the highlands where the soils are fertile. Annual sorghum losses attributed to Striga in SSA are estimated at 22–27% and specifically at 25% in Ethiopia, 35% in Nigeria and 40% in Mali. In terms of monetary value, the annual cereal losses due to Striga are estimated at US$ 7 billion in SSA. In Ethiopia, Mali and Nigeria, the annual losses are estimated at, US$ 75 million, US$ 87 million and US$ 1.2 billion, respectively. This study demonstrates that there are potential benefits in terms of yield gains and farmer incomes from use of HR sorghum varieties. The anticipated yield increases are between a minimum of 17.5% in Ethiopia and a maximum of 36% in Mali, depending on the level of protection achieved.

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