International Sorghum and Millet Collaborative Research Support Program (INTSORMIL CRSP)




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INTSORMIL Report No. 21, March 2011


The Sandanista Government through the Instituto Nicaraguense de Tecnologia (INTA) officially released the new improved sorghum variety, INTA Segovia on January 14, 2011. This improved variety will benefit the resource-poor farmers that grow sorghum on the hillsides (see photo) in dry zones (40 percent of the land area in Nicaragua). This variety will have a significant economic impact in Nicaragua and in neighboring countries as it produces well in drought prone areas which lack sufficient rainfall for growing maize. INTA Segovia, under drought conditions, produces higher yields than currently grown sorghum varieties. Drought tolerance is due to the large root system and the fact that leaves roll up during dry periods to reduce transpiration.

INTA Segovia as a Key to Food Security in the Nicaraguan ‘Zona Seca’

INTA Segovia is a sorgo millón (improved) Maicillo Criollo (native sorghum) photosensitive variety grown in intercropping systems with maize on small, steeply sloping farms where maize matures before the Maicillos begin to flower. Because they are drought tolerant, Maicillos are grown primarily as a food security crop where the grain is used extensively to produce tortillas. The forage and excess grain are valued as animal feed. Due to the limited availability of seed of the improved sorgo millón varieties farmers have been growing varieties that are low yielding, lack seed quality, produce weak plants that are susceptible to insects and diseases and have low drought tolerance. INTA Segovia will solve these problems.

The panicle of sorgo millón produces white grain (center photo left) that serves as a base for nutritious human food products such as tortillas, atole (thin porridge), pan (bread), turron (nougat) and as a substitute for expensive imported maize. The grain and forage are used as a feed for domestic animals (beef cattle, pigs and poultry).