Harnessing genetic and genomic resources to transform the production and productivity of sorghum Tesfaye T. Tesso, Dereje D. Gobena, Dechassa O. Duressa, Kraig Roozeboom and Krishna Jagadish, Kansas State University, USA; Ramasamy Perumal, Agricultural Research Center – Hays, USA; and Desalegn D. Serba and Dilooshi Weerasooriya, Kansas State University, USA

1 Introduction

2 Sorghum as a vital food grain of the twenty-first century

3 Major impediments to improved yield in sorghum

4 Deploying science to enhance sorghum productivity

5 Bridging the gap to improve yield potential

6 Conclusion and future trends

7 References

According to United Nations’ projections, the world’s population is expected to reach 9.7 billion by 2050, from the current estimate of about ~7.3 billion. The majority of the anticipated increase is expected to happen in developing countries, with African countries taking the lion’s share, adding 1.3 billion more people. According to these estimates, the population in Africa by the mid-twenty-first century will be at least twice its current size of about 1.2 billion. The majority of the people that are chronically food insecure at present live in developing countries, with one in four people in Africa being food insecure (FAO, 2015). Even if the millennium development goal of reducing hunger by half by 2015 had been met, that still would have left about 600 000 people in chronic hunger. At the current rate of growth in agricultural production and productivity, African and other developing countries will see the numbers of their hungry population double by 2050. This is a formidable challenge, not only to the developing nations that will bear the brunt of the hunger, but also to the entire world.