Innovation Opportunities in Sorghum Production in Uganda
Moses M., Tenywa
Sospeter O., Nyamwaro
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Sorghum (Sorghum bicolor) (L.) (Moench) is cultivated worldwide in a wide range of environments. Because of its resistance to drought, high production potential and low inputs use, sorghum is cultivated in the tropical, subtropical and temperate areas in warmer semi-arid regions of the world. In Uganda, sorghum is grown mainly in the southwestern highlands, especially in Ntungamo and Kabale districts, and in the lowland areas of eastern and northern regions of Uganda. The main objective of this research was to undertake a rapid sorghum VCA in Uganda toward identifying innovation opportunities to expand its production and marketing. Although considered a minority crop, sorghum is the third most important staple cereal food crop where it occupies up to 400, 000ha of arable land. While this area has remained stable over the years, sorghum production in Uganda has declined from 457,000 tons in 2007 to 299,000 tons in 2013. Notwithstanding, Uganda is the second largest producer of sorghum after Tanzania, in the EAC. The economic importance of sorghum is given by its large variety of uses. Sorghum grains are used for human nutrition, where it is transformed into flour for producing bread, porridge and other dishes. It is now increasingly becoming the foundation for food and beverage industries. Sorghum has high nutritional value, with high levels of unsaturated fats, protein, fiber, and minerals. Sorghum production in Uganda is faced with many constraints including lack of national policy to support its production and marketing, limited ready markets, pests and diseases, and limited use of inorganic fertilizers. Sorghum VCA undertaken at the Bubaare Sorghum IP points that the chain starts with seed production and distribution to small-holder IP farmers who are the main players in production and marketing. Based on the VCA, innovation opportunities exist in Uganda that can influence expansion of sorghum VC for enhanced socio economic gains of all the actors. Some of the identified opportunities among others include increasing farm level production through enacting supportive policy and providing support to KAZARDI and other NARS in seed production and distribution, introduction of small scale sorghum processing, and increasing their capacity as well as that of the existing processing entities.