Farmer Assessment, Conservation and Utilization of Endangered Sorghum Landraces in the Upper West Region of Ghana

  • SSJ Buah
  • AB Huudu
  • BDK Ahiabor
  • S Yakubu
  • M Abu-Juam

Abstract

Grain sorghum (Sorghum bicolor (L.) Moench) is an important staple food crop in the savanna zone of Ghana. Surveys to determine farmers’ perception, crop management strategies and variety maintenance of neglected sorghum landraces were conducted in the Upper West Region of Ghana in 2004. Fifty-nine samples of the neglected landraces were collected from farmers and screened in an observation nursery in 2005 and 2006. Local landraces cultivated by subsistence farmers were 3–4.5 m tall and required 90–180 days to mature. Farmers classified them into three maturity groups: early medium and late-maturing varieties. Early maturing landraces were found in drier northwestern areas of the region and took about 90–115 days to mature. The intermediate ones matured in about 120–135 days. The late maturing landraces were found in the wetter south and are typically more than 4 m tall, requiring 140–180 days to mature. Most of the neglected sorghum landraces are either late maturing, have low yield potential, or are no longer adapted to the climatic and environmental conditions of the Region. The study showed a possible duplication among the landraces collected. Farmer preference criteria for local sorghum are based largely on food quality (overall ability to give good tuo), stable grain yield, brewing quality, earliness, grain quality and drought tolerance. Further improvement of sorghum must take these selection criteria and differences into account. It is clear that indigenous sorghum genetic material is being eroded and, therefore, measures must be taken to conserve existing landraces.
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