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Lost Crops of Africa: Volume I, Grains
Farmers are rightly suspicious of the counsel of anyone who does not himself have to live by the results.
John Kenneth Galbraith
African farmers are not a bunch of village idiots; far from it. They can squeeze more out of a hectare than you or I could, and under difficult circumstances.
At least eleven hundred million people do not have enough to eat. Many of them live in countries that cannot afford to import food and where per capita domestic food production has declined since 1980. Most of these countries are in Africa, where the gap between food production and demand is expected to quadruple by the year 2000.
What Africa needs is more agricultural research conducted by well-trained scientists with good support. It should include—at the least—plant breeding, pathology, agronomy, biotechnology, entomology, and soil science.
The right technology—be it genetic or agronomic—will be put to use. If it increases yields economically, Africa's farmers will adopt it.
Unless we satisfy the basic needs of four billion poor, life for the rest of use will be extremely risky and uncomfortable. Struggling farmers . .. threaten environmental stability, while the growing masses of urban poor are a menace to political stability.
These "old" plants are neglected mostly because both local and foreign "experts" are prejudiced against them, but also because of the experts' own preference for anything that is new!
James M. Lock
The promotion of any indigenous crop must be done within local constraints of labor availability, gender relations, cultural constructs, and environmental stress. If local constraints, practices, and beliefs are not realized, promotion of the crop will not succeed.