Rain-fed agriculture is the main economic activity for smallholder farmers living in the semi-arid regions of eastern and north- eastern Uganda. Sorghum is the dominant cereal because of its drought tolerance. Sorghum farmers are suffering from low yields caused by soil infertility, pest and disease damage, Striga infestation, and use of unimproved, poor-yielding varieties due to limited access to quality seeds of improved varieties. The proposed intervention is about taking action to sustainably increase sorghum yields, stability, and resilience to deal with extreme hunger, poverty and malnutrition in the eastern and north eastern regions.The project team works work with farmers on sorghum and legume interventions that can address food and nutritional security challenges faced by smallholder farming communities in lower rainfall regions where the poverty index is extremely high. These farmers’ livelihoods directly depend on harvestable crop yields. Survey data has revealed a large yield gap (>70%) between farmers’ current yields and the potential yields. Based on baseline survey results and observations, the team has found that yield gaps are caused by a number of factors, including limited access to quality seed, soil infertility, drought, head smuts, insect pests (stem borers) and Striga infestation in monocultures.
To improve access by smallholder farmers to new high yielding multi-stress tolerant sorghum varieties;To improve sorghum production through appropriate integrated soil and Striga management in a sorghum-legume cropping system;To breed for resistance to sorghum head smut and stem borer; andTo develop the capacity of farmers, post-graduate students and other stakeholders for better performance of the sorghum value chain in Uganda.
Outputs and Outcomes:
Outputs A large number of farmers will access the new, high-yielding sorghum varieties through a revolving seed scheme in a farmer research network;Farmer will developed and implement better sustainable land-use practice(s) and improved soil and crop management options that enhance sorghum-legume productivity;Sorghum lines resistant to smut and tolerant to stem borer will be developed and utilized to reduce yield losses; andCapacity of farmers, postgraduate scientists and other stakeholders on sorghum production system will be enhanced.OutcomesNew, high-yielding sorghum varieties are used by farmers to improve productivity and hence improve food security, nutrition and income from sale of surplus sorghum; Improved soil fertility in sorghum-based systems coupled with enhanced smallholder household food and nutrition security with increased incomes resulting from sale of the surplus sorghum and legumesReduced yield losses caused by smuts and stem borers, leading to increased sorghum yields. Use of resistance varieties will minimize pesticide use, thereby reducing environmental degradation and health risks.Increased number of scientists in sorghum research supporting enhanced sorghum productivity and strengthened sorghum value chain.