Table 1: Countries in Africa with an annual sorghum production of at least one hundred thousand tonnes of sorghum37
Production (tonnes x 103)
|Nigeria||7 081 (33.8)*|
|Sudan||4 470 (21.4)|
|Ethiopia||1 538 (7.3)|
|Burkina Faso||1 372 (6.6)|
|South Africa||211 (1.0)|
*Percentage of Africa’s sorghum production
Table 2 shows that sorghum constitutes a great part of the total cereal production in the selected countries. Sudan produces the greatest amount of sorghum as compared to other cereals. With the exception of Rwanda and Cameroon, this group of countries is situated in the Sahelian region of Africa, which is prone to long periods of no rainfall. Hence, sorghum is the cereal of choice as it is tolerant to long periods of drought.
Comparison of sorghum and other staples
- Sorghum is self-pollinated and produces heads over a longer time period because tillers develop over several weeks. Consequently, it can endure drought periods and still produce seed.
- An optimum relationship between plant population and moisture supply is unimportant with respect to sorghum.
- Sorghum has long growing cycles (to make best use of infertile soils) and resistance to insects, moulds and bird pests due to the tannins which are especially bitter for pests to ingest.