About Sorghum

Sorghum is an ancient sweet corn that is made into small balls covered in an edible shell. It’s versatile: Sorghum can also be ground into flour for cooking, cooked as a side dish, and popped as popcorn. This ancient grain is considered the fifth most important grain and is consumed around the world.

The sorghum plant has a natural tolerance to rain, which means it can grow almost anywhere it is planted. It is gluten-free, making it a great alternative to other grains. It is also used in a surprising variety of ways, such as animal feed or fuel. In fact, sorghum has been part of a balanced diet for a long time.

The first recorded use of sorghum dates back more than 8,000 years in Africa. Ethiopia, Sudan and Egypt are the regions where researchers believe that corn was first introduced. Sorghum was brought to India in the first century BC, where it is still made into dosa and a large porridge with every meal.

The name sorghum comes from the East Indian word “sorgi” which first appeared in literature around 1542. Finally, sorghum was shipped to the United States in the 19th century. Most US production takes place in South Dakota, Kansas, Texas, Colorado and Oklahoma. Sorghum is also a major crop in Australia, China and South America.

Sorghum is grown during kharif (rainy season) and rabi (post-rainy season) but the kharif share is higher both in terms of area and production. Rabi crops are almost exclusively for human consumption, while kharif crops are very popular for human consumption and are used for animal feed, starch and wine industries.

Only 5% of the sorghum area in India is irrigated. More than 48% of the sorghum acreage in the country is found in Maharashtra and Karnataka. for this drink.

Climate requirements for growing sorghum:

Sorghum is a warm climate crop but can be grown in a variety of climates. It is grown in semi-arid tropical areas from sea level to an altitude of 3000 m in variable rainfall areas. Sorghum plants can cope with high temperatures and dry conditions better than any other crop due to its extensive root system (absorbs water from the deep soil layer), waxy leaf surface, small leaves and ability leaf shedding (reduced). water loss through transpiration).

In addition, during the growing season, sorghum can survive periods of water stress by becoming dormant and resume growth when conditions are favorable. That is why it is called the “camel” of the harvest world. The ability of sorghum to grow in dry environments is due to several physiological and morphological characteristics –

Produces more roots compared to other grains,

It has a leaf area that is down, thus reducing water loss through transpiration.

May remain dormant during summer and resume growth when conditions are favorable,

The aerial part of the plant grows only after the root system is well established.

The leaves have a waxy coating and can be stretched during the dry season, effectively reducing transpiration, and

Most weeds compete well. The minimum temperature for sowing sorghum is 7 to 10 degrees Celsius. It needs a temperature of 25 to 30 degrees Celsius for its best growth. Although it can withstand temperatures up to 45°C, low temperatures (<7°C) limit its productivity due to lack of flowers and pollination.

As a result, the cultivation of rabi seeds is prohibited in northern India. Temperatures below 13 ° C during flowering affect the fruits. It is a short day (the best day is 10 hours) and belongs to a C4 plant.

Flowering is accelerated by short days and delayed by long days. Heading time in sorghum is influenced by temperature and photoperiod. It can also tolerate drought conditions better than any other cereal except rice.

It can be grown well in areas with average annual rainfall between 40 and 100 cm. Sowing of sorghum during kharif is declining in the country as prolonged rains during the flowering season worsen the incidence of grain mold as infected grains become non-infected.

good for human consumption. Continued rains reduced pollution and resulted in poor yields. It was found that the growth rate of corn is higher at higher temperatures than any other corn.

Production of Sorghum in India

Sorghum is the fifth most important cereal in the world, after corn, rice, wheat and barley (FAOSTAT, 2020). Compared to other major grains, sorghum requires less water, less external input, is resistant to drugs and pests and diseases and can withstand harsh weather conditions (Nagaraj et al., 2013; Balakrishna et al., 2019).

Various C4 crops play a critical role in food security, animal and fodder and dryland agriculture (Upadhyaya et al., 2016; Chapke and Tonapi, 2019). Apart from food, it is also a valuable source of biofuel (Appiah-Nkansah et al., 2019). For more than 500 million people in Africa and Asia, sorghum is an incredibly important food.


In Asia, India is the largest producer of sorghum despite the fact that only a small number of farmers grow the crop in less depressed areas (Chapke and Tonapi, 2019). In 2019, the country’s area under sorghum cultivation is 4.1 million hectares, with a production of 3.5 million tons and a productivity of 849 kg ha-1 (Sridhara et al., 2020).

Compared to the global average, sorghum production in India is low, mainly because the crop is grown mostly under rainfed conditions and there is no access to cheap crops for farmers. contributed heavily and reduced crop production. Kharif (rainy) sorghum is used for poultry feed, animal feed industry and wine, while sorghum is grown for animal feed, animal feed, fiber and oil. In areas where commercial ties for sorghum are weak or limited, it is a staple crop.

Adilabad district in Telangana is one of the districts of India with high tribal population. More than 75% of the population of the region lives in rural areas and 35% of the population is tribal (agricultural). For these farmers, sorghum is a staple food and source of animal feed.

The current regional system provides hybrids that, although cultivated, often have poor grain quality, and are therefore often chosen for human consumption. However, local varieties are used that are good for their high grain quality (oily, white and sweet) and are therefore preferred for family consumption.

The land that saved the farmers, although it is suitable for human consumption, is not everywhere, because of the lack of seed banks and the cleanliness is not limited. However, these lands are closely related to their culture, agricultural methods and food of agricultural communities, and therefore are of great value.

Unfortunately, the Indian government’s food policies favoring consumption of rice and wheat, as well as crop cultivation, have affected the country’s sorghum land, crop management (input control) and consumption. The decline in consumption of sorghum and other rare grains, such as pearl millet and finger millet has increased the number of people consuming iron without receiving the benefits from other foods.

This is especially true in areas where rice has replaced corn. This gradual change in food and crop production systems has led to a deterioration in the health status of people (NFHS, 2016; DeFries et al., 2018) and food insecurity in the region (Hall et al., 2007). More than 65% of women and children under 5 years of age in Adilabad are anemic, and more than 35% of children in this age group are underweight (weight for age) and stunted (height for age) (NFHS , 2016; Poshadri et al., 2019).

Several studies have shown that increased consumption of sorghum and millet can reduce anemia and improve the diet of Indian families (Prasad et al., 2016; Phuke et al., 2017; DeFries et al., 2018). The nutritional status of people in agricultural systems is often the result of farmers’ choices and/or cheaper choices in socio-economic conditions.

The quality of food consumed affects physical health and cognitive ability, which in turn affects earning capacity. This further leads to economic losses that have an impact on the Gross Domestic Price (GDP). In addition to these health and food problems, farmers in Adilabad live in an area of ​​India with high or high climate risk. livelihoods for tribal farming communities.

Therefore, developing sustainable and climate-smart agro-technologies (such as variable crops), which meet the needs and interests of local farmers, will be a useful solution for the community.

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