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Monday, December 4, 2023

Sorghum: An underrated crop with sustainability potential

Sorghum, an ancient cereal grain that thrives in arid conditions, has long been overshadowed by higher-profile crops. Yet this hardy plant may hold unique promise for boosting climate resilience and food security.

According to Nate Blum, head of the non-profit Sorghum United, sorghum can play a pivotal role in developing a sustainable future thanks to people power, innovation, and targeted support.

Harnessing Technology to Unlock Sorghum’s Potential

Emerging technologies are creating new opportunities to maximise sorghum’s yields and efficiency while reducing environmental strain. As Blum explains, “Advanced sensing, data analytics, and precision agriculture tools allow farmers to optimise growing methods and input usage in sorghum production.” Technologies like gene editing also enable the development of improved sorghum hybrids able to better withstand climate fluctuations.

Funding Fuels Innovation in Sorghum Sustainability

Access to funding provides essential fuel for transforming potential into impact. “Securing investments and grants enables us to advance R&D, pilot sustainability solutions, and scale what works,” Blum states.

Organisations like Sorghum United administer funding programmes focused specifically on supporting agricultural eco-innovation projects related to sorghum. This financing model catalyses the development of technologies that drive sustainability.

Training Sorghum Eco-Entrepreneurs

Realising sustainability goals requires equipping people with know-how. As Blum explains, “Education and training arm the next generation with the skills to implement regenerative practices and make sustainability profitable.”

Programmes tailored to sorghum offer hands-on learning in areas like water conservation, carbon farming, and agroforestry integrated with grain production. Knowledge-sharing networks also empower farmers to adopt sustainable techniques.

Policy Reform to Spur Sorghum Sustainability

Policy shifts create an environment to accelerate progress through incentives. “Smart policies that reward sustainable farming, fund research, and streamline regulation could unlock sorghum’s full potential,” says Blum. Sorghum United advocates for policies that remove barriers to sustainability in sorghum farming while supporting farmers in the transition.

While sorghum’s climate resilience does not automatically equal sustainability, Blum argues the undervalued grain holds unique promise with the right mix of innovation, investment, education, and policy reform. Sorghum may yet play a leading role in feeding the world sustainably.

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