Diversity of sorghum in farmers’ fields in Northern and Eastern Uganda
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Crop genetic diversity is one of the key resources available to humanity for effective response to challenges associated with climate change and the ever-growing world population. Sorghum is a marginal environment crop with needs for constant breeding to respond to the changes in this fragile environment. A large pool of genetic diversity is very critical for its improvement. However, like most crops, the levels of genetic diversity (especially on-farm) in developing countries such as Uganda largely remain unknown. Loss of sorghum diversity has been reported by many authors and this limits the ability of farmers to cope up with climate change and ever growing world population. Past studies on sorghum diversity in Uganda have been carried out at regional/ecological level but information on sorghum diversity on farmers’ fields in major sorghum growing areas is lacking. There is therefore urgent need to conserve genetic diversity insitu as this allows sorghum to evolve in its natural environment and provide both farmer and breeder preferred traits. This study seeks to understand the status (amount and spatial distribution) of on-farm crop genetic diversity of sorghum in the districts of Agago, Apac (northern) and Serere (eastern) in Uganda. On-farm diversity will be determined through field surveys at different growth stages in the three districts. Phenotypic field evaluation of accessions obtained from the different districts will be done in Agago and Makerere University Agricultural Research Institute Kabanyolo in the first rain of 2016. Results from the preliminary studies indicated that Agago had most diversity (in terms of the number of varieties planted per field) followed by Apac and finally Serere. The tall late maturing sorghum types were dominant in Agago district whereas the short early maturing types were dominant in the other two districts (Apac and Serere).