Sorghum Production

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SORGHUM (Surghum bicolor


                        Agriculture Nigeria: sorghum



Sorghum is a genus of numerous species of grasses; the plants are cultivated in warmer climates worldwide. Species are native to tropical and subtropical regions of all continents especially the steppes and savannah Africa with its origin in northern Africa. It has about 30 species of which Sorghum bicolor is the most widely grown because of its intrinsic properties.[i]

Sorghum bicolor is an important food crop in Africa, Central America, and South Asia and is the fifth most important cereal crop grown in the world as well as the most important cereal food in the Northern states of Nigeria that covers the guinea savannah ecological zone (FAO, 2004).[ii]


Sorghum is grown on about 5.6 million ha in Nigeria and the current annual production is estimated to be only about 2.8 million tonnes. It has multifarious usages which spans across the production of malt, beer, beer powder, sorghum meal, sorghum rice, and livestock feed among others. The whole grain may be ground into flour which is then used in various traditional foods.[iii]

Agriculture Nigeria: domestic supply of sorghum



Sorghum requires a well tilled and prepared seed bed with a planting population of 3.0 to 7.0kg seed per hectare. Planting time usually varies from September to January, depending on the prevailing ecological conditions.NPK fertilizer are normally applied and provisions are made for irrigation and weeding.[iv]



The crop is affected by different kind of diseases and pests (Maize Stem Borers, Chillo Borer, Bollworm, Shoot Fly, Fungi, Virus and Bacteria) which drastically affects the yield. Weeds can be managed by the use of herbicides like Atrazine.


Nigeria is the largest sorghum producer in West Africa, accounting for about 71% of the total regional sorghum output. Nigeria’s sorghum production also accounted for 35% of the African production in 2007. The country is the third largest world producer after the United States and India. However, 90% of sorghum produced by United States and India is destined for animal feed, making Nigeria the world leading country for food grain sorghum production.[v]

Agriculture Nigeria: sorghum production



A geographical analysis of Nigeria’s sorghum production and utilization gives us a general overview of the opportunities inherent in its value chain. It is observed that the major producers are in the northern region leaving a major deficit in the southern regions.

Agriculture Nigeria: sorghum production market


An assessment into the production, import and export of sorghum in Nigeria revealed that in 2010, 13,0000 tonnes of the grain were imported into the country with only 45 tonnes being exported. This clearly identifies a massive opportunity for investment. The yield has also been projected to increase exponentially with the use of adequate technology combined with improved and hybrid varieties.[vi]


Agriculture Nigeria: sorghum import


Agriculture Nigeria: sorghum production cost/hectar




[1]FAO, (2004): United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization. Retrieved from (

[1]1Mohammed, B. T., et al (2011), farmers resource use efficiency in sorghum production in Nigeria.

[1]ARC-Grain Crops InstitutePrivate Bag X1251, Potchefstroom 2520

[1]UN. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) (2012).Trade data base, Production data base







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