Sweet sorghum has great potential as an energy crop for first generation ethanol production, without the risk of compromising food security. These sorghums produce grain in addition to the sugar- rich stalks and are less demanding in water and fertility needs compared to other energy crops (sugar cane and maize). The leaves and bagasse (crushed cane) are rich sources of fodder for animals.
Sorghum production by a farmer association in collaboration with Malibiocarburant and ICRISAT in Mali.
Sweet sorghum could be one of the key crops to stave off the threats to food and energy insecurity due to climate change. A private-public partnership initiative piloted by Malibiocarburant and the International Crop Research Insitute for the Semi-Arids Tropics (ICRISAT), Malian farmers lead the way in integrating improved sweet sorghum into their traditional production system in West and Central Africa.
The partnership has initiated the development of a sweet sorghum value-chain model focusing on integrated energy production by small-scale sorghum growers and livestock holders for local markets. The first phase will see sweet sorghum used to produce grain for human consumption, as well as fodder from the sweet stems, and later even bioethanol from the extracted juice–food and energy all in one crop.
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