Understanding agro-pastoralist’s indigenous knowledge associated with sorghum seed selection, seed systems, and seed quality management will help to devise strategies for enhancing the food and feed security in crop-livestock mixed farming system. With this intention, indigenous knowledge practices of on-farm sorghum seed selection and evaluation of the seed quality were surveyed, which ultimately contributes to sorghum genetic diversity maintenance in the agro-pastoral production system. Here, semi-structured interviews, focus group discussions and sorghum field observation were used. A total of 30 agro-pastoralists were interviewed and 16 seed samples were collected from traditional storage. It was observed that six local varieties of sorghum were the dominantly maintained and cultivated by agro-pastoralists of the study area. Among local varieties ‘Elmi jama’ is the predominated area allocated for sorghum production in both districts. Agronomic performance (drought resistance, stock borer, and bird resistance) and straw yield were highlighted as important criteria for making decisions to select sorghum to be used for seed selection and maintenance. Over 90% of the informants grow a local variety of sorghum by mixing early and late maturing varieties on the same plot of land to mitigate the risk of moisture shortage and/or drought season. Seed quality assessment from Gursum district showed better germination potential with an average of 86.99%. This research offers the status of seed selection practices and seed quality status in agro-pastoral context and recommends the way forward to enhance sustainability of sorghum seed maintenance.
Key words: Agro-pastoralist, local variety, seed maintenance, seed quality, sorghum, crop-livestock system
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