National Semi arid Resources Research Institute (NaSARRI)


Sorghum and finger millet



Affiliated Countries

Kenya and Tanzania


National Semi arid Resources Research Institute (NaSARRI)


Kenya Agricultural and Livestock Research Organization


Tanzania Agriculture Research Institute

Harnessing sorghum and finger millet genetic resources for increased productivity and utilization in the arid and semi-arid regions of East Africa

With a vision to breed new varieties that deliver benefits to smallholder farmers, partners at the National Semi arid Resources Research Institute in Uganda, the Tanzania Agriculture Research Institute and the Kenya Agricultural and Livestock Research Organization unite to confront food security across East Africa. 400 million people call the dry land regions of sub-Saharan Africa home, though regional challenges of low productivity, frequent droughts, devastating floods, and pest and disease outbreaks threaten livelihoods. Finger millet and sorghum serve as major sources of carbohydrates and micronutrients in rural communities. Genetic improvement of these crops offers an efficient and cost-effective method to increase smallholder production, serve market needs and vastly improve food and nutritional security across East Africa.

The East African Center of Innovation for Finger Millet and Sorghum will assess value chains, market analysis and drivers of adoption and identify sources of resistance to biotic and abiotic stresses and sources for nutritional quality. With the goal of breeding resilient varieties, CIFMS will use gene and molecular marker discovery for novel traits (particularly the resistance to biotic and abiotic stresses, protein and micronutrients) and develop tools and methods for efficient phenotyping and rapid generation advancement of desirable traits. In order to track progress of advances in crop improvement, CIFMS will establish digital data capture and integrated management of data. Recognizing that crop improvement affects every part of life, the Center of Innovation will prioritize a gender analysis and streamline of gender dynamics in finger millet and sorghum value chains.

Video spotlight

Photos from the field

Recent highlights

December 21, 2022

NaSSARI scientists participate in global crop improvement meeting

The National Semi-arid Resource Research Institute (NaSARRI) team joined a global community of more than 120 scientists and partners from more than ten countries and five continents at a series…
December 15, 2022

Farmers reflect on sorghum and finger millet trials in Uganda

New sorghum and finger millet demonstration sites in the Tororo district of Uganda are providing training to smallholder farmers on agronomic practices from timely weeding to the documentation of crop…
December 1, 2022

A year of progress: Breeding for resilient sorghum and finger millet in East Africa

Advances in sorghum and finger millet are making great strides in East Africa, thanks to the East African Center of Innovation for Finger Millet and Sorghum (CIFMS) based at Uganda’s…

Project members

Scovia Adikini (NaSARRI)

Principal investigator

Moses Biruma (NaSARRI)

Co-PI, Trait discovery lead

Sophia Hamba (NaSARRI)

Priority setting and cross-cutting themes co-lead

Jean Marcel Ribaut (IBP)

Ronald Kakeeto (NaSARRI)

Breeding informatics lead

Faizo Kasule (NaSARRI)

Cross-cutting themes

Eric Manyasa (ICRISAT)

Product placement lead

Ibrahim Mayanja (NaSARRI)

Monitoring & evaluation lead

Robinah Nakabaggwe (NaSARRI)


Hedwig Natabirwa (NARL)

Trait discovery lead

Damaris Odeny (ICRISAT)

Genomics lead

Chrispus A. Odour (KALRO)

Kenya lead; cross-cutting themes

Henry Ojulong (ICRISAT)

Phenomics lead

Losira Sanya (Makerere University)

Priority setting & cross-cutting themes co-lead

Dennis Tippe (TARI)

Cross-cutting themes

Geoffrey Tusiime (Makerere University)


Michael Ugen (NaSARRI)

Institutional capacity lead

Project partners

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