Dual-Purpose Sorghum and Cowpeas Phase III

Lead Organization:

Institute of Rural Economy (IER)

Partner Organizations:

International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) (Mali) through its Sorghum Breeding Program; National Sorghum Research Program/IER; farmers' organizations including ULPC, EUCORD, USCPMD, and Cooperative of Kenioroba; and extension agencies

At Koutiala site: agricultural sector extension agency

In Koulikoro region (Beleco and Dioila): USC PCD and ULPC

At Kita site: Cooperative of Sorghum Producers of Kenioroba

Community of Practice:

West Africa






Overreliance on “modern” agricultural practices has led to the loss not only of agrobiodiversity but also agricultural and related culinary knowledge as well as to environmental degradation. For instance, the Green Revolution’s agricultural model strongly disrupted the resilience of local communities. This mainly relates to cotton in the project’s target regions. With heavy insecticide use on industrial cotton, women can no longer plant between rows the traditional leafy vegetables they use to prepare the sauce that accompanies meals (Lagrange & Gubbels, 2019). The systematic promotion of cash crops and related synthetic inputs compromise food self-sufficiency and local nutrition and, thus, local diversity and resilience.

Natural pastures are being reduced because of extensive farming and climate change. Sorghum and legumes residues are increasingly being used as livestock feed. High sorghum biomass yields and nutritional quality are attainable, but the combination of sorghum stover and availability of diverse legumes haulms are serious limitations. Biofortified varieties and the intercropping system with 2:2 rows of sorghum and cowpea were disseminated to improve cereals-legumes systems in livestock feeding. New parents and biofortified hybrids with high yield (grain and fodder) were developed. Six dual-purpose hybrids were registered in the national seed catalog. Four sorghum recipes were developed to improve the nutrition of vulnerable groups. Two compost types were set up to reduce chemical fertilizer input and improve soil fertility, and several biopesticides are being co-evaluated. Two rations of dual-purpose sorghum and cowpea feeds were developed.

Weaknesses observed during Phase II include long-term grain conservation of sorghum varieties; low adoption of the intercropping system because of low grain yield and more treatment for cowpea; more diversification needed to cope with climate change and improve nutrition; agronomic practices (sowing date, seeding density) to improve farmer resilience to climate change under considered, and the fattening feed options developed not disseminated for better crop-livestock integration.

Grant Aims:

The overall goal is the participatory evaluation of new sorghum and legumes genotypes that consider farmers’ specific needs and the co-development of new dual-purpose sorghum genotypes. 

Specifically, the project aims to:

  • Implement AEI options to strengthen farmers’ resilience to climate change.
  • Use local fertilization resources and landscape management for pest control by context.
  • Disseminate feed options, with new options taking into account other legumes. 
  • Train three young scientists. 
  • Strengthen the capacity of key stakeholders on new AE technologies.

Outputs and Outcomes:


  • Six genotypes of sorghum and legumes with high yield potential (grain and straw) that meet farmers’ aspirations identified and adopted
  • Two to three sorghum genotypes, co-developed with farmers, combining grain yield and good stover quality identified and proposed for registration in collaboration with Networking4Seeds project 
  • Six culinary demonstration tests conducted with health centers and schools (with canteens), increasing consumption of foods with high nutritional value based on developed varieties of sorghum and legumes 
  • Three training sessions (one in each region) realized for vulnerable households on biofortified food processing techniques for self-consumption of fortified sorghum variety products to increase demand for foods with high nutritional value 
  • Two integrated crop and soil fertility management practices based on alley cropping; association implemented by farmers’ organization in different area contexts
  • Soil fertility improved through use of organic manure 
  • Livestock feed options developed and disseminated in different project sites 
  • New livestock feed products combining sorghum and legumes crop residue developed
  • Producer perceptions and advantages of developed technologies identified and documented
  • At least three young, MSc-level scientists with two farmers’ organizations trained on AEI options, nutrient cycle, and trade-off analysis, etc.


  • Adoption of micronutrient-dense dual-purpose sorghum and legumes genotypes, increasing farmers’ income and improving nutrition status
  • Agronomic options increasing dual-purpose sorghum and cowpea yields and improving resilience to climate change; use of biopesticides reducing external chemical inputs and increasing profitability and environmental safety
  • Use of organic manure improving soil fertility parameters
  • Animal nutrition, especially the plough oxen’s, improved through increased use of dual-purpose sorghum stover and legumes haulm, contributing to increased organic manure use by farming communities