The Madagascar sorghum team is wrapping its first field adaptation test plot harvest at 12 locations in six key regions across Madagascar. The harvest is the culmination of the first round of field adaptation tests of 16 varieties of open-pollinated sorghum seeds from our Pan-Africa partners in Ethiopia and West Africa.

Climate-Adapted Cropping Systems project celebrates first harvest

The Madagascar sorghum team is wrapping the climate-adapted cropping systems project's first field adaptation test plot harvest at 12 locations in six key regions across Madagascar. This project focuses on providing smallholders with more climate-adapted cropping systems in the face of climate change.

The harvest is the culmination of the first round of field adaptation tests of 16 varieties of open-pollinated sorghum seeds from our Pan-Africa partners in Ethiopia and West Africa, managed by our national partner FOFIFA in multiple agro-ecological zones in Madagascar.

These field adaptation tests are part of the Climate-Adapted Cropping Systems & Value Chains Development / Sorghum, Pearl Millet & Groundnut project, a USAID-funded project led by the Global Collaboration on Sorghum and Millet in partnership with the Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Peanut at the University of Georgia. Key objectives are increasing production, developing markets, increasing household-level nutritional benefits, and accelerating regional/national sorghum value chain platform development.

Through our more than 10 years of consistent work in other parts of Africa, our Pan-Africa partner network has enabled immediate access to 68 sorghum varieties gathered from the Pan-African sorghum plant breeding network. The ability to garner nationally registered seed from other African countries with similar growing environments has jump-started the project. 

In Madagascar, FOFIFA strategically identified the initial adaptation test plots for the climate-adapted cropping systems project after an extensive field survey and previous understanding of the sorghum value chain.   

To facilitate the project, Dr. Alemu Tirfessa, who leads the sorghum research program under the Ethiopian Institute of Agricultural Research (EIAR), continues to be engaged to support the FOFIFA national sorghum team as they safeguard existing sorghum biodiversity, introduce other breeding materials from our Pan-African network, test improved varieties for adaptation and develop long-term breeding goals in Madagascar.   

Dr. Tirfessa returned to Madagascar to monitor adaptation studies, capture data, harvest and plan for the next phase.

With promising results of two to three broadly adapted improved sorghum lines, the project has started seed registration processes and multiplication to prepare for seed scaling with 1,000 smallholders and their respective farmer associations.

“Better household nutrition through better access to improved seed for smallholder producers, their families and communities continues to be our focus,” said Nat Bascom, director of engagement and leadership for GCSM.

“Here at the GCSM at Kansas State University, we want to leverage and bring to bear quickly improved sorghum varieties and other technologies developed in other parts of Africa due to the ten years plus of consistent USAID funding to the Pan-Africa breeding programs that Kansas State University has helped coordinate,” Bascom said. 

GCSM remains committed to its mission of enhancing household nutrition and socio-economic benefits. It will continue to leverage global expertise and resources, particularly from our Pan-African partner network.