Sorghum is one of the most important cereal crops widely grown for food, feed, fodder/forage, and fuel in the semi-arid tropics of Asia, Africa, the Americas and Australia. The global sorghum areas remained static as the increased area in Africa compensated the area loss in Asia. In spite of rapid decline in sorghum area in Asia due to competition from other remunerative crops, sorghum grain production levels have not declined at the same rate owing to adoption of high yielding hybrids. Though impressive gains have been made in improving productivity levels, biotic and abiotic challenges such as shoot fly, stem borer, grain molds, and terminal drought stress continue to haunt the sorghum growers across the world. International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) and the respective national programs are working on genetic enhancement of sorghum for high yield; shoot fly, and grain mold resistance, and sweet stalk traits. In addition, research focus at ICRISAT also includes adaptation to post-rainy season, terminal drought tolerance, and increasing micronutrient contents (Fe and Zn) in grain. Genetic and cytoplasmic diversification of hybrid parents and varieties for key traits are critical for sustaining the productivity gains. The grain and stover quality requirements of different market segments needs special attention in sorghum improvement research to enhance its market value. This paper analyses the progress made in sorghum improvement research at ICRISAT in partnership with national programs in recent years and the way forward.
Ashok Kumar, A.; Reddy, B.V.S.; Sharma, H.C.; Hash, C.T.; Srinivasa Rao, P.; Ramaiah, B.; Sanjana Reddy, P. Recent Advances in Sorghum Genetic Enhancement Research at ICRISAT. American Journal of Plant Sciences (2011) 02 (04) 589-600. [DOI: 10.4236/ajps.2011.24070]