For bone health

Calcium absorption, critical for bone health, is increased by magnesium. Compared to rice and wheat, sorghum contains higher levels of magnesium1.

To defer age-onset degenerative diseases

Sorghum is abundant in phenolic compounds and antioxidants2. Therefore, it has the potential for protection against age-onset degenerative diseases3.

To keep diabetes at bay

Sorghum has high resistant starch, which, in turn contributes to a low glycemic index and helps slow the absorption of carbohydrates, preventing extreme blood glucose fluctuations5, benefitting people with diabetes and obesity4.


  1. Kumar A, Metwal M, Kaur S, Gupta AK, Puranik S, Singh S, Singh M, Gupta S, Babu BK, Sood S and Yadav R. 2016. Nutraceutical value of finger millet (Eleusine coracana (L.) Gaertn.), and their improvement using omics approaches. Frontiers in plant science. 7:934. doi: 10.3389/fpls.2016.00934
  2. Awika JM, Rooney LW and Waniska RD. 2004. Anthocyanin from black sorghum and their antioxidant properties. Food Chem., 90:293-301
  3. Monnier VM. 1990. Nonenzymatic glycosylation, the Maillard reaction and the aging process. J Gerontol 45:105-11.
  4. Shen RL, Zhanga WL, Donga JL, Renb GX & Chena M. 2014. Sorghum resistant starch reduces adiposity in high-fat diet-induced overweight and obese rats via mechanisms involving
  5. Longvah T, Ananthan R, Bhaskarachary K and Venkaiah K. 2017. Indian food composition table, National Institute of Nutrition. 1-578.

Uses of Sorghum




Close up Sorghum field in sun light

Sorghum as Fodder/Feed

Some varieties of sorghum are dual purpose and are grown for both grain and forage. Sorghum grain are used as poultry diet whereas forage sorghum is used for livestock.

A sorghum hybrid variety CSH 24 MF developed by GB Pant university of Agriculture and Technology (GBPUA&T), India using ICRISAT-bred ICSA 467 as the female parent was recently given special recognition as the outstanding Forage Hybrid 2019 for revolutionizing forage sorghum production in India.

In 2015, under Sorghum for Multiple Uses (SMU) project funded by European Commission and IFAD and implemented by ICRISAT and other partners, tested the use of sorghum flour in Fish Feed. Benson Kyalo Mwengi, a mixed crop livestock farmer from Kiboko, Kenya tested sorghum grain as fish feed raw material for the catfish and tilapia that he rears on his farm. Substituting maize and rice bran in fish feed with locally grown sorghum has brought down the cost of the feed.

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Sorghum in Brewing

Sorghum is used for brewing gluten-free beer.In some countries, especially in Africa, breweries are using a lot of sorghum as it is an excellent alternative to malt.

Important criteria for selecting sorghum varieties for brewing include:

–          malting quality (this include germination rate, fermentation, and some other properties); and

–          absence of glume and other decolourants. (These criteria differs for stout (Guinness)).

There are different methods of brewing sorghum beer by different communities in Africa and are indigenous to the community. Some of these brews are commercialized whereas, a few of these brews still remain as a home-brew for cultural ceremonies. Here are some popular varies of sorghum beer from different regions of Africa

Red Kapsiki or te An opaque Sorghum beer brewed by the Kapsiki people of Northern Cameroon. Traditionally used for ritual purposes, this brew became a sales commodity because of its popularity.
Umqombothi A South African beer made using maize malt and sorghum malt and consumed during weddings and other traditional gatherings
Ikigage A homemade Rwandan sorghum beer.
Merissa Also known as Merisa or Marissa, is a beer made from brewing dates, millets and sorghum consumed in Sudan
Dolo Dolo is a commonly consumed beer in Burkina Faso manufactured from malted sorghum grains
Pito It’s a millet or sorghum beer prepared and consumed in Northern Ghana and parts of Nigeria
Amgba It’s a traditional maize and sorghum based beer consumed in Cameroon.
Tchoukoutou Tchouk for short, is a West African sorghum beer. It is consumed at a lukewarm temperature during traditional gatherings

*Refer Smart Food Glossary for more local names for sorghum-based beverages

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East and South Africa

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Sorghum for Biofuel
A variety of sorghum called Sweet Sorghum is a multipurpose crop and accumulates sugary juice in its stalk. This variety can be used both as livestock feed and as an alternate feedstock for bio-ethanol production. While sweet sorghum for  ethanol is commercialised in Brazil and China, ICRISAT and partners have developed a project, Commercialisation of sweet sorghum as a complimentary feedstock for ethanol production in the sugar mills of Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu and Gujarat to mainstream sweet sorghum as a feedstock for ethanol production in India.

Nutritional Value

Protein (g)

Fibre (g)

Calcium (mg)

Potassium (mg)

Sorghum Vs. Maize

  • Sorghum
  • Maize

What is your daily recommended fibre intake?

  • 2-5-year-olds: about 15g
  • 5-11-year-olds: about 20g
  • 11-16-year-olds: about 25g
  • 16-18-year-olds: about 30g