Improving Sorghum Farming with Genomic Technology

Prof. Sakamoto (center) was received in the University by Principal College of Engineering and Technology Dr. Hiram Ndiritu (right) and Africa-ai-Japan Project Advisor Prof. Hiroshi Koaze

A Japanese researcher has made a breakthrough by utilizing genomic technology to improve the production of sorghum in various environmental conditions for food security and sustainable economic prosperity.

Wataru Sakamoto, a professor of physics at Kyushu University in Japan, visited Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology on March 22, 2023 to disseminate the findings of his research exploits in relation to sorghum production. Prof. Sakamoto delivered a seminar titled; exploiting sorghum, a crop of African origin, with cutting-edge genome technology.

Prof. Sakamoto’s research has focused on understanding the genetic basis of sorghum’s drought tolerance and other desirable traits, such as high grain yield and resistance to pests and diseases. He has used genomic technologies to identify specific genes and molecular pathways that contribute to these traits, and has developed new breeding strategies to enhance sorghum’s performance under different environmental conditions.

Professor Sakamoto highlighted the potential of these advances for improving food security in Africa and other parts of the world. By harnessing the power of genomics and other advanced technologies, he argued, “researchers can develop new sorghum varieties that are better adapted to local conditions and more resilient in the face of climate change”.

The Japanese scholar has set sights on promoting sustainable agriculture and food production, particularly in regions where water scarcity and other environmental stresses are major challenges. He believes that sorghum is an important food crop in many parts of the world, particularly in arid and semi-arid regions, due to its ability to tolerate drought and high temperatures.

With continued research in genomic technologies, Professor Sakamoto stated that he hopse to unlock the full potential of sorghum and other crops to feed the world’s growing population.

Prof. Sakamoto was among other key presenters who delivered lectures in various thematic areas of reseach to mark the 60th anniversary of partnership between Kenya and Japan.

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