Seed-borne fungi of sorghum and pearl millet in Burkina Faso were surveyed. A total of 188 seed samples from various locations, collected in 1989 (42) and 2002 (146), were tested, using the blotter, dry inspection and washing methods. Infection experiments were carried out with the major fungi recorded on each crop by the blotter test. Six essential oils of plants were investigated for their inhibitory activity against eight pathogenic fungi. Thirty four and 27 fungal species were found in seed samples of sorghum and pearl millet, respectively. Phoma sp. and Fusarium moniliforme infected 95 to 100% of the seed samples of both sorghum and pearl millet. Sphacelotheca sorghi and Tolyposporium ehrenbergii were encountered in respectively, 75 and 33% of seed samples of sorghum. T. penicillariae, Sclerospora graminicola and Claviceps fusiformis were present in 88, 41 and 32% of seed samples of pearl millet, respectively. Seeds inoculated with Acremonium strictum, Curvularia oryzae, F. equiseti, F. moniliforme and F. subglutinans and sown in sterilized soil, showed considerable mortality of the seedlings. Three essential oils inhibited in vitro the mycelial growth of all the fungi used by 85 to 100% and reduced significantly sorghum and pearl millet seed infection rates of Phoma sp., Fusarium sp., Curvularia sp., Colletotrichum graminicola and Exserohilum sp. Presence of many pathogenic fungi in considerable number of seed samples indicates the need of field surveys for these and other pathogens. Development of plant extracts for the control of seed-borne pathogens and public awareness on seed-borne diseases management measures for maintaining quality seed should be increased.