To date, ASARECA has invested US$ 11.3 million to catalyse agricultural transformation in Sudan through key beneficiary projects. Through these projects 4.65 million beneficiaries were reached, 9,063 stakeholders were trained, and 1,020 ha of land were brought under improved TIMPs. The following are highlights of the projects undertaken:
Fighting Striga for improved food security
Sorghum is the second most important staple crop in Eastern and Central Africa. Prior to ASARECA’s intervention in 2008, which focused research efforts to controlling the spread of Striga, over 17,000 ha of sorghum had been infested by the weed, leading to yield losses of up to 2.3 million metric tons annually. ASARECA supported and coordinated scientists from Agricultural Research Corporation of Sudan (ARC), University of Nairobi, the National Agricultural Research Institute of Eritrea, the Rwanda Agricultural Board, and the International Centre for Agricultural Research in Arid and Semi Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) to develop striga-resistant sorghum lines. Led by ARC, the researchers used biotechnology, reputed for its precision and effectiveness in breeding. The process involved backcrossing a donor striga-resistant sorghum line N13 and three farmer preferred sorghum cultivars—Tabat, Wad Ahmed and AG-8, that were susceptible to striga. As a result, the government of Sudan in 2012 released four out of the 51 lines of striga-resistant sorghum varieties (ASARS1, ASARS2, ASARS3, and ASARS4, with yield potential of up to 3.6 tonnes per hectare). These new varieties with barriers to striga, have been widely disseminated to farmers in Sudan and are performing well. Besides, ASARECA facilitated movement of the striga resistant varieties to Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania and Rwanda where adaptability trials were carried out. The adoption of the varieties in Sudan and the entire ASARECA region is a major milestone towards restoring the productivity of sorghum and getting 300 million people in Eastern and Central Africa (ECA) out of hunger.