National Academies Press: OpenBook

Lost Crops of Africa: Volume I: Grains (1996)

Chapter: Front Matter

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 1996. Lost Crops of Africa: Volume I: Grains. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/2305.
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Lost Crops of Africa

volume I

Grains

Board on Science and Technology for International Development

National Research Council

NATIONAL ACADEMY PRESS
Washington, D.C.
1996

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 1996. Lost Crops of Africa: Volume I: Grains. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/2305.
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NOTICE: The project that is the subject of this report was approved by the Governing Board of the National Research Council, whose members are drawn from the councils of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine. The members of the committee responsible for the report were chosen for their special competence and with regard for appropriate balance.

The report was reviewed by a group other than the authors according to procedures approved by a Report Review Committee consisting of members of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine.

This report was prepared by an ad hoc advisory panel of the Board on Science and Technology for International Development, Office of International Affairs, National Research Council. Staff support was funded by the Bureau for Africa, Bureau for Research and Development, Office of Nutrition, and Office of Research, Agency for International Development, under Grant No. DPE-5545-A-00-8068-00.

Library of Congress Catalog Card Number: 93-86876

ISBN 0-309-04990-3

This document may be reproduced solely for educational purposes without the written permission of the National Academy of Sciences.

Copyright 1996 by the National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.

Printed in the United States of America

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 1996. Lost Crops of Africa: Volume I: Grains. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/2305.
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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

JOHN HICKS

BUREAU FOR AFRICA

NAN BORTON

OFFICE OF FOREIGN DISASTER ASSISTANCE

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 1996. Lost Crops of Africa: Volume I: Grains. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/2305.
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The National Academy of Sciences is a private, nonprofit, self-perpetuating society of distinguished scholars engaged in scientific and engineering research, dedicated to the furtherance of science and technology and to their use for the general welfare. Upon the authority of the charter granted to it by the Congress in 1863, the Academy has a mandate that requires it to advise the federal government on scientific and technical matters. Dr. Bruce M. Alberts is president of the National Academy of Sciences.

The National Academy of Engineering was established in 1964, under the charter of the National Academy of Sciences, as a parallel organization of outstanding engineers. It is autonomous in its administration and in the selection of its members, sharing with the National Academy of Sciences the responsibility for advising the federal government. The National Academy of Engineering also sponsors engineering programs aimed at meeting national needs, encourages education and research, and recognizes the superior achievements of engineers. Dr. Harold Liebowitz is president of the National Academy of Engineering.

The Institute of Medicine was established in 1970 by the National Academy of Sciences to secure the services of eminent members of appropriate professions in the examination of policy matters pertaining to the health of the public. The Institute acts under the responsibility given to the National Academy of Sciences by its congressional charter to be an adviser to the federal government and, upon its own initiative, to identify issues of medical care, research, and education. Dr. Kenneth I. Shine is president of the Institute of Medicine.

The National Research Council was organized by the National Academy of Sciences in 1916 to associate the broad community of science and technology with the Academy's purposes of furthering knowledge and advising the federal government. Functioning in accordance with general policies determined by the Academy, the Council has become the principal operating agency of both the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering in providing services to the government, the public, and the scientific and engineering communities. The Council is administered jointly by both Academies and the Institute of Medicine. Dr. Bruce M. Alberts and Dr. Harold Liebowitz are chairman and vice chairman, respectively, of the National Research Council.

The Board on Science and Technology for International Development (BOSTID) of the Office of International Affairs addresses a range of issues arising from the ways in which science and technology in developing countries can stimulate and complement the complex processes of social and economic development. It oversees a broad program of bilateral workshops with scientific organizations in developing countries and conducts special studies. BOSTID's Advisory Committee on Technology Innovation publishes topical reviews of technical processes and biological resources of potential importance to developing countries.

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 1996. Lost Crops of Africa: Volume I: Grains. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/2305.
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PANEL

NORMAN E. BORLAUG,

Centro Internacional de Mejoramiento de Maíz y Trigo, Mexico City, Mexico,

Chairman

JOHN AXTELL, Department of Agronomy,

Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana

GLENN W. BURTON,

Georgia Coastal Plain Experiment Station, Agricultural Research Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Tifton, Georgia

JACK R. HARLAN,

Department of Agronomy, University of Illinois

(retired),

New Orleans, Louisiana

KENNETH O. RACHIE,

Winrock International

(retired),

Pensacola, Florida

***

NOEL D. VIETMEYER, Senior Program Officer,

Board on Science and Technology for International Development,

Africa Crops Study Director and Scientific Editor

STAFF

F.R. RUSKIN, BOSTID Editor

MARK R. DAFFORN, Staff Associate

ELIZABETH MOUZON, Senior Secretary

BRENT SIMPSON, MUCIA Intern

DONALD OSBORN, MUCIA Intern

MICHAEL McD. Dow, Acting Director, BOSTID

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 1996. Lost Crops of Africa: Volume I: Grains. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/2305.
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CONTRIBUTORS

By 1993, more than 1,000 people had participated in BOSTID's overall study of the lost crops of Africa. Most had participated by nominating species of grains, fruits, nuts, vegetables, legumes, oilseeds, spices, sweeteners, and beverage plants worthy of inclusion. In a sense, all these people were contributors to this, the first product from the study. However, the following list includes only those who provided technical details that became incorporated into various chapters of this particular book. To all the contributors, both listed and unlisted, we are truly grateful.

AFRICA

SAMUEL AGBOIRE, National Cereals Research Institute, Bida, Niger State, Nigeria

OLUPOMI AJAYI, ICRISAT-WASIP, Kano, Nigeria

O.C. AWORH, Department of Food Technology, University of Ibadan, Ibadan, Nigeria

FORSON K. AYENSU, Plant Genetic Resources Unit, Crops Research Institute, Bunso, Ghana

JACOB A. AYUK-TAKEM, Institut de la Recherche Agronomique, Yaoundé, Cameroon

ROBERT CUDJOE AZIAWOR, Grains Development Board, Hohoe, Volta Region, Ghana

PAUL BECKMAN, Eden Foundation, Zinder, Niger

M.A. BENHURA, Department of Biochemistry, University of Zimbabwe, Harare, Zimbabwe

JACQUES BEYO, Institut de Recherche Agronomique, Maroua, Cameroon

STEPHEN CARR, Zomba, Malawi

CARL W. CASTLETON, International Section, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Abidjan, Ivory Coast

ABEBE DEMISSIE, Plant Germplasm Exploration and Collection, Plant Genetic Resources Centre/Ethiopia, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

SUSAN BURNELL EDWARDS, The National Herbarium, Addis Ababa University, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

TEWOLDE BERHAN G/EGZIABHER, The National Herbarium, Addis Ababa University, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

SAHR N. FOMBA, Mangrove Swamp Rice Research Station, West Africa Rice Development Association, Freetown, Sierra Leone

WALTER FROLICH, Sorghum and Millet Section, Nyankpala Agricultural Experiment Station, Crops Research Institute, Tamale, Ghana

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 1996. Lost Crops of Africa: Volume I: Grains. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/2305.
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KIFLE GOZEGUZE, Regional Soil and Water Conservation Department, Ministry of Agriculture, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

S.C. GUPTA, Regional Sorghum and Millets Improvement Program, International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics, Bulawayo, Zimbabwe

LELAND R. HOUSE, Regional Sorghum and Millets Improvement Program, Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics, Bulawayo, Zimbabwe

ISRAEL AFAM JIDEANI, School of Science and Science Education, Abubakar Tafawa-Balewa University, Bauchi, Nigeria

TANTIGEGN KEREDE KASSA, Zonal Team in Soil Conservation, Bahrder, Ethiopia

HILDA KIGUTHA, Department of Home Economics, Egerton University, Njoro, Kenya

ABEBE KIRUB, Information Services, Institute of Agricultural Research, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

J. MAUD KORDYLAS, Arkloyd's Food Laboratory, Douala, Cameroon

HELMUT KREIENSIEK, Agriculture and Soil Conservation, German AgroAction -FSAP, Maseru, Lesotho

K. ANAND KUMAR, Pearl Millet Program, Sahelian Centre, International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics, Niamey, Niger

Plus MICHAEL KYESMU, Department of Botany, University of Jos, Jos, Plateau State, Nigeria

JOYCE LOWE, Department of Botany and Microbiology, University of Ibadan, Ibadan, Nigeria

GUEYE MAMADOU, West African Microbiological Research Centre, Centre National de Recherches Agronomiques, Bambey, Senegal

FERNANDO A.B. MARCELINO, Instituto de Investigação Agronómica, Huambo, Angola

P.C.J. MAREE, Department of Agronomy and Pastures, University of Stellenbosch, Stellenbosch, Cape Province, South Africa

MATEOS MEGISO, Soil Conservation Department, Ministry of Agriculture, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

GEBRU TEKA MEHERETA, Natural Resources Department, Ministry of Agriculture, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

I.M. MHARAPARA, Research and Specialist Services, Chiredzi Research Station, Chiredzi, Zimbabwe

KOUAMÉ MIEZAN, West Africa Rice Development Association, Bouake, Ivory Coast

GETACHEW BEYENE MISKER, Community Forestry Department, Ministry of Agriculture, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

HELEN Moss, International Plant Genetic Resources Institute, University of Zimbabwe, Harare, Zimbabwe

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S.C. NANA-SINKAM, Joint ECA/FAO Agriculture Division, United Nations Economic Commission for Africa, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

NLANDU NE NSAKU, Direction des Services Généraux Techniques, Gitega, Burundi

J.C. OBIEFUNA, Department of Crop Production, Federal University of Technology, Owerri, Imo State, Nigeria

NORMAN F.G. RETHMAN, Department of Plant Production, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, South Africa

GREGORY SAXON, Tete, Mozambique

A. SHAKOOR, The Dryland Farming Research and Development Project, Ministry of Agriculture, Katumani, Machakos, Kenya

P. SOMAN, Pearl Millet Program, Sahelian Centre, International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics, Niamey, Niger

P.S. STEYN, Division of Food Science and Technology, National Food Research Institute, Pretoria, South Africa

JOHN R.N. TAYLOR, Department of Food Science, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, South Africa

JANE TOLL, International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics, Niamey, Niger

JENS VON BARGEN, Nyankpala Agricultural Experiment Station, Crops Research Institute, Tamale, Ghana

ADEBACHO WATCHISO, Community Forestry Department, Ministry of Agriculture, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

G.K. WEBER, International Institute of Tropical Agriculture, Ibadan, Nigeria

J.H. WILLIAMS, Pearl Millet Program, Sahelian Centre, International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics, Niamey, Niger

OTHER REGIONS

DAVID J. ANDREWS, Department of Agronomy, University of Nebraska, Lincoln, Nebraska, USA

DJIBRIL AW, Resident Mission, Silver Spring, Maryland, USA

JACQUES BARRAU, Laboratoire d'Ethnobotanique-Biogéographie, Muséum National d'Histoire Naturelle, Paris, France

J.P. BAUDOIN, Phytotechnie des Régions Chaudes, Faculté des Sciences Agronomiques de Gembloux, Gembloux, Belgium

DONALD F. BEECH, Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia

GILLES BEZANÇON, Institut Français de Recherche Scientifique pour le Développement en Coopération de Montpellier, Montpellier, France

PAULA BRAMEL-COX, Department of Agronomy, Kansas State University, Manhattan, Kansas, USA

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 1996. Lost Crops of Africa: Volume I: Grains. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/2305.
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FRANK BREYER, Bludenz, Vorarlberg, Austria

RICHARD L. BRUGGERS, International Programs Research Section, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Denver Wildlife Research Center, Denver, Colorado, USA

LYNNE BRYDON, Department of Sociology, University of Liverpool, Liverpool, England

WAYNE CARLSON, Maskal Forages, Inc., Caldwell, Idaho, USA

GEOFFREY P. CHAPMAN, Wye College, University of London, Wye, Kent, England

W. DEREK CLAYTON, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, Richmond, Surrey, England

MAX D. CLEGG, Department of Agronomy, University of Nebraska, Lincoln, Nebraska, USA

ELIZABETH COLSON, Department of Anthropology, University of California, Berkeley, El Cerrito, California, USA

WILLIAM CRITCHLEY, Centre for Development Cooperation Services, Free University Amsterdam, Amsterdam, The Netherlands

RONNY R. DUNCAN, Department of Agronomy, University of Georgia, Georgia Experiment Station, Griffin, Georgia, USA

ROBERT P. EAGLESFIELD, International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics, Andhra Pradesh, India

JOHANNES M.M. ENGELS, International Plant Genetic Resources Institute, New Delhi, India

CONRAD L. EVANS, Office of International Programs, Oklahoma State University, Stillwater, Oklahoma, USA

CHARLES A. FRANCIS, Department of Agronomy, University of Nebraska, Lincoln, Nebraska, USA

DONALD FRYREAR, Big Spring Experiment Station, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Big Spring, Texas, USA

ZEWDIE WOLDE GEBRIEL, Department of Human Nutrition, Wageningen Agricultural University, Wageningen, Netherlands

P. GEERVANI, College of Home Science, Andhra Pradesh Agricultural University, Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh, India

DAVID GIBBON, School of Development Studies, University of East Anglia, Norwich, Norfolk, England

HEINER E. GOLDBACH, Abta Agrarökologie, Institut für Geowissenschaften der Universität Bayreuth, Bayreuth, Germany

PAMELA M. GOODE, Environmental Resources Unit, University of Salford, Salford, England

DAVID O. HALL, Center for Energy and Environment, Princeton University, Princeton, New Jersey, USA

WAYNE W. HANNA, Georgia Coastal Plain Experiment Station, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Tifton, Georgia, USA

NAZMUL. HAQ, International Centre for Under-Utilized Crops, King's College London, London, England

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 1996. Lost Crops of Africa: Volume I: Grains. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/2305.
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G. HARINARAYANA, All India Coordinated Pearl Millet Improvement Project, College of Agriculture, Shivajinagar, Pune, India

DALE D. HARPSTEAD, Department of Crop and Soil Sciences, Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan, USA

FRANK NIGEL HEPPER, The Herbarium, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, Richmond, Surrey, England

KHIDIR W. HILU, Department of Biology, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Blacksburg, Virginia, USA

R.C. HOSENEY, Department of Agronomy, Kansas State University, Manhattan, Kansas, USA

CARL S. HOVELAND, Department of Agronomy, University of Georgia, Athens, Georgia, USA

CATHERINE HOWARTH, Welsh Plant Breeding Station, University College of Wales, Old College, Aberystwyth, Dyfed, Wales

CLARISSA T. KIMBER, Department of Geography, Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas, USA

ART KLATT, Division of Agriculture, Oklahoma State University, Stillwater, Oklahoma, USA

A. DE KOCHKO, Department of Biology, Washington University, St. Louis, Missouri, USA

WENDY KRAMER, Administrative Librarian, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA

J.M. LOCK, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, Richmond, Surrey, England

DAVID G. LYNN, Department of Chemistry, University of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois, USA

CLARE MADGE, School of Geography, The University of Birmingham, Egbaston, Birmingham, England

JAMES D. MAGUIRE, Department of Agronomy and Soils, Washington State University, Pullman, Washington, USA

A. BRUCE MAUNDER, DeKalb Plant Genetics, Lubbock, Texas, USA

DAN H. MECKENSTOCK, INTSORMIL/Programa Internacional de Sorgo y Mijo, c/o Escuela Agrícola Panamericana, Tegucigalpa, Honduras

ALEMU MENGISTU, Department of Plant Pathology, University of Wisconsin, Madison, Wisconsin, USA

GIOVANNI MIGNONI, Risanamento, Agro Industriale Zuccheri, Roma, Inc., Rome, Italy

FRED R. MILLER, Department of Soil and Crop Sciences, Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas, USA

NOBUO MURATA, Eco-Physiology Research Division, Tropical Agriculture Research Center, Tsukuba, Ibaraki, Japan

K.V. RAMAIAH, International Crops Research Institute for the SemiArid Tropics, Andhra Pradesh, India

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 1996. Lost Crops of Africa: Volume I: Grains. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/2305.
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K.C. REDDY, Agency for International Development - Niamey, U.S. Department of State, Washington, D.C., USA

PAUL RICHARDS, Department of Anthropology, University College London, London, England

K.W. RILEY, IDRC/National Hill Crops Improvement Program, Kathmandu, Nepal

JAMES L. RIOPEL, Department of Biology, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, Virginia, USA

LLOYD W. ROONEY, Department of Soil and Crop Sciences, Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas, USA

RACHEL SAFMAN, Agriculture and Natural Resources, CARE, New York, New York, USA

DAVID J. SAMMONS, Department of Agronomy, University of Maryland, College Park, Maryland, USA

SHAO QIQUAN, Department of Crop Science and Plant Ecology, University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, Canada

BLUEBELL R. STANDAL, Department of Food Science and Nutrition, University of Hawaii, Honolulu, Hawaii, USA

MARGARET STEENTOFT, Petersfield, Hampshire, England

MICHAEL STOCKING, Soils and Land Use Development Studies, University of East Anglia, Norwich, Norfolk, England

ROBERT J. THEODORATUS, Department of Anthropology, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, Colorado, USA

H.D. TINDALL, Ampthill, Bedford, England

J.H. Topps, Division of Agricultural Chemistry and Biochemistry, University of Aberdeen, Aberdeen, Scotland

RICK J. VAN DEN BELDT, Winrock International Institute for Agricultural Development, Bangkok, Thailand

DAT VAN TRAN, Plant Production and Protection Division, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, Rome, Italy

PARESH VERMA, Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources, Department of Agronomy, University of Nebraska, Lincoln, Nebraska, USA

REMKO B. VONK, Agriculture and Natural Resources, CARE, New York, New York, USA

C.E. WEST, Department of Human Nutrition, Wageningen Agricultural University, Wageningen, Netherlands

JOSIEN M.C. WESTPHAL-STEVELS, Department of Plant Taxonomy, Wageningen Agricultural University, Wageningen, Netherlands

ERICA F. WHEELER, Centre for Human Nutrition, The London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, London, England

G.E. WICKENS, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, Richmond, Surrey, England

REBECCA WOOD, Crestone, Colorado, USA

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 1996. Lost Crops of Africa: Volume I: Grains. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/2305.
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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 1996. Lost Crops of Africa: Volume I: Grains. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/2305.
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Preface

The purpose of this report is to draw worldwide attention to traditional African cereals and especially to their potential for expanding and diversifying African and world food supplies. Africa is seen by many observers as a basket case—a vast region incorporating more than 40 nations that appears unlikely to be able to feed its burgeoning population in the coming years. To many observers, there seem to be no ready solutions. Some have given up hope that anything can be done.

What has been almost entirely overlooked, however, is that throughout that vast continent can be found more than 2,000 native grains, roots, fruits, and other food plants. These have been feeding people for thousands of years but most are being given no attention whatever today. We have called them the ''lost crops of Africa."

Among the 2,000 lost foods are more than 100 native grasses whose seeds are (or have been) eaten. These can be found from Mauritania to Madagascar. Only a handful are currently receiving concerted research and development, and even those few are grossly underappreciated. Our goal is to demonstrate the potential inherent in these overlooked traditional cereals. Our hope is thereby to stimulate actions to increase the support for, and use of, the best of them so as to increase food supplies, improve nutrition, and raise economic conditions.

It should be understood that most of the plants described are not truly lost; indeed, a few are well known worldwide. It is to the mainstream of international science and to people outside the rural regions that they are "lost." It should also be understood that it is not just for Africa that the grains hold promise. Several of Africa's now neglected cereals could become major contributors to the welfare of nations around the world. This potential is often emphasized in the following chapters in hopes of stimulating the world community into serious and self-interested support for these species that now languish.

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 1996. Lost Crops of Africa: Volume I: Grains. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/2305.
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This study began in 1989 when the staff officers mailed questionnaires to about 1,000 scientists and organizations worldwide. The questionnaire requested nominations of little-known African food plants for possible inclusion. It contained a list of 77 native African grains, roots and tubers, vegetables, fruits, legumes, oilseeds, nuts, spices, sweeteners, and beverage plants. We anticipated that perhaps 30 of these species would prove to have outstanding merit and that the report would focus on those. What actually occurred, however, was very different.

Within a few weeks of mailing the questionnaire, replies started flooding back in numbers far greater than anticipated; many recipients photocopied their questionnaire and sent the copies (as many as 50 in several cases) on to their colleagues; requests came pouring in from people we had never heard of. The staff could barely keep up with the hundreds of requests, replies, suggestions, scientific papers, and unsolicited writings that began to appear in the mail. Within 4 months, over 100 additional species had been nominated as "write-in candidates." Within a year, at least 100 more were recommended. By then it was clear that the power of this project was far greater than anyone had foreseen. It was decided, therefore, to divide it into sections dealing individually with the different types of foods.

This report on the lost grains of Africa is the first in this series. From the flood of suggestions and information on the native African cereals was fashioned a first draft. Each of its chapters was mailed back to the original nominators as well as to other experts identified by the staff. As a result, hundreds of suggestions for corrections and additions were received, and each was evaluated and integrated into what, after editing and review, became the current text.

The report is intended as a tool for economic development rather than a textbook or survey of African botany or agriculture. It has been written for dissemination particularly to administrators, entrepreneurs, and researchers in Africa as well as other parts of the world. Its purpose is to provide a brief introduction to the plants selected and to stimulate actions that explore and exploit them. The ultimate aim is to get the most promising native African grains into greater production so as to raise nutritional levels, diversify agriculture, and create economic opportunities.

Because the book is written for audiences both lay and professional, each chapter is organized in increasing levels of detail. The lead paragraphs and prospects sections are intended primarily for nonspecialists. Subsequent sections contain background information from which specialists can better assess a plant's potential for their regions or research programs. These sections also include a brief overview of "next steps" that could help the plant to reach its full promise. Finally,

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 1996. Lost Crops of Africa: Volume I: Grains. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/2305.
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appendixes at the back of the book provide the following information:

  • The addresses of researchers who know the individual plants well;

  • Information on potential sources of germplasm; and

  • Lists of carefully selected papers that provide more detail than can be presented here.

Because most of these plants are so little studied, the literature on them is often old, difficult to find, or available only locally. This is unfortunate, and we hope that this book will stimulate monographs, newsletters, articles, and papers on all of the species. One of the most effective actions that plant scientists and plant lovers can take is to collect, collate, and communicate the Africa-wide observations and experiences with these crops in such publications. They might also create seed supplies and distribute seeds of appropriate varieties. All this could stimulate pan-African cooperation and international endeavors to ensure that these crops are lost no more.

This book has been produced under the auspices of the Board on Science and Technology for International Development (BOSTID), National Research Council. It is a product of a special BOSTID program that is mandated to assess innovative scientific and technological advances, particularly emphasizing those appropriate for developing countries. Since its inception in 1970, this small program has produced 40 reports identifying unconventional scientific subjects of promise for developing countries. These have covered subjects as diverse as the water buffalo, butterfly farming, fast-growing trees, and techniques to provide more water for arid lands (see BOSTID Innovation Program, page 373).

Among these reports, the following provide information that directly complements the present report:

  • More Water for Arid Lands (1974)

  • Triticale: A Promising Addition to the World's Cereal Grains (1989)

  • Quality-Protein Maize (1988)

  • Amaranth: Modern Prospects for an Ancient Crop (1983)

  • Applications of Biotechnology to Traditional Fermented Foods (1992)

  • Ferrocement: Applications in Developing Countries (1973)

  • Neem: A Tree for Solving Global Problems (1992)

  • Vetiver: A Thin Green Line Against Erosion (1993).

Program and staff costs for this study were provided by the U.S. Agency for International Development. Specifically, these were

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 1996. Lost Crops of Africa: Volume I: Grains. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/2305.
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provided by the Office of Nutrition and the Office of the Science Advisor (both of the Bureau for Science and Technology), as well as the Bureau for Africa. The panel would like to acknowledge the special contribution of Norge W. Jerome, Director of the Office of Nutrition, 1988-1991, without whose initiative the project would not have been launched. Other AID personnel who made this work possible include Calvin Martin, Tim Resch, Dwight Walker, John Daly, Frances Davidson, and Ray Meyer.

General support for printing, publishing, and distributing the report has been provided by the Kellogg Endowment Fund of the National Academy of Sciences and the Institute of Medicine as well as from the Wallace Genetic Foundation. We especially want to thank Jean W. Douglas, a foundation director, for her trust and preserverance during this project's long gestation and difficult birth.

The contributions from all these sources are gratefully acknowledged.

How to cite this report:

National Research Council. 1996. Lost Crops of Africa. Volume I: Grains. National Academy Press, Washington, D.C.

Page xvii Cite
Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 1996. Lost Crops of Africa: Volume I: Grains. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/2305.
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NOTE ON TERMS

Throughout this book the word "Africa" always refers to Africa south of the Sahara. (The plants of North Africa are, biogenetically, part of the Mediterranean-Near East complex of plants, and so are mostly not native to the rest of Africa.) We have preferred to use English common names where possible, except in a few cases where they imply the plant pertains only to one country (for example, Egyptian lupin). Finally, because this book will be read and used in many regions beyond Africa, we have used the internationally accepted name "cassava" rather than its more common African name, "manioc," and "peanut" for "groundnut.''

Nutritional values are in most cases presented on a dry weight basis to eliminate moisture differences between samples.

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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 1996. Lost Crops of Africa: Volume I: Grains. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/2305.
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LOST CROP of AFRICA

volume I

Grains

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Next: Foreword »
Lost Crops of Africa: Volume I: Grains Get This Book
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Scenes of starvation have drawn the world's attention to Africa's agricultural and environmental crisis. Some observers question whether this continent can ever hope to feed its growing population. Yet there is an overlooked food resource in sub-Saharan Africa that has vast potential: native food plants.

When experts were asked to nominate African food plants for inclusion in a new book, a list of 30 species grew quickly to hundreds. All in all, Africa has more than 2,000 native grains and fruits--"lost" species due for rediscovery and exploitation.

This volume focuses on native cereals, including

  • African rice, reserved until recently as a luxury food for religious rituals.
  • Finger millet, neglected internationally although it is a staple for millions.
  • Fonio (acha), probably the oldest African cereal and sometimes called "hungry rice."
  • Pearl millet, a widely used grain that still holds great untapped potential.
  • Sorghum, with prospects for making the twenty-first century the "century of sorghum."
  • Tef, in many ways ideal but only now enjoying budding commercial production.
  • Other cultivated and wild grains.

This readable and engaging book dispels myths, often based on Western bias, about the nutritional value, flavor, and yield of these African grains.

Designed as a tool for economic development, the volume is organized with increasing levels of detail to meet the needs of both lay and professional readers. The authors present the available information on where and how each grain is grown, harvested, and processed, and they list its benefits and limitations as a food source.

The authors describe "next steps" for increasing the use of each grain, outline research needs, and address issues in building commercial production.

Sidebars cover such interesting points as the potential use of gene mapping and other "high-tech" agricultural techniques on these grains.

This fact-filled volume will be of great interest to agricultural experts, entrepreneurs, researchers, and individuals concerned about restoring food production, environmental health, and economic opportunity in sub-Saharan Africa.

Selection, Newbridge Garden Book Club

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