Industrial Utilization of Sorghum in India
Ulrich Kleih, S Bala Ravi, B Dayakar Rao, and B Yoganand

Patterns of human consumption of sorghum are well documented. Much less is known about the industrial utilization of the crop and the market opportunities this presents for poor sorghum producers. This study documents the emerging patterns of industrial utilization and provides evidence that between 10-40% of rainy-season sorghum is used for nonfood uses. Postrainy-season sorghum utilization remains solely for food purposes as it is not price competitive as an industrial raw material.

 

The main utilization sectors are the poultry feed sector (approximately 0.5 million t per year); the dairy feed sector (approximately 0.2 million t per year); and the grain alcohol sector (approximately 0.1 million t per year). In the most important utilization sector, poultry feed, sorghum utilization is related to the price of competing cereals, particularly maize. Sorghum is used when prices are 20-30% lower than that of maize. With the demand for poultry feed estimated to be 15% per year, and with limited opportunities for increased maize production, the demand for sorghum is likely to strengthen. However, the impact of trade liberalization and particularly maize imports will have to be considered.

 

Institutional arrangements linking the key utilization industries and related public sector research have in the past been weak. Improving these linkages through public-private sector partnerships would help to further support private sector market development for a commodity produced by some of India's poorest farmers.