Sorghum flour with high shelf life hits Nigerian markets

In a first-of-its-kind enterprise in Nigeria, a large-scale flour mill has come up with processed sorghum flour with a shelf life as high as 6 months. Typically, sorghum flour has a short shelf life of less than 3 months. This innovative product is opening new markets, providing jobs to 40,000 people involved in the value chain and freeing up the time of women as processing sorghum flour manually using traditional methods takes 80 minutes.

This has been achieved thanks to a collaboration with ICRISAT scientists identifying the best sorghum varieties for processing and the flour mill perfecting their processing practices to maximize shelf life. It all started in 2016, when Dr Hakeem Ajeigbe, ICRISAT Country Representative, Nigeria, met in his office Mr Alhaji Sani Umar, Deputy Managing Director, Northern Nigeria Flour Mills (NNFM) plc and Mr Sadiq Usman, Deputy Chief Operating Officer, Agro-allied, Flour Mills of Nigeria plc. “I showed them sorghum flour which encouraged them to go into sorghum processing. We discussed sorghum cultivation practices and the crop’s higher nutritional value compared to cereals like maize and wheat. I gave them nine varieties of sorghum to test the milling quality. This resulted in the selection of SAMSORG 17 – the generic yellow sorghum (Kaura),” recalls Dr Ajeigbe.