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Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Collaborative Research on Sorghum and Millet

Improved crop genetics, production practices and processing methods for increased productivity and nutrition for smallholder sorghum producers in Ethiopia

Lead institution: Kansas State University
Award amount: $821,421
Focus country: Ethiopia

Test field

Principal investigator: Tesfaye Tesso
U.S. collaborating institutions: Kansas State University, USDA-ARS, Purdue University, KSU - Hays Research Station
International collaborating institutions: Ethiopia - EIAR (Melkassa Research Center, Sirinka Research Center, Pawe Research Center), Tigray Agricultural Research Institute, Haramaya University

This project focuses on developing and utilizing high-yielding, locally-adapted sorghum varieties and hybrids that are rich in highly-digestible protein and essential micronutrients, while at the same time suiting local processing methods and diverse production systems. Through collaborative sorghum research, new innovations including the recently completed sequence of the sorghum genome, fine mapping of loci associated with Striga resistance, discovery of biochemical compounds associated with processing and utilization of sorghum grains, and the development of herbicide-resistant sorghum can be utilized and explored.

Multidisciplinary teams of scientists from a variety of sorghum research institutions in Ethiopia, the USDA-ARS and U.S. land grant universities wil work together to exploit the wide genetic resources for high yield potential, environmental stress tolerance and improved nutritional quality available among Ethiopian sorghum germplasm. The team also plans to optimize food processing methods in order to maximize availability of nutrients in sorghum-based local diets. A series of interrelated activities will be implemented both in the laboratory and at selected field locations in major sorghum producing regions of the country to discover unique phenotypes related to improved productivity, protein and micronutrient nutrition and develop and select the best variety or hybrid carrying these traits.

The team also plans to utilize genomic tools to locate genes associated with enhanced nutritional value and reduced anti-nutritional factors, such as low protease inhibitor and phytic acid, and enhance breeding efforts for the improvements of many of these traits. Additionally, the team will contribute to building the capacity of human resources and the institutional infrastructure of collaborating national organizations through training and mentoring graduate students to help build critical mass of scientists capable of solving local and national problems.

For more information about the project, contact:

Tesfaye TessoDr. Tesfaye Tesso, Associate Professor
Kansas State University
3007 Throckmorton Ctr. - Department of Agronomy
Manhattan, KS 66506
+1-785-532-7238
ttesso@ksu.edu