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Dual-purpose Millet Varieties for Crop and Livestock Integration

Harvest More, Feed Better, Farm Smarter

Dual-purpose Varieties for Crop and Livestock Integration" refers to a specialized agricultural technology that involves the development and cultivation of specific millet and sorghum varieties designed to serve the dual purpose of providing both human food and animal fodder. These innovative cultivars are engineered to address the challenges faced in African drylands, where natural pastures and rangelands are suffering from overgrazing, soil degradation, and the effects of climate change, exacerbated by increasing livestock populations.

This technology is TAAT1 validated.


Scaling readiness: idea maturity 7/9; level of use 8/9

Cost: $$$ 204 USD

Production cost for seed, fertilizer, and labor per Ha

ROI: $$$ 31 %

increase in yield

204 USD

Per hectare for seed, fertilizer, and labor

2.5—4 tons

Sorghum grain yield per Ha

10—15 tons

Sorghum stover yield per Ha

15 %

Sugar concentration


No formal IP rights


Diminishing Productivity of Pastures and Rangelands: Natural pastures and rangelands in African drylands are experiencing reduced productivity due to overgrazing, soil degradation, and the effects of climate change.

Increasing Livestock Numbers: The growing livestock population exacerbates the demand for animal feed resources in these regions.

Unsuitable Traditional Millet and Sorghum Varieties: Traditional millet and sorghum varieties are unable to meet the dual requirements of providing both human food and high-quality animal feed due to unfavorable grain-to-stover ratios.

Digestibility and Palatability Issues: Commonly cultivated millet and sorghum lines have higher lignin content, making them less digestible, and some may contain bitter-tasting tannins.


Dual-purpose Varieties: The technology offers new "dual-purpose" millet and sorghum varieties with ideal grain-to-stover ratios, ensuring suitability for both human and animal nutrition.

Reduced Lignin and Tannin Content: These improved cultivars have lower lignin and tannin content, enhancing digestibility and palatability.

Extended Fodder Availability: The new varieties remain green through grain harvest, providing farmers with greater fodder quantity and quality, particularly during the dry season.

Crop-Livestock Integration: Enhanced fodder availability through these dual-purpose varieties allows for more intensive crop-livestock integration, leading to increased manure availability for soil fertility management.

Yield Information: The dual-purpose varieties produce about 40% of grain and 60% of stover on a dry matter basis. Sorghum lines achieve grain yields of 2.5 - 4.0 ton ha-1 and stover yield of 10 - 15 ton ha-1. For millet cultivars, productivity ranges between 2.0 and 2.5 ton ha-1 for grain, and 4.0 - 6.0 ton ha-1 for stover.

Stress Resistance: The new cultivars possess traits that help them survive dry spells and quickly resume growth when moisture returns.

Drought and Cold Tolerance: Sorghum lines tolerate both drought and cold better than other fodder crops, such as maize and Napier grass.

Energy-rich Stover: The stover of dual-purpose sorghum cultivars is sweet with a high sugar concentration of around 15%, matching the energetic value of maize. It can also be used for syrup or bioethanol production.

Greater Digestible Stover Yield: While traditional millet varieties achieve higher production of fodder on a dry matter basis, the new dual-purpose lines provide greater digestible stover yield and metabolizable energy per unit of land area.

Key points to design your business plan

For Seed Multiplier :

Producing dual-purpose varieties technology fosters sustainable agricultural practices, bolsters food security, and aids in biodiversity conservation, empowering diverse farming communities and enhancing global health and wellbeing.

To effectively multiply seeds, it's crucial to stock up on Foundation or Registered Seed, depending on your position in the seed development process. While dual-purpose millet and sorghum varieties are released for multiplication and sales under a royalty-free license, certification following national regulations is necessary.

Your potential customers include wholesale distributors of seed to retailers, cooperatives, and development projects, as well as government agencies and NGOs.

Establishing strong partnerships with wholesale distributor networks is essential for business success.


For Users : 

Utilizing this dual-purpose varieties technology enhances food security by providing both human food and high-quality animal feed, improving digestibility and taste for both humans and animals. Additionally, it fosters sustainable agriculture practices while preserving biodiversity and ecosystem health.

This technology is accessible in various countries including Burkina Faso, Chad, Ethiopia, Kenya, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Sudan, Tanzania, and Zimbabwe, with cultivation costs averaging USD 204 per hectare for seed, fertilizer, and labor.

Earnings from dual-purpose pearl millet exceed those from fodder millet by 31% and grain millet by 63%.

Partnerships with private seed companies, cooperatives, and seed growers are essential for successful implementation.

For optimal results, consider integrating this technology with proactive management of Striga infestation, fertilizer micro-dosing for enhanced yield and efficiency, and motorized crop residue processing of animal feed.


Positive or neutral impact

Adults 18 and over
Positive high
The poor
Positive high
Under 18
Positive high
Positive high

Positive or neutral impact

Climate adaptability
It adapts really well
Adaptability for farmers
It helps a lot
It helps them grow and thrive
Carbon footprint
It doesn't reduce emissions at all
It makes a big difference
Soil quality
It makes the soil healthier and more fertile
Water usage
It uses a little less water

Countries with a green colour
Tested & adopted
Countries with a bright green colour
Countries with a yellow colour
Egypt Equatorial Guinea Ethiopia Algeria Angola Benin Botswana Burundi Burkina Faso Democratic Republic of the Congo Djibouti Côte d’Ivoire Eritrea Gabon Gambia Ghana Guinea Guinea-Bissau Cameroon Kenya Libya Liberia Madagascar Mali Malawi Morocco Mauritania Mozambique Namibia Niger Nigeria Republic of the Congo Rwanda Zambia Senegal Sierra Leone Zimbabwe Somalia South Sudan Sudan South Africa Eswatini Tanzania Togo Tunisia Chad Uganda Western Sahara Central African Republic Lesotho
Countries where the technology has been tested and adopted
Country Tested Adopted
Burkina Faso Tested Adopted
Chad Tested Adopted
Ethiopia Tested Adopted
Kenya Tested Adopted
Mali Tested Adopted
Niger Tested Adopted
Nigeria Tested Adopted
Senegal Tested Adopted
Sudan Tested Adopted
Tanzania Tested Adopted
Zimbabwe Tested Adopted

This technology can be used in the colored agro-ecological zones. Any zones shown in white are not suitable for this technology.

Agro-ecological zones where this technology can be used
AEZ Subtropic - warm Subtropic - cool Tropic - warm Tropic - cool

Source: HarvestChoice/IFPRI 2009

The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals that are applicable to this technology.

Sustainable Development Goal 1: no poverty
Goal 1: no poverty
Sustainable Development Goal 2: zero hunger
Goal 2: zero hunger
Sustainable Development Goal 3: good health and well-being
Goal 3: good health and well-being
Sustainable Development Goal 7: affordable and clean energy
Goal 7: affordable and clean energy
Sustainable Development Goal 9: industry, innovation and infrastructure
Goal 9: industry, innovation and infrastructure
Sustainable Development Goal 13: climate action
Goal 13: climate action
Sustainable Development Goal 15: life on land
Goal 15: life on land

For effectively utilization of dual-purpose millet and sorghum varieties for integrated crop and livestock farming, it require to:

  1. Develop dual-purpose millet and sorghum varieties using conventional techniques such as crossing and hybridization. Subject these varieties to rigorous field testing before releasing them to farmers.
  2. Prepare the land for cultivation. Follow generally prescribed practices for seed rate, plant spacing, and fertilizer application based on local growing areas and seasons.
  3. Wilt sorghum stover for at least 12 hours before feeding it to animals to break down hydrogen cyanides, which can be toxic. Ensure proper handling to prevent poisoning.
  4. Chop green or dry sorghum stover into pieces of approximately 2 cm when using it as fodder for cows, pigs, and goats. Shred it into smaller pieces of less than 0.5 cm for poultry.
  5. Millet and sorghum stover can be used for silage in pits or under plastic. During silage preparation, fermentation releases extra sugar and breaks down anti-nutrients.
  6. Avoid adding molasses to sorghum silage due to its already high sugar content.
  7. Utilize fodder from sorghum, either as green chop or silage.
  8. It can replace maize at equal amounts for all types of livestock.
  9. Sorghum fodder provides up to 67% of required roughage and up to 20% of the total diet for livestock.

Last updated on 23 May 2024