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

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Suggested Citation:"BOSTID Publications." 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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BOSTID Publications

BOSTID manages programs with developing countries on behalf of the U.S. National Research Council. Reports published by BOSTID are sponsored in most instances by the U.S. Agency for International Development. They are intended for distribution to readers in developing countries who are affiliated with governmental, educational, or research institutions, and who have professional interest in the subject areas treated by the reports.

BOSTID Publications and Information Services (FO-2060Z)

National Research Council

2101 Constitution Avenue, N.W.

Washington, D.C. 20418 USA

Energy

33. Alcohol Fuels: Options for Developing Countries. 1983, 128 pp. Examines the potential for the production and utilization of alcohol fuels in developing countries. Includes information on various tropical crops and their conversion to alcohols through both traditional and novel processes. ISBN 0-309-04160-0.

36. Producer Gas: Another Fuel for Motor Transport. 1983, 112 pp. During World War II Europe and Asia used wood, charcoal, and coal to fuel over a million gasoline and diesel vehicles. However, the technology has since been virtually forgotten. This report reviews producer gas and its modern potential. ISBN 0-309-04161-9.

56. The Diffusion of Biomass Energy Technologies in Developing Countries. 1984, 120 pp. Examines economic, cultural, and political factors that affect the introduction of biomass-based energy technologies in developing countries. It includes information on the opportunities for these technologies as well as conclusions and recommendations for their application. ISBN 0-309-04253-4.

Technology Options

14. More Water for Arid Lands: Promising Technologies and Research Opportunities. 1974, 153 pp. Outlines little-known but promising technologies to supply and conserve water in arid areas. ISBN 0-30904151-1.

34. Priorities in Biotechnology Research for International Development: Proceedings of a Workshop. 1982, 261 pp. Report of a workshop

Suggested Citation:"BOSTID Publications." 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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organized to examine opportunities for biotechnology research in six areas: 1) vaccines, 2) animal production, 3) monoclonal antibodies, 4) energy, 5) biological nitrogen fixation, and 6) plant cell and tissue culture. ISBN 0-309-04256-9.

61. Fisheries Technologies for Developing Countries. 1987, 167 pp. Identifies newer technologies in boat building, fishing gear and methods, coastal mariculture, artificial reefs and fish aggregating devices, and processing and preservation of the catch. The emphasis is on practices suitable for artisanal fisheries. ISBN 0-309-04260-7.

73. Applications of Biotechnology to Traditional Fermented Foods. 1992, 207 pp. Microbial fermentations have been used to produce or preserve foods and beverages for thousands of years. New techniques in biotechnology allow better understanding of these transformations so that safer, more nutritious products can be obtained. This report examines new developments in traditional fermented foods. ISBN 0309-04685-8.

Plants

47. Amaranth: Modern Prospects for an Ancient Crop. 1983, 81 pp. Before the time of Cortez, grain amaranths were staple foods of the Aztec and Inca. Today this nutritious food has a bright future. The report discusses vegetable amaranths also. ISBN 0-309-04171-6.

53. Jojoba: New Crop for Arid Lands. 1985, 102 pp. In the last 10 years, the domestication of jojoba, a little-known North American desert shrub, has been all but completed. This report describes the plant and its promise to provide a unique vegetable oil and many likely industrial uses. ISBN 0-309-04251-8.

63. Quality-Protein Maize. 1988, 130 pp. Identifies the promise of a nutritious new form of the planet's third largest food crop. Includes chapters on the importance of maize, malnutrition and protein quality, experiences with quality-protein maize (QPM), QPM's potential uses in feed and food, nutritional qualities, genetics, research needs, and limitations. ISBN 0-309-04262-3.

64. Triticale: A Promising Addition to the World's Cereal Grains. 1988, 105 pp. Outlines the recent transformation of triticale, a hybrid between wheat and rye, into a food crop with much potential for many marginal lands. The report discusses triticale's history, nutritional quality,

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

breeding, agronomy, food and feed uses, research needs, and limitations. ISBN 0-309-04263-1.

70. Saline Agriculture: Salt-Tolerant Plants for Developing Countries. 1989, 150 pp. The purpose of this report is to create greater awareness of salt-tolerant plants and the special needs they may fill in developing countries. Examples of the production of food, fodder, fuel, and other products are included. Salt-tolerant plants can use land and water unsuitable for conventional crops and can harness saline resources that are generally neglected or considered as impediments to, rather than opportunities for, development. ISBN 0-309-04266-6.

74. Vetiver Grass: A Thin Green Line Against Erosion. 1992, 000 pp. Vetiver is a little-known grass that seems to offer a practical solution for controlling soil loss. Hedges of this deeply rooted species catch and hold back sediments. The stiff foliage acts as a filter that also slows runoff and keeps moisture on site, allowing crops to thrive when neighboring ones are desiccated. In numerous tropical locations, vetiver hedges have restrained erodible soils for decades and the grass—which is pantropical—has shown little evidence of weediness. ISBN 0-309-04269-0.

77. Lost Crops of Africa: Volume 1, Grains. (1995) Many people predict that Africa in the near future will not be able to feed its projected population. What is being overlooked, however, is that Africa has more than 2,000 native food plants, few of which are receiving research or recognition. This book describes the potentials of finger millet, fonio, pearl millet, sorghum, tef, and other cereal grains that are native to Africa.

Innovations in Tropical Forestry

35. Sowing Forests from the Air. 1981, 64 pp. Describes experiences with establishing forests by sowing tree seed from aircraft. Suggests testing and development of the techniques for possible use where forest destruction now outpaces reforestation. ISBN 0-309-04257-7.

41. Mangium and Other Fast-Growing Acacias for the Humid Tropics. 1983, 63 pp. Highlights 10 acacia species that are native to the tropical rain forest of Australasia. That they could become valuable forestry resources elsewhere is suggested by the exceptional performance of Acacia mangium in Malaysia. ISBN 0-309-04165-1.

42. Calliandra: A Versatile Small Tree for the Humid Tropics. 1983, 56

Suggested Citation:"BOSTID Publications." 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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pp. This Latin American shrub is being widely planted by villagers and government agencies in Indonesia to provide firewood, prevent erosion, provide honey, and feed livestock. ISBN 0-309-04166-X.

43. Casuarinas: Nitrogen-Fixing Trees for Adverse Sites. 1983, 118 pp. These robust, nitrogen-fixing, Australasian trees could become valuable resources for planting on harsh eroding land to provide fuel and other products. Eighteen species for tropical lowlands and highlands, temperate zones, and semiarid regions are highlighted. ISBN 0-309-04167-8.

52. Leucaena: Promising Forage and Tree Crop for the Tropics. 1984 (2nd edition), 100 pp. Describes a multipurpose tree crop of potential value for much of the humid lowland tropics. Leucaena is one of the fastest growing and most useful trees for the tropics. ISBN 0-309-04250-X.

71. Neem: A Tree for Solving Global Problems. 1992, 151 pp. The neem tree is potentially one of the most valuable of all trees. It shows promise for pest control, reforestation, and improving human health. Safe and effective pesticides can be produced from seeds. Neem can grow in arid and humid tropics and is a fast-growing source offuelwood. ISBN 0-309-04686-6.

Managing Tropical Animal Resources

32. The Water Buffalo: New Prospects for an Underutilized Animal. 1981, 188 pp. The water buffalo is performing notably well in recent trials in such unexpected places as the United States, Australia, and Brazil. Report discusses the animal's promise, particularly emphasizing its potential for use outside Asia. ISBN 0-309-04159-7.

44. Butterfly Farming in Papua New Guinea. 1983, 36 pp. Indigenous butterflies are being reared in Papua New Guinea villages in a formal government program that both provides a cash income in remote rural areas and contributes to the conservation of wildlife and tropical forests. ISBN 0-309-04168-6.

45. Crocodiles as a Resource for the Tropics. 1983, 60 pp. In most parts of the tropics, crocodilian populations are being decimated, but programs in Papua New Guinea and a few other countries demonstrate that, with care, the animals can be raised for profit while protecting the wild populations. ISBN 0-309-04169-4.

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

46. Little-Known Asian Animals with a Promising Economic Future. 1983, 133 pp. Describes banteng, madura, mithan, yak, kouprey, babirusa, javan warty pig, and other obscure but possibly globally useful wild and domesticated animals that are indigenous to Asia. ISBN 0-309-04170-8.

68. Microlivestock: Little-Known Small Animals with a Promising Economic Future. 1990, 449 pp. Discusses the promise of small breeds and species of livestock for Third World villages. Identifies more than 40 species, including miniature breeds of cattle, sheep, goats, and pigs; eight types of poultry; rabbits; guinea pigs and other rodents; dwarf deer and antelope; iguanas; and bees. ISBN 0-309-04265-8.

Health

49. Opportunities for the Control of Dracunculiasis. 1983, 65 pp. Dracunculiasis is a parasitic disease that temporarily disables many people in remote, rural areas in Africa, India, and the Middle East. Contains the findings and recommendations of distinguished scientists who were brought together to discuss dracunculiasis as an international health problem. ISBN 0-309-04172-4.

55. Manpower Needs and Career Opportunities in the Field Aspects of Vector Biology. 1983, 53 pp. Recommends ways to develop and train the manpower necessary to ensure that experts will be available in the future to understand the complex ecological relationships of vectors with human hosts and pathogens that cause such diseases as malaria, dengue fever, filariasis, and schistosomiasis. ISBN 0-309-04252-6.

60. U.S. Capacity to Address Tropical Infectious Diseases. 1987, 225 pp. Addresses U.S. manpower and institutional capabilities in both the public and private sectors to address tropical infectious disease problems. ISBN 0-309-04259-3.

Resource Management

50. Environmental Change in the West African Sahel. 1984, 96 pp. Identifies measures to help restore critical ecological processes and thereby increase sustainable production in dryland farming, irrigated agriculture, forestry and fuelwood, and animal husbandry. Provides baseline information for the formulation of environmentally sound projects. ISBN 0-309-04173-2.

51. Agroforestry in the West African Sahel. 1984, 86 pp. Provides

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

development planners with information regarding traditional agroforestry systems—their relevance to the modern Sahel, their design, social and institutional considerations, problems encountered in the practice of agroforestry, and criteria for the selection of appropriate plant species to be used. ISBN 0-309-04174-0.

72. Conserving Biodiversity: A Research Agenda for Development Agencies. 1992, 127 pp. Reviews the threat of loss of biodiversity and its context within the development process and suggests an agenda for development agencies. ISBN 0-309-04683-1.

Forthcoming Books from BOSTID

Lost Crops of Africa: Volume 2, Cultivated Fruits. (1996) This report details the underexploited promise of about a dozen native African fruits. Included are such species as baobab, butter fruit, horned melon, marula, and watermelon.

Foods of the Future: Volume 1, Promising Tropical Fruits. (1996) Of the more than 3,000 edible tropical fruits, only four—banana, pineapple, mango, and papaya—are major resources. This report will describe many more that could have significance for increasing worldwide food supplies, improving nutrition, adding new flavors to world cuisine, and boosting economic advancement.

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

ART CREDITS

Page

 

 

Duncan Vaughan, courtesy International Rice Research Institute, Los Baños, the Philippines

 

16, 37

 

 

E. Westphal

 

57

 

 

Folu M. Dania Gobe

 

75

 

 

U.S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of the Census

 

160

 

 

James Bruce (this drawing appears in the famous explorer's report of his historic penetration of Ethiopia in 1770)

 

214

 

 

Taylor Horst

 

219

 

 

Glenn Oakley (Photograph shows Wayne Carlson)

 

229

 

 

Victor Englebert

 

286

Drawings on pages 38, 144, 158, 236, and 250 are by Sara Joelle Hall and are reproduced (with permission) from Food from the Veld by F.W. Fox and M.E. Norwood Young, Delta Books (Pty) Ltd., South Africa.

Drawings on pages 143, 157, 175, 193, and 212 are by Vantage Art, Inc., and are reproduced (with permission) from the Fieldbook of Natural History, Second Edition. E. Laurence Palmer and H. Seymour Fowler. Copyright 1975 by McGraw-Hill, Inc.

Cover Design by David Bennett

Suggested Citation:"BOSTID Publications." 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:"BOSTID Publications." 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 page in the original is blank.
Suggested Citation:"BOSTID Publications." National Research Council. 1996. Lost Crops of Africa: Volume I: Grains. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/2305.
×
This page in the original is blank.
Suggested Citation:"BOSTID Publications." 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:"BOSTID Publications." 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:"BOSTID Publications." 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:"BOSTID Publications." 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:"BOSTID Publications." 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:"BOSTID Publications." 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:"BOSTID Publications." 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:"BOSTID Publications." 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:"BOSTID Publications." 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 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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