|Botanical Name:||Sorghum Bicolor|
Sorghum is a grass of Old World origin, a drought-resistant, heat-tolerant member of the grass family. Although wild species of sorghum are attested as early as 8000 years ago in the Nilotic regions of southern Egypt and the Sudan, the location of its true domestication within East Africa is still speculative. It is widely held that genetic separation of domesticated S. bicolor from its progenitor did not occur much before 2000 years ago somewhere in East Africa, possibly the Ethiopian highlands, but more likely further west.
Sorghum is the third largest crop to be grown in India after wheat and rice. More commonly known as jowar in the Indian sub-continent, it grows well in both summer and winter, and is thus both a rabi and khariff crop. 75% of the cultivated area is devoted to the production of sorghum. Maharashtra, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh are some of the regions where sorghum is grown on a massive scale. Sorghum is used in many different areas because of its nutritional as well as commercial value.
Some of the areas where it is used are
• As Food for Human Beings: Since sorghum contains many nutritional additives like protein, iron, calcium, etc. it is widely used as food for human consumption. It is used in the form of porridge, flour, malted & distilled beverage, etc.
• As Animal Feed: Sorghum is also used in the form of animal feed for livestock in many parts of the world. It contains almost the same nutritional content as maize, and is thus an ideal source of food for the animals. Because it also contains a high amount of tannins and phenolic acids, which can be harmful for some animals like cattle, it needs to be reprocessed to enable the sorghum grains to be digested by these cattle
• Commercial Uses: Sorghum also serves a lot of commercial uses. For e.g., the stems or fibers of the sorghum plant are used in making wall boards, solvents, bio-degradable packaging materials, fences, etc. Sorghum is also used in making ethanol, adhesives and paper.