As the world’s fifth major cereal, sorghum serves as a staple crop for millions of people in the harshest of agroclimates while also offering countless opportunities in the area of bio-fuels, food product development and livestock nutrition. In a world of growing populations and mounting climate change, sorghum plays a key role both in food security and economies around the globe.
In the past decade, major changes have impacted the global sorghum economy: the sorghum genome has been mapped, high-throughput phenotyping has emerged as a priority research topic, and usage continues to evolve for the demand for sorghum as a feedstuff, energy source, and human food. Many of these developments are fueled by a new interest from high-income countries in alternative food and energy sources, as well as the continued caloric importance for the world’s poor in the face of exploding human populations and climate change. At the same time, trade patterns have shifted, pest pressures have evolved and new dryland production records have occurred.
The role of sorghum in the future global agricultural economy will remain strong as new opportunities for utilization compound upon existing utilization patterns and as heat and moisture stress affect the comparative advantage of competing crops. Yet, despite current demand and future prospects for sorghum, a global convening around the crop has not occurred in decades.
We believe that it is time for the world’s sorghum community to come together around research, industry and opportunity. The need for cross-border collaboration and exploration of cutting-edge technologies and developments has never been greater. “Sorghum in the 21st Century” will concentrate on all of this and will contribute to the identification of global priorities to drive the future of sorghum science.
We hope you will join us in Cape Town on April 9-12, 2018 to be a part of this conversation and help shape the next generation of sorghum science and development!
Timothy J. Dalton
Director, Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Collaborative Research on Sorghum and Millet