Strigahas been known as a major biotic constraint of economic importance for cereal-based cropping systems. It normally results in low yields, hence affecting the incomes of farmers. The development and utilization of Striga-resistant sorghum varieties holds the best promise of combating and reducing the effect of Striga weed on sorghum in the Eastern and central African region.
In this technology/innovation, sorghum breeders utilized molecular markers to select for the quantitative trait loci (QTL) of the striga resistance.Strigaresistance genes were then introgressed into three (3) sorghum backgrounds, Tabat, Wad Ahmed and AG8, using Marker Assisted Selection (MAS) targeting arid and semi-arid zones agro-ecological zones. The lines were tested for strigaresistance and agronomic performance for three (3) seasons in different agro-climatic zones of Sudan and other ECA participating countries and validated to be striga tolerant.
The utilization of the improved striga resistant varieties is expected to boost sorghum production in striga infested semi-arid areas in the ECA by at least 20%. This will ultimately enhance household food security and contribute to poverty reduction in the region. Widespread cultivation of striga resistant varieties expected to reduce labour demand, since weeding to control striga seeds will not be necessary. In addition, control of striga by the application of herbicides will become unnecessary, thus saving the environment.
Development and evaluation of the striga resistant lines was done in Sudan and tested under the as arid and semi-arid zones agro-ecological zones at Gezira, Damazine, Sinnar, and Gedaref in Sudan. This area has ideal temperature, relative humidity, rainfall and soil type for the new sorghum varieties
All the ten (10) lines evaluated for striga resistance attained the required state of agronomic eliteness combined with high and stable levels of striga resistance under the Sudan environment. Standard variety trials were then carried out in six (6) striga infested plots over three (3) seasons. Results revealed that backcross-derived lines, T1BC3S4, AG6BC3S4, AG2BC3S4 and W2BC3S4 were Striga resistant and agronomically superior, giving up to 180-298% increases in grain yield over their recurrent parents. Subsequently, the lines were renamed ASARECAT1, ASARECAW2, ASARECAAG3 and ASARECA AG4; and released in an official function by the national variety release committee for commercial planting in Sudan.
The beneficiaries of the striga resistant sorghum are farmers, researchers, seed companies, processors
and traders. The Sudan national sorghum programme is currently bulking up the seed materials in the
research stations for scaling up with the strong participat ion of the private sector.
Scaling up approaches using the private sector as the pathway of choice is seen as the most effective
- Publication of research findings in journals
- Creating awareness of the striga resistant varieties and benefits of using them to farmers in the countryside.
- Making the striga resistant seed available to framers during the planting season.
- Demonstrating that the adoption of striga resistant seed can bring about abundant food resources and profits to farmers.
Key partners needed in the scaling up process Include:
- National Sorghum Program
- Seed companies
- Processors and
The National Sorghum Program is now bulking up seed materials for scaling up. The seed has also reached the private sector actors and is being multiplied for other intended users particularly farmers.
Challenges encountered in respect to further dissemination of the seed, adoption and scaling up/out
- Limited awareness by policy makers of the availability of striga resistant sorghum variety
- Poor maintenance of the released varieties- Limited storage facilities at the National Sorghum Programme
- Limited sorghum market information
- Infestation by storage pests and diseases
- Fluctuating and low sorghum market prices
Recommendation for addressing challenges
- Create awareness among policy makers and end users on the new striga resistant sorghum varieties
- Improve extension services
- Create market incentives for increased production and productivity of sorghum products
- Improve links with sorghum agro industries
- Need for early awareness by policy makers of in the development process of the new striga resistant sorghum variety seed.
- There is need for adequate storage capacity of new variety seed storage facilities at the National Sorghum Programme
- The private sector must be engaged early enough in the process of the variety development
- Social, environmental, policy and market conditions necessary to catalyse cross-border scaling up of Striga resistant sorghum varieties
- Conducive national institutional mechanisms for new variety seed release.
- Conducive seed harmonization laws among ECA countries
- Programmes that increase farmers awareness
- Presence of similar agro-ecological zones Land availability
- Availability of markets
- Seed harmonization laws and policies
- Presence of a vibrant agro-processing industry
Basic costs (local currency and equivalent US $) associated with utilization of the fine mapping innovation
Estimated returns (local currency and equivalent US$) such as cost benefit or gross margin figures where applicable
Gender issues /concerns (if any) were considered in the fine mapping exercise Was not part of the study.
Gender issues/concerns (if any) in the fine mapping exercise Was not part of the study.
Gender-related opportunities (if any), which enhanced or can enhance the genetic linkage mapping Was not part of the study.
Success stories from beneficiaries attesting to the use of the genetic linkage mapping
None as yet
Mohamed H Abdalla
Associate Professor, Agricultural Research Cooperation (ARC)
P.O Box 126
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com
Dr. Rasha Ali
Associate, Agricultural Research Co-operation (ARC)