Sorghum Commodity Fact Sheet

WBSCM Material Description and Number

SORGHUM BAG-50 KG    100586
SORGHUM BULK    100597

General Information

Grain sorghum is a whole grain available in bagged and bulk forms for food aid. In the United States, sorghum is grown primarily in areas stretching from South Dakota to Texas. It is a resilient crop that is able to grow in arid lands and marginal conditions, including Africa, where it is an important crop. Grain sorghum is versatile as both a food and animal feed grain; when ordering, the food grade variety appropriate for most food-aid applications is white sorghum. Additionally, sorghum is conventionally bred and not genetically modified so it may be used in countries with such a requirement. For more information, refer to the Sorghum Checkoff Program guide to sorghum and its nutrition ( Bagged sorghum is packaged in 50-kilogram polypropylene woven bags whose fabric contains an inhibitor to resist ultraviolet absorption and an anti-skid coating. It should be stored in dark, cool conditions for optimal shelf life. For full product specifications refer to the USDA Commodity Requirements Document for bagged grains.

Programming Guidance

Grain sorghum may be used in emergencies and development programs if fortified flour/meals are not available as illustrated by the 2011 Food Aid Quality Review (FAQR) decision trees:

  • Emergencies: Sorghum may be used with oil and a pulse in the second phase of emergency food distribution Either corn soy blend (CSB) or a ready-to-use supplementary food (RUSF) should be added as a targeted supplement to this ration, for children under two (U2). In a longer-term emergency, sorghum may be provided in Food for Assets, Food for Work, Food for Training, as well as Vulnerable Group Feeding, and Food for Education programs.
  • Development: Sorghum may be used as part of a general household ration, along with a pulse and oil, where this is appropriate. Sorghum may also be provided in Food for Assets, Food for Work, Food for Training, as well as Vulnerable Group Feeding, and Food for Education programs.

Nutrition/Preparation Information

Sorghum is a preferred staple grain in parts of Africa, Central America, Mexico and India and is a good source of complex carbohydrates, fiber, iron and B vitamins. A good source of plant-based protein, it forms a complete protein meal when combined with pulses. Sorghum grain is gluten-free and US-grown sorghum grain does not contain tannins; its digestibility is dependent on its processing method. For more nutritional information, refer to the Sorghum Checkoff Program ( To prepare, the whole grain may be soaked overnight, then cooked. It may be added to two parts water, brought to a boil and simmered for 40-45 minutes. Boiling water may be added to ground sorghum to produce a thick porridge-like meal, or the ground flour may be used like wheat to make unleavened breads, cookies, tortillas and other baked goods.

USDA Nutrient Database

From the USDA Nutrient Database ( search for:

*Note: The USDA Nutrient Database nutrient values for sorghum are incomplete for magnesium, zinc, Vitamin B6, folate, Vitamin E, and Vitamin K. For complete nutrient values for sorghum please refer to the Sorghum Checkoff Program (

USDA Commodity Requirements Document

Shelf Life/Best if Used By Date (BUBD)

  • Shelf life - not available 
  • BUBD - not available. USDA FGIS Official Certificates With Crop Year Statement may be available as a substitute.


United Sorghum Checkoff Program. 2012. Food Aid.  Retrieved May 31, 2016 from:

United Sorghum Checkoff Program. 2012.  All About Sorghum. Retrieved May 12, 2016 from:

United Sorghum Checkoff Program. 2012.  What is Sorghum?  Retrieved May 31, 2016 from:

U.S. Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service. 2015. USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference, Release 28. Nutrient Data Laboratory Home Page. Retrieved May 31, 2016 from:

United States Department of Agriculture. Farm Services Agency.  2013. USDA Commodity Requirements Document: KCBG11 Bagged Grains for Use in International Food Assistance Programs.  Retrieved May 31, 2016 from:

Webb, P., B. Rogers, I. Rosenberg, N. Schlossman, C. Wanke, J. Bagriansky, K. Sadler, Q. Johnson, J. Tilahun, A. Reese Masterson, A. Narayan.  2011.  Delivering Improved Nutrition: Recommendations for Changes to U.S. Food Aid Products and Programming.  Retrieved May 31, 2016 from:


Last updated: June 15, 2016

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