Dual-Purpose Sorghum and Cowpeas

Lead Organization:

l'Institut d'Economie Rurale & International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics

Partner Organizations:


Community of Practice:

West Africa






Crop and animal production activities are among the major pillars of Mali’s socio-economic development. With continuous reduction in natural pastures as a result of extensive farming, crop residues are increasingly being used as animal feed in periods where other grasses are limiting. This project targets development of dual-purpose sorghum varieties with high digestibility, selection of dual-purpose cowpea varieties adapted to the region, and maximization of the sorghum-cowpea crops for human consumption and animal feed.The project outputs are expected to improve farmers’ access to dual purpose sorghum and cowpea varieties with increased nutritional value and agronomic practices that optimize grain and fodder value. By enhancing crop-livestock integration and intercropping systems’ performance, the project fits very well to CCRP’s strategic priority of Agro-Ecological Intensification and contributes to strengthening legume research in CCRP’s West Africa Community of Practice. Participation of three Malian farmer organizations in testing and validating promising options is expected to speed up farmer adoption and to maximize relevance of the project outputs to local farming communities.

Grant Aims:

  • Exploit sorghum germplasm diversity for stover and grain traits to enhance total crop value
  • Identify agronomic management options for maximizing total value of grain and stover in dual-purpose sorghum and legume production
  • Identify dual-purpose cowpea varieties for grain/fodder adapted to the sorghum-based production systems in the Sudanian zone and appropriate for dual-purpose use
  • Develop equations for rapid predictions of the chemical composition and the nutritive value of sorghum stover and cowpea fodder using NIRS techniques
  • Assess feasibility, profitability, and farmers’ preferences for intensified dual-purpose sorghum and cowpea production options in their socio-agronomic conditions

Outputs and Outcomes:

  • Sorghum varieties with increased total value and improved stover quality are developed, tested and utilized by farmers;
  • Management options for increased total value of grain and stover in dual-purpose sorghum and legume production are developed;
  • Dual-purpose cowpea varieties adapted to the Sudanian zones are developed;
  • Predictive equations for the chemical composition and the nutritive value of sorghum are developed for using NIRS techniques and utilized to more efficiently test germplasm;
  • Farmer preferred and profitable varieties and agronomic options are identified for intensified crop-livestock production.


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