Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Collaborative Research on Sorghum and Millet: A Decade in Review

The Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Collaborative Research on Sorghum and Millet (SMIL) is proud to unveil its 10-year comprehensive report, marking a decade of transformative advancements in sorghum and millet research. View the full report here.

Hosted by Kansas State University's College of Agriculture, SMIL's legacy traces back 34 years, including its predecessor, the INTSORMIL program. Spread across two phases between 2013 and 2023, SMIL has steadfastly pursued innovations to boost the sorghum and millet value chains in target nations.

Key Achievements:

  • Research Milestones: Over both phases, SMIL funded 16 research projects, yielding numerous technological and applied innovations in genetic enhancement, production systems management, and product development.
  • Empowering the Next Generation: SMIL has sponsored the education of 97 students, including 3 agricultural engineers, 7 Bachelor's, 44 Master's, 39 PhDs, and 4 post-doctoral studies. Four students were acknowledged with the esteemed BIFAD award for student excellence. Additionally, the initiative has facilitated over 180 short-term training sessions, benefiting nearly 14,000 individuals.
  • Global Outreach: SMIL's ambition to establish a worldwide network around sorghum and millet saw collaborations with the University of Pretoria to host the first global sorghum conference in over 25 years. The success continued with the 2nd global sorghum conference hosted in France, attracting over 450 attendees. Furthermore, initiatives like the Global Sorghum Association (GSA) and the Global Collaboration on Sorghum and Millet (GCSM) were launched, fortifying global partnerships.

Addressing Challenges

However, the journey wasn't without challenges. Due to delays in receiving the final contract from USAID, SMIL encountered funding constraints. This impacted several planned activities for FY2023, such as career-development training, regional workshops, and varietal demonstration trials, to name a few.

Ernie Minton, Eldon Gideon Dean of K-State College of Agriculture, emphasized, "We understand the importance of sustainability in sorghum production, and we intend to continue leading the charge to develop new varieties and approaches to ensure our research applies to sorghum and millet producers globally."

Reflecting on a decade of progress, challenges, and resilience, we remain hopeful and committed to fostering innovations and collaborations to secure a sustainable future for sorghum and millet. We're deeply thankful to our partners, USAID, researchers and communities for their unwavering support.

We look forward to continuing to move the needle forward and support these approaches through the Global Collaboration on Sorghum and Millet.