Sweet sorghum

May 24, 2024

Sweet sorghum is a hardy, nutritious, biofuel crop that offers solutions in drought-hit southern Africa because of El-Nino phenomenon.

About Sweet sorghum:

  • It is the most important millet crop occupying largest area among the cereals next to rice.
  • One of the key characteristics of sweet sorghum varieties is their drought resistance. It allows them to enter a dormant state during extended periods of dryness and resume growth afterwards.
  • Required climatic conditions and
    • The crop does not prefer high rainfall as high soil moisture or continuous heavy rain after flowering may hamper sugar increase.
    • All soils that have medium depth with good drainage are suited.
    • Depending on the soil (red, black, laterite and loamy) and its depth water requirement may vary which in turn decide the suitability of the crop.
  • Unique features of Sorghum
    • It has ability to withstand low water and nitrogen inputs, as well as its tolerance for salinity and drought stress, makes it an ideal crop for farmers in arid regions.
    • Research has shown that, under intense water scarcity conditions, sweet sorghum makes use of its stalk juice to supplement its plant needs.
  • It is used in food industry and its stalk is used for the production of value-added products like ethanol, syrup and jaggery and bioenriched bagasse as a fodder and as a base material for cogeneration.
  • It can produce grains, animal feed and sugary juice, making it unique among crops.
  • The grains from sweet sorghum are prepared as steamed bread or porridge malt for traditional beer, as well as in commercial beer production across the continent.