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

Advancing Improved Functionality and Protein Quality Sorghum Hybrids for Food Applications in Ethiopia 

Lead institution: Texas A&M University
Award amount: $1,049,668
Focus country: Ethiopia

Sorghum from Awika's research

Principal investigator: Joseph Awika
U.S. collaborating institution: Texas A&M University
International collaborating institutions: Ethiopia - Hawassa University

New sorghum hybrids under development combine high protein digestibility (HPD) mutation with waxy and heterowaxy (WX/HX) starch traits in hard endosperm show a lot of promise for various food applications due to superior functionality and improved protein nutritional quality. This project aims to advance the use of these new sorghums for food and nutrition security in Ethiopia. Based on the key findings from phase I, the research team proposes to: 1) Develop commercially viable technologies to successfully incorporate the improved sorghums in various food processes and products in Ethiopia; and 2) Establish improved HPD sorghum hybrid seed and grain production in Ethiopia. Based on phase I findings, researchers expect that the improved sorghum hybrids can be successfully incorporated in mainstream food processing value chain to produce commercially competitive products that meet quality expectations of a broad consumer base in Ethiopia. They also expect to demonstrate that the improved sorghum hybrids will compete favorably with local hybrids in both high input and low input environments in Ethiopia. This will likely lead to a more rapid incorporation of these hybrids into local sorghum breeding and seed production systems targeting specific market applications. Addressing these objectives will lead to development of commercially viable, superior quality sorghum-based food products that will open new markets and enhance sorghum value-chain. This will benefit small-scale farmers who dominate sorghum production, and small and medium scale food enterprises (SMEs) a large portion of which are female-owned. Additionally, increased utilization of HPD-sorghums in local products would significantly contribute to reduced malnutrition in children from regions that rely on sorghum as a staple.

For more information about this project, contact:

Dr. Joseph Awika, Associate Professor
Texas A&M University
2474 TAMU - Soil and Crop Science Department
College Station, TX 77843
+1-979-845-2985
awika@tamu.edu