productivity are tapering off in the classic rice-wheat cropping rotation that has been used for more than 1,000 years in Asia; it now encompasses about 24 million hectares in Asia, of which 13.5 million are in SA (Rice-Wheat Consortium, 2007). Sorghum and pearl millet are also widely grown, although they are on the decline, being replaced by maize in many areas, which is important for the burgeoning livestock and poultry feed industries (Joshi et al., 2005). The legumes that are important for nutrition are chickpea, lentil, pigeon pea, and groundnuts; they are less abundant as crops. The Indian government claims to be promoting diversification of crops away from the intense reliance on cereal grains with recommendations to increase growth of legumes, fruits, vegetables, and oilseeds and more emphasis on dairy, poultry, and fish and with concomitant strengthening of markets and the government’s ability to meet health and safety standards. Cotton and tea remain important export crops, although the declining yields of tea plantations and competition from abroad still pose problems; unlike SSA, India has a strong textile industry that complements the widespread production of cotton.
The major crops of SSA are somewhat more diverse, and this makes priority-setting for improvement more challenging. Most of the crops shown in Figure 2-1 are also listed by DeVries and Toenniessen (2002). Among cereals, maize continues to emerge as the dominant crop, particularly in eastern and southern Africa, and sorghum and millet are important in drier areas of SSA. Rice has always been grown in the wetter areas of