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.
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 underexploited 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 boidiversity 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
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.