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Millet and Sorghum Varieties for Better Nutrition and Stress Resistance

Strong Crops, Healthy People

The "Millet and Sorghum Varieties for Better Nutrition and Stress Resistance" technology is a range of improved millet and sorghum varieties that are a game-changer for agriculture in Africa. These varieties are highly nutritious, resilient in the face of drought, heat, and pests, and specifically bio-fortified with elevated iron and zinc levels. With an accelerated maturation process, these crops are a reliable risk management strategy for farmers facing challenging climate conditions.


This technology is TAAT1 validated.


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

Cost: $$$

14 - 18 USD

Seed for one hectare of land for sorghum

8 - 12 USD

Seed for one hectare of land for pearl millet

35 - 45 USD/Ha

A ton of animal manure cost

120 - 150 USD/Ha

Inorganic fertilizer cost


  • Low Crop Yields and Food Insecurity: Millet and sorghum yields in Africa are below their potential, leading to food insecurity and malnutrition in communities that depend on these crops.

  • Limited Climate Resilience: The crops are susceptible to drought, heat, and pests, making them vulnerable to changing climate conditions.

  • Lack of Nutrient-Dense Varieties: Traditional varieties of millet and sorghum may not provide sufficient nutritional value, particularly in terms of iron and zinc content.

  • Inadequate Access to Improved Varieties: New, high-yielding, climate-resilient, and nutrient-dense varieties are not widely available to farmers in many African regions.


  • Improved Varieties: The technology involves the development of new millet and sorghum varieties that are high-yielding, bio-fortified (rich in iron and zinc), and resilient to drought, heat, and pests.

  • Climate Resilience: These newly developed varieties are adapted to withstand drought and high temperatures, making them a suitable risk management strategy for farmers in challenging environments.

  • Nutrient Enhancement: The improved varieties have higher levels of iron and zinc, addressing nutritional deficiencies in communities dependent on these crops.

  • Wider Availability: Collaboration with various organizations has facilitated the distribution and availability of these improved varieties to farmers across different regions, including those with low rainfall and poor soil conditions.

  • Diverse Use and Market Potential: The new varieties offer better taste and cooking characteristics, expanding their potential uses from food and fodder to brewing and biofuels. This diversification can contribute to value addition and marketing opportunities.

Key points to design your business plan

Seed Multiplier

The technology of Improved Millet and Sorghum Varieties offers a powerful solution to enhance nutrition, boost resilience, and address food security challenges. As a seed multiplier, here’s how you can contribute:

  1. Seed Stock: Acquire Foundation or Registered Seed, depending on your position in the seed development process. These high-quality seeds form the basis for multiplication.

  2. Royalty-Free Multiplication: The millet and sorghum varieties developed by ICRISAT and national systems are available royalty-free for multiplication and sales. You can multiply these seeds without the need for a license.

  3. Compliance and Certification: To produce and market certified seed, adhere to national standards and licensing requirements. Ensure quality control and traceability.

  4. Target Customers:

    • Wholesale Distributors: Supply seeds to retailers and agro-input shops.
    • Development Projects: Collaborate with projects promoting sustainable agriculture.
    • Government Agencies and NGOs: Partner with organizations working on food security and rural development.
  5. Network Building: Forge strong partnerships with wholesale distributor networks. Effective distribution channels are essential for reaching farmers.

For farmers: 

The Improved Millet and Sorghum Varieties technology brings health and prosperity to farmers across Ethiopia, Zimbabwe, Senegal, Niger, Burkina Faso, Mali, Chad, Tanzania, Sudan, Nigeria, and Kenya. These varieties combat iron and zinc deficiency sustainably. They ensure consistent nutrient supply, promoting health and wellbeing.

To use these varieties in your farm, you need to: 

  • Collaborate with sellers of these high-yielding varieties. Strengthen local seed systems.
  • Estimate costs for land preparation, planting, and maintenance.
  • Assess yield per hectare.
  • Explore local markets and buyer preferences.
  • Calculate potential profit based on market prices.

Positive or neutral impact

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

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 lot 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 2: zero hunger
Goal 2: zero hunger
Sustainable Development Goal 13: climate action
Goal 13: climate action

The procedures involved in the "Varieties for Better Nutrition and Stress Resistance" technology can be broken down into the following steps:

1. Selection and Hybridization: High-yielding, nutritious, and resilient millet and sorghum varieties are developed through the careful selection of parent plants with desired traits, followed by conventional crossing and hybridization.

2. Field Testing: The developed varieties, both open-pollinated and hybrids, undergo extensive field testing to ensure their performance under real-world conditions.

3. Formal Seed Systems: The improved varieties are multiplied and made accessible to farmers through "Formal Seed Systems," which involve stringent inspection and certification standards to maintain seed quality and consistency.

4. Recommendations: Specific recommendations for land preparation, fertilizer application, and crop management practices are formulated, taking into account soil types and climate conditions. These recommendations are crucial for achieving high yields and efficient use of nutrients and water.

5. Planting Practices: Planting practices are outlined, including the seed rate and spacing for sorghum and pearl millet, tailored to different agricultural zones.

6. Fertilizer Application: Guidelines for fertilizer application are provided, such as applying DAP during planting and CAN when the crop reaches a certain height.

7. Weed Management: Farmers are advised on weed management, which involves either physical removal or the use of pre- and post-emergence herbicides to prevent weed encroachment.

8. Integrated Striga and Soil Fertility Management: Strategies for managing Striga, a parasitic weed, and maintaining soil fertility are emphasized to maximize grain yields and resource use efficiency.

9. Water Conservation: Water conservation techniques are recommended to ensure efficient use of water resources during cultivation.

Last updated on 22 May 2024