A Note from the Sponsors
For two decades, the U.S. Agency for International Development (AID) has supported various reports from BOSTID's Innovation Program. This current one, on the under exploited cereals of Africa, is particularly timely. Africa's nutrition situation is deteriorating, and this is a serious concern. Much of the population is more vulnerable to malnutrition and starvation than ever before. Clearly, the problem needs tangible and sustained support from the international community, but it also needs a host of fresh ideas.
This book offers many such ideas and is part of a commitment AID made at the International Conference on Nutrition (ICN) in December 1992. There, member countries, nongovernmental organizations, and the international community pledged to eliminate or substantially reduce starvation, widespread undernutrition, and micronutrient malnutrition within this decade.
By highlighting the broad potential for Africa's own native biodiversity to reduce the vulnerability of seriously at-risk people to food shortages, the book could become a major contributor to the ICN objectives. The so-called "lost crops" obviously can help provide food security in their native areas, which include many parts of Africa threatened with hunger. At the same time, however, maintaining the diversity of these ancient crops will protect options for the rest of the world to use.
For these and other reasons, we are pleased to have been this project's major sponsors. We hope the wealth of information in the following pages will stimulate much interest and many subsequent activities. If that occurs, the now largely overlooked resources described herein should contribute substantially toward achieving the goal of eliminating hunger and malnutrition by decade's end.
DAVID A. OOT
OFFICE OF HEALTH AND NUTRITION
BUREAU FOR AFRICA
OFFICE OF FOREIGN DISASTER ASSISTANCE