The extent to which Africa stands to benefit from sorghum research can be seen from this map. The crop is perhaps the continent's most widespread and important staple. Beyond the fact that yields can be raised far above the present average, sorghum's adaptation to a wide range of ecological conditions is an enormous asset.

Over the millennia, this ancient food was probably domesticated several times. At least four major types arose in different places. These are shown. One of the oldest, the durra (crook-necked) variety, was eaten in Egypt more than 4,000 years ago. Ethiopia is its center of diversity, and durra sorghum is still the staple food for most of the populace of the Horn of Africa. The region from eastern Nigeria through Chad and western Sudan is a center of diversity for the caudatum race. The region from western Nigeria to Senegal gave rise to the guinea race. The area from Tanzania to South Africa is the center for the kafir race. All of these separate sorghums have fed countless generations.

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