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What is the profile of micronutrient-rich sorghum cultivar: ICSR 14001 (Parbhani Shakti)?

Sorghum is an important food crop for over 500,000 people in Semi-Arid regions of sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia which harbor the largest number of malnourished people globally. In Asia, predominantly the low-income group populations in India depend on sorghum for their daily calorie intake and meet more than 50% of their requirement for micronutrients from sorghum-based diets. However, the concentration of micronutrients like iron (Fe) and zinc (Zn) in popular sorghum varieties is low (30 ppm Fe and 20 ppm Zn). Therefore, any efforts to increase the grain Fe and Zn contents in sorghum would significantly improve its nutritional value and complement well the ongoing efforts to address micronutrient malnutrition.

The International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) standardized phenotyping methods and assessed over 3,500 germplasm lines, improved breeding lines and hybrid parents in sorghum for their grain Fe and Zn contents, and identified promising lines for use in breeding programs. One of the selected lines from this effort was sorghum restorer line ICSR 14001.

Throughout field performance on-station tests, state multilocation trials in Maharashtra and the All India Coordinated Sorghum Improvement Project (AICSIP), the newly developed sorghum variety Parbhani Shakti consistently produced higher grain yield (up to 3.5 t/ ha). In addition, it also showed higher grain Fe concentration of up to 45 ppm and zinc up to 32 ppm when compared to the baseline of 30 ppm Fe and 20 ppm Zn in sorghum, far superior to the popular cultivars used as checks in these trials.

What are the characteristics of this innovative cultivar?

The cultivar “Parbhani Shakti” was a selection from grain sorghum Caudatum landrace accession (IS 26962) that originated in India. The landrace (IS 26962) has thick panicles, cream-colored small sized grains (100 seed weight less than 3 g) with slight glume coverage on the grains. To match the farmers and market preference, loose and branched panicle bearing a greater number of seeds, white-colored grains that are medium to large in size (100 seed weight more than 3 g) without any glume coverage were selected. The selected lines exhibited agronomic desirability and better grain mold resistance. The best among them was ICSR 14001, which has a high protein content of 12% and a low phytate content (4.14%). The variety Parbhani Shakti, although released as a rainy season variety (Kharif season), can also be grown in post-rainy (Rabi season) and summer seasons. The yield levels are higher (>5.0 t/ha) in post-rainy and summer seasons with appropriate irrigation where it can tolerate higher temperatures (41°C) at flowering and seed setting, although with delay in flowering by up to 80 days.

Results achieved through this innovation

Breeding pipelines were developed to match product-profile attributes and the lines showing agronomic desirability, higher nutrient concentration and better grain mold resistance were further advanced based on multi-environment testing data. The resulting cultivar was released as ‘Parbhani Shakti’ in 2018 by Vasantrao Naik Marathwada Krishi Vidyapeeth, Parbhani, Maharashtra in India. Considering large demand for its seed, 50 tons of seeds were produced in 2018 and 40 tons each in 2019 and 2020 and supplied to farmers. Some progressive farmers were trained in its seed production and encouraged to widely share the seeds widely for sustainable seed chain.

Partners and funders of this Innovation

This innovation was a result of partnership between ICRISAT, Vasantrao Naik Marathwada Krishi Vidyapeeth, India, CRP Grain Legumes and Dryland Cereals (GLDC), All India Coordinated Sorghum Improvement Project (AICSIP) and the HarvestPlus Sorghum Biofortification Project.

Next steps to scale this Innovation

This sorghum cultivar has been taken up by users as a Stage 4 and Maturity Level 3 innovation, i.e., policy and/or practice changes influenced by these new methods have led to adoption or impacts at scale or beyond the direct CGIAR sphere of influence. While this biofortified sorghum variety ‘Parbhani Shakti’ developed in India is performing well in multi-location trials, National Variety Testing trials in Sudan have been very successful and is headed towards its release.

Author: Ramya Kulkarni (CRP-GLDC MEL Team).

Collaborating Partner(s): Vasantrao Naik Marathwada Krishi Vidyapeeth (VNMKV), All India Coordinated Sorghum Improvement Project (AICRP) under ICAR –Indian Institute of Millets Research (IIMR).


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