Front Cover
 Title Page
 Committee on African agricultural...
 Table of Contents
 Key problems in facing African...
 Agricultural systems
 Crop environment, soil and water...
 Grain legumes
 Roots, tubers and plantains
 Vegetables, fruits and nuts
 Selected beverages and kola
 Oil plants
 Tobacco and rubber
 Animal resources
 Pests and pathogens
 Systems studies
 Science policy for agriculture
 Institutions for agriculture...
 Conclusions and recommendation...
 Glossary of acronyms and abbre...
 Resource materials
 Back Cover
 Map of agricultural research centres...

Title: African agricultural research capabilities
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00096126/00001
 Material Information
Title: African agricultural research capabilities
Physical Description: xv, 221 p. : ill., map (fold. in pocket) ; 23 cm.
Language: English
Creator: National Research Council (U.S.) -- Committee on African Agricultural Research Capabilities
Publisher: National Academy of Sciences
Place of Publication: Washington, D.C.
Publication Date: 1974
Copyright Date: 1974
Subject: Agriculture -- Research -- Africa   ( lcsh )
Agriculture -- Africa   ( lcsh )
Genre: bibliography   ( marcgt )
non-fiction   ( marcgt )
Statement of Responsibility: Committee on African Agricultural Research Capabilities, Board on Agriculture and Renewable Resources of the Commission on Natural Resources and the Board on Science and Technology for International Development of the Commission on International Relations, National Research Council.
Bibliography: Bibliography: p. 203-205.
Additional Physical Form: Also issued online.
General Note: Includes index.
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00096126
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: oclc - 01085824
lccn - 74022370
isbn - 030902241X

Table of Contents
    Front Cover
        Page i
        Page i-a
        Page ii
    Title Page
        Page iii
        Page iv
        Page v
        Page vi
        Page vii
        Page viii
        Page ix
        Page xii
        Page xiii
    Committee on African agricultural research capabilities
        Page x
        Page xi
    Table of Contents
        Page xiv
        Page xv
        Page 1
        Page 2
        Page 3
        Page 4
    Key problems in facing African agriculture in the 1970's and projections to the year 2000
        Page 5
        Page 6
        Page 7
        Page 8
        Page 9
    Agricultural systems
        Page 10
        Page 11
        Page 12
        Page 13
        Page 14
        Page 15
        Page 16
        Page 17
        Page 18
    Crop environment, soil and water management
        Page 19
        Page 20
        Page 21
        Page 22
        Page 23
        Page 24
        Page 25
        Page 26
        Page 27
        Page 28
        Page 29
        Page 30
        Page 31
        Page 32
        Page 33
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        Page 35
        Page 36
        Page 37
        Page 38
        Page 39
        Page 40
        Page 41
        Page 42
        Page 43
        Page 44
        Page 45
        Page 46
        Page 47
        Page 48
        Page 49
        Page 50
        Page 51
        Page 52
        Page 53
        Page 54
    Grain legumes
        Page 55
        Page 56
        Page 57
        Page 58
        Page 59
        Page 60
        Page 61
        Page 62
        Page 63
    Roots, tubers and plantains
        Page 64
        Page 65
        Page 66
        Page 67
        Page 68
        Page 69
        Page 70
        Page 71
        Page 72
        Page 73
    Vegetables, fruits and nuts
        Page 74
        Page 75
        Page 76
        Page 77
        Page 78
        Page 79
        Page 80
        Page 81
        Page 82
        Page 83
        Page 84
        Page 85
        Page 86
    Selected beverages and kola
        Page 87
        Page 88
        Page 89
        Page 90
        Page 91
        Page 92
        Page 93
        Page 94
        Page 95
        Page 96
        Page 97
        Page 98
        Page 99
    Oil plants
        Page 100
        Page 101
        Page 102
        Page 103
        Page 104
        Page 105
        Page 106
        Page 107
        Page 108
        Page 109
        Page 110
    Tobacco and rubber
        Page 111
        Page 112
        Page 113
        Page 114
        Page 115
        Page 116
        Page 117
        Page 118
    Animal resources
        Page 119
        Page 120
        Page 121
        Page 122
        Page 123
        Page 124
        Page 125
        Page 126
        Page 127
        Page 128
        Page 129
        Page 130
        Page 131
        Page 132
        Page 133
    Pests and pathogens
        Page 134
        Page 135
        Page 136
        Page 137
        Page 138
        Page 139
        Page 140
        Page 141
        Page 142
        Page 143
        Page 144
    Systems studies
        Page 145
        Page 146
        Page 147
        Page 148
        Page 149
        Page 150
    Science policy for agriculture
        Page 151
        Page 152
        Page 153
        Page 154
        Page 155
        Page 156
        Page 157
        Page 158
        Page 159
        Page 160
        Page 161
        Page 162
        Page 163
        Page 164
        Page 165
    Institutions for agriculture research
        Page 166
        Page 167
        Page 168
        Page 169
        Page 170
        Page 171
        Page 172
        Page 173
        Page 174
        Page 175
        Page 176
        Page 177
        Page 178
        Page 179
        Page 180
        Page 181
        Page 182
        Page 183
        Page 184
        Page 185
    Conclusions and recommendations
        Page 186
        Page 187
        Page 188
        Page 189
        Page 190
        Page 191
        Page 192
        Page 193
        Page 194
        Page 195
        Page 196
        Page 197
        Page 198
    Glossary of acronyms and abbreviations
        Page 199
        Page 200
        Page 201
        Page 202
        Page 203
        Page 204
        Page 205
        Page 206
    Resource materials
        Page 207
        Page 208
        Page 209
        Page 210
        Page 211
        Page 212
        Page 213
        Page 214
        Page 215
        Page 216
        Page 217
        Page 218
        Page 219
        Page 220
        Page 221
        Page 222
        Page 223
        Page 224
    Back Cover
        Page 225
        Page 226
    Map of agricultural research centres and stations in Africa South of Sahara
Full Text





Committee on African Agricultural Research Capabilities
of the
and the
of the
National Research Council


NOTICE: The project which is the subject of this report was approved by the Governing Board
of the National Research Council, acting in behalf of the National Academy of Sciences. Such
approval reflects the Board's judgment that the project is of national importance and appro-
priate with respect to both the purposes and resources of the National Research Council.
The members of the committee selected to undertake this project and prepare this report
were chosen for recognized scholarly competence and with due consideration for the balance
of disciplines appropriate to the project. Responsibility for the detailed aspects of this report
rests with that committee.
Each report issuing from a study committee of the National Research Council is reviewed
by an independent group of qualified individuals according to procedures established and
monitored by the Report Review Committee of the National Academy of Sciences. Distri-
bution of the report is approved, by the President of the Academy, upon satisfactory com-
pletion of the review process.

This study was supported by the United States
Agency for International Development
under Contract No. AID/csd-2584, Task Order No. 7.

Library of Congress Cataloging in Publication Data

National Research Council. Committee on African Agricultural Research Capabilities.
African agricultural research capabilities.

Bibliography: p.
1. Agricultural research-Africa. 2. Agriculture-Africa. I. National Academy of Sciences,
Washington, D.C. II. Title.
S535.A2C63 1974 630'.7'2067 74-22370
ISBN 0-3Q9-02241-X

Available from
Printing and Publishing Office, National Academy of Sciences
2101 Constitution Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20418

Printed in the United States of America

FRONTISPIECE: African pastoralist, Jos, Nigeria.


The wave of independence that swept over Africa during the 1950's
and 1960's brought to light new and urgent problems toward which
African agricultural research should be directed. In one way, continental
agricultural research was less complicated before independence. Then,
governments of the three principal colonial powers could organize re-
search within their groups of colonies without regard to African politi-
cal boundaries; thus, they could more easily design attacks on problems
affecting broad ecological zones, such as the savanna or the tropical rain
forest. Important elements of this intercolonial superstructure have now
dissolved, and each new nation must now struggle individually to orga-
nize and carry out its own agricultural research and find new ways of
working in cooperation with other African nations to realize its research
This situation offers an obvious opportunity for international re-
search organizations. They can, for example, take responsibility for
work that extends beyond the scope of a single African nation and help
ensure that various intracontinental efforts reinforce, rather than dupli-
cate or compete with, one another. However, the situation also creates
a problem for donor agencies in deciding how to allocate resources for
African agricultural research among the various independent nations.
Hence, the need to establish priorities.


An early effort to assess needs in the context of independence began
in 1959. In that year, the United States International Cooperation Ad-
ministrator, the predecessor of the United States Agency for Interna-
tional Development (USAID), asked the National Academy of Sciences
(NA S) to advise on the scientific, technological and educational needs
of the newly formed African nations. Rural development and agricul-
tural research were important components of the study that resulted
(NAS, 1959). A steering committee created for the study grew into
NA S's Africa Science Board.
During the 1960's the education of African scientists moved apace.
Africans themselves for the first time were able to participate in agri-
cultural research on an international level in establishing needs and
priorities. In earlier research efforts, few Africans had been trained or
employed even as technicians. In 1968 the Africa Science Board, with
the cooperation of African governments and the Food and Agriculture
Organization (FAO) of the United Nations and the support of USAID,
organized an international conference on agricultural research priorities
at Abidjan, Ivory Coast (NAS, 1968). The conference was attended by
about 200 persons from 32 countries of sub-Saharan Africa, North
America, Europe and Asia, as well as from key international organiza-
tions. Though the conference did not rigorously order priorities, its 11
commissions identified critical problems requiring intensified research
and political initiative.
Delegates to the Abidjan conference saw a need for a permanent
forum of agricultural scientists transcending institutional and govern-
mental affiliation that could objectively consider research priorities.
To fill this need they formed the Association for the Advancement of
Agricultural Sciences in Africa (A A ASA), which held a general assem-
bly in 1971 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
Just prior to that, in 1970, in response to USAID's request for the
present study the Office of the Foreign Secretary and the Agricultural
Board of the National Academy of Sciences/National Research Council
appointed a steering committee for the present study. The steering
committee helped select the Committee on African Agricultural Re-
search Capabilities, which prepared the present report. The Committee
was composed of 17 members from Africa, Europe and North America
(see list on p. x). They represented a wide range of organizations and
of disciplines in the agricultural sciences and brought to the group a
broad fund of experience across Africa. In the course of its work, the
Committee drew heavily on the knowledge and opinions of the com-
munity of African scientists and of many other colleagues around the
world as well as on its own expertise.


At the outset,/the steering committee established goals for this study:

To review and rearrange the agricultural research and educational
priorities for Africa, or, if necessary, establish altogether new priorities
to enable agricultural science to make its maximum contribution to the
development goals for Africa. The development goals are identified in
recent national and international studies, such as the FAO Provisional
Indicative World Plan for Agricultural Development (F AO, 1969a) and
the report of the 1968 Abidjan conference (NAS, 1968).
To determine the appropriate role of non-African agencies in the
coordination of agricultural research and education within Africa and,
where advisable, to determine the specific subject areas and physical
locations for these non-African agencies. No coordinating efforts are
to be planned, of course, which might encroach on the developing con-
tributions of African institutions and the desires of the African peoples.
To suggest appropriate channels of communication and coopera-
tion among nations and institutions-inside and outside Africa-in
agricultural research and education.
To outline the means by which research and education can be ap-
plied most effectively to African agricultural development.
To make a broad assessment of the scientific manpower needs of
the research systems and institutions recommended by the Committee,
to review African scientific personnel now available for this purpose,
to identify scientific manpower gaps and needs, and to establish man-
power priorities.

In April 1971 the Committee outlined the topics it believed the study
should cover. In September 1971 it refined that outline, and in the
same month it convened in Addis Ababa specifically to allow its mem-
bers to converse with the 129 agricultural scientists, representing 20
African countries and 8 European and North American countries, at-
tending the AAASA conference. By December the Committee had
developed a preliminary draft of the report. In March 1972 it held its
fourth session at The Rockefeller Foundation Conference Center at
Bellagio, Italy; its fifth and final meeting took place in April 1973 in
Dakar, Senegal.
Several surveys and studies conducted by other agencies in 1970
and 1971 relate closely to this project. Those that have been particu-
larly useful are listed below:

The series of 15 seminars sponsored jointly (from January 1970
through July 1971) by the Ford Foundation, the Institut de Recherches


Agronomiques Tropicales et des Cultures Vivrieres (IRAT) and the In-
ternational Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA). Among other
topics, these seminars covered quantitative and qualitative improvement
of food crop production, improvement of traditional African agricul-
tural systems, and mechanization in African agriculture. (The seminars
will be published by IITA under the title Food Crops of the Lowland
The IITA research program for the humid tropics of Africa and
the scrutiny of it by distinguished review panels.
The FAO Conference on the establishment of Cooperative Agri-
cultural Research Programs between Countries with Similar Ecological
Conditions-Guinean Zone, Africa (FAO, 1971 b). This conference was
held in Ibadan, Nigeria, in August 1971 in cooperation with the Ford
Foundation and IITA. A similar conference on the Sudanian zone was
held in 1968 (FAO, 1969b).
The papers of the 1971 meeting, already mentioned, of the
The reports of three NAS-sponsored projects-the Committee on
Tropical Soils, the Ghana Workshop, and the Congo Workshop. (NAS,
1972, 197 lb, 197 la). In its report Soils of the Humid Tropics (NAS,
1972), the Committee on Tropical Soils identified knowledge gaps and
established research priorities for the topic of African soil productivity.
The Ghana Workshop, held in Accra in January 1971, looked at agri-
cultural research as it affects agricultural policy in Ghana and the means
by which the results of research can have an impact on farmers' prac-
tices. The Congo Workshop, held in Kinshasa in June 1971, led to an
agreement for organizing a team of economists to assess agricultural
research opportunities as they can be brought to bear on economic
development under the government's Five Year Plan. The workshop
also recommended a nationwide study of needs and deficits of food
and key nutrients such as proteins and of ways to overcome them.

Many agencies have organized ad hoc task forces to undertake in-
depth studies of aspects of African agricultural development, notably
livestock development, control of livestock development, control of
livestock diseases, and improvement of upland crops such as sorghum,
the millets and grain legumes. These studies stem from recognition by
the Consultative Group for International Agricultural Research
(CGIAR)-a consortium of national and international aid and develop-
ment agencies and philanthropic organizations-of the need to intensify
agricultural research on a worldwide basis.
Other publications which have provided useful insights and helpful
guidelines are listed at the close of this report.


The NAS Committee on African Agricultural Research Capabilities
is fully aware of the magnitude of the task it faced and of its short-
comings in trying to perform it. The Committee hopes, however, that
it has satisfied to some degree the terms of reference assigned to it and
that the report will be of basic interest to agriculturalists, planners and
policymakers in aid-giving and aid-receiving nations, and in the inter-
national agencies, who are concerned with the development of African
In addition, the Committee hopes that the report will stimulate the
growth of an integrated agricultural research system in Africa. Such a
system will maximize linkages and cooperation among international
and national research efforts and will produce a more rational distri-
bution of research functions.
Finally, the Committee hopes that this report will suggest opportuni-
ties to USAID and to similar agencies of other countries for applying
their resources in support of research for African agricultural develop-

John J. McKelvey, Jr., Chairman
Committee on African Agricultural Research Capabilities


The members of the Committee and the consultants relied on many col-
leagues and associates for advice and for help not only in assembling the
basic material for the report but in the preparation and the review of
the manuscript as well. The Committee wishes to express its apprecia-
tion to these persons and especially to: Dr. Louis Sauger, Director of
the Centre National de Recherches Agronomiques de Bambey, I RAT,
Senegal, who provided much information on the progress of agricultural
research in French speaking parts of West Africa and offered construc-
tive criticism on the report; Dr. W. O. Jones, formerly Director, Food
Research Institute, Stanford University, who gave special attention to
the root crops, cassava in particular; Dr. R. W. Cummings, agricultural
economist, The Rockefeller Foundation, who made helpful suggestions
with respect to farming systems, agricultural systems, and the conclu-
sions; and Michael M. Harrison, plant breeder, IITA, who suggested im-
portant alterations in the chapter on cereals. The Committee thanks
Lowell S. Hardin, The Ford Foundation; D. Wynne Thorne, Utah State
University; and Nels Konnerup, USA ID, for their basic suggestions
which have been incorporated in the report.
The Committee is greatly indebted to Charles Pepper, who assisted
with structural and organizational problems in the early stages of pre-
paring the report; Josephine F. McKelvey who helped with editorial



and reference matters prior to the submission of the report to the edi-
torial staff of the National Academy of Sciences; Donna W. Shipley,
editor, and the secretarial staff of the National Academy of Sciences
who spent many hours in the preparation of the drafts and of the final
Dr. Joyce C. Torio, Staff Officer, Board on Agricultural and Re-
newable Resources, to whom her husband, Mr. Dan Torio, gave valu-
able assistance, worked tirelessly in all aspects of the administrative
and scientific development of the study; the Committee owes her an
especially deep debt of gratitude. Dr. M. G. C. McDonald Dow, De-
puty Director, Board on Science and Technology for International
Development, assisted professionally and expedited the completion
of this report.


JOHN J. McKELVEY, JR. (Chairman), The Rockefeller Foundation
(New York, U.S.A.)
RALPH W. CUMMINGS (Vice Chairman), International Crops Research Institute
for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) (Hyderabad, India)
HERBERT R. ALBRECHT, International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (ITTA)
(Ibadan, Nigeria)
GLENN H. BECK, Kansas State University, Manhattan (U.S.A.)
A. H. BUNTING, University of Reading (England)
GUY C. CAMUS, Office de la Recherche Scientifique et Technique Outre-Mer
(ORSTOM) (Paris, France)
MATTHEW DAGG, Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria (Nigeria)
RENE F. E. DEVRED, United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization
(Rome, Italy)
w. DAVID HOPPER, International Development Research Center (Ottawa,
ROBERT K. A. GARDINER, United Nations Economic Commission for Africa
(Addis Ababa, Ethiopia)
GLENN L. JOHNSON, Michigan State University, East Lansing (U.S.A.)
FRED D. MAURER, Texas A&M University, College Station (U.S.A.)
THOMAS R. ODHIAM BO, International Center of Insect Physiology and Ecology
(Nairobi, Kenya)
VICTOR A. OYENUGA, University of Ibadan (Nigeria)
GEORGE F. SPRAGUE, University of Illinois, Urbana (U.S.A.)
JOHN C. deWILDE, International Bank for Reconstruction and Development
(Washington, D.C., U.S.A.)
MONTAGUE YUDELMAN, International Bank for Reconstruction and Develop-
ment (Washington, D.C., U.S.A.)

J. C. TORIO (Staff Officer), Board on Agricultural and Renewable Resources,
National Academy of Sciences (Washington, D.C., U.S.A.)


J. N. ABAELU, University of Ife (Nigeria)
J. AUDIBERT, Office of the Secretary of Foreign Affairs (France)
JEAN-PHILIPPE BRAUDEAU, Institut Frangais du Cafe, du Cacao et Autres
Plantes Stimulantes (IFCC)
F. BOUR, Socidet d'Aide Technique et de Coop6ration (SATEC) and Institut
de Recherches Agronomiques Tropicales et des Cultures Vivridres (IRAT)
J. L. BOUTILLIER, Office de la Recherche Scientifique et Technique Outre-Mer
J. G. BOUYCHOU, Institut de Recherches sur le Caoutchouc en Afrique (IRCA)
J. CUILLE, Institut Francais de Recherches Fruitieres Outre-Mer (IFAC)
R. K. DAVIDSON, The Rockefeller Foundation (New York, U.S.A.)
CARL K. EICHER, Michigan State University, East Lansing (U.S.A.); formerly
Director, Economic Development Institute, University of Nigeria
FREDERIC FOURNIER, Office de la Recherche Scientifique et Technique
Outre-Mer (ORSTOM)
DOUGLAS D. HEDLEY, Economics Branch, Department of Agriculture (Ottawa,
G. K. HELLEINER, University of Toronto (Canada); formerly of the University
of Dar es Salaam (Tanzania)
JOHN L. NICKEL, International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA)
MICHAEL OLLAGNIER, Institut de Recherche pour les Huiles et Oldagineux
JEAN R. A. PAGOT, International Livestock Center for Africa (ILCA)
(Addis Ababa, Ethiopia)
RENAUD PAULIAN, Groupement d'Etudes et de Recherches pour le Ddveloppe-
ment de l'Agronomie Tropicale, Acaddmie d'Amiens (GERDAT)
JEAN-BAPTISTE ROUX, Institut de Recherches du Coton et des Textiles
Exotiques (IRCT)
ORDWAY STARNES, The Rockefeller Foundation, Nairobi, Kenya
WENDELL G. SWANK, United Nations Development Program/Food and
Agriculture Organization Kenya Wildlife Management Project
T. AJIBOLA TAYLOR, University of Ibadan (Nigeria)
GUY J. VALLAEYS, Institut de Recherches Agronomiques Tropicales et des
Cultures Vivridres (IRAT)


Introduction 1
I Key Problems Facing African Agriculture in the 1970's
and Projections to the Year 2000 5
II Agricultural Systems 10
III Crop Environment, Soil and Water Management 19
IV Cereals 29
V Grain Legumes 55
VI Roots, Tubers and Plantains 64
VII Vegetables, Fruits and Nuts 74
VIII Sugarcane 83
IX Selected Beverages and Kola 87
X Fibers 94
XI Oil Plants 100
XII Tobacco and Rubber 111

XIII Animal Resources 119
XIV Pests and Pathogens 134
XV Systems Studies 145
XVI Science Policy for Agriculture 151
XVII Communications 159
XVIII Institutions for Agriculture Research 166
XIX Manpower 177
XX Conclusions and Recommendations 186
Glossary of Acronyms and Abbreviations 199
References 203
Resource Materials 207
Index 209
Map of Agricultural Research Centres and inside
Stations in Africa South of Sahara back cover


This study essays an answer to an apparently simple question-In the
diverse and changing circumstances of tropical Africa today, how can
agricultural science and specifically agricultural research contribute
most effectively to the progress of the African nations and peoples?
Africa has long had a network of research stations (see MAP, inside
back cover), producing results equal to those achieved in many other
parts of the world. African investigations led to ridding some areas
of the continent of the deadly tsetse flies. In addition, research in Africa
on the biology of locusts made possible their containment in limited
areas of East Africa. Local agricultural research provided a high-yield
cotton with long staple fibers, which competed successfully for mar-
kets with other cotton-producing countries. African studies of pests and
diseases affecting the cocoa industry yielded enormous benefits. Other
local research efforts dealt effectively with the problems of African
producers of oil palm, groundnuts and other important products.
Much of this research, however, was directed toward commercial
agriculture and, therefore, chiefly benefited plantation owners or for-
eign companies. Little was done, for example, to improve the yield of
food crops without international commercial significance or to remedy
the problems of African small farmers and herdsmen. There were excep-
tions, of course, to this general rule, such as the very effective work
with the cassava, a staple in the diet of millions of Africans. African re-
search produced varieties that were resistant to the virus mosaic disease.
Yet, there is room for much more research of this kind.


To be sure, investigations along well-established technical lines can
still be fruitful. Studies of the use of sterile male flies for example, may
clear large new areas of tsetse. Work on the hormones that control the
length of locusts' wings, a factor which governs the transition of this
pest to the migratory phase, will further strengthen locust control. If
Africa is to maintain its competitive position and satisfy increasing
needs of the textile industry, cotton research must be continued; like-
wise, vigilance is necessary against new outbreaks of cocoa disease and
cocoa pests.
On the other hand, Africa and African agriculture are changing fast,
and African agricultural research must rearrange its priorities to accom-
modate the new needs of the African people. During the past 20 years,
almost all of Africa-from the Orange and Limpopo rivers to the Sa-
hara-has become politically independent. Territories formerly con-
trolled by three foreign powers now constitute 30 new African states,
with different environments, resources, peoples, languages, historical
traditions and international associations.
The economies of the African states are changing also, and the size
of agriculture's contribution to them is growing rapidly. More and more
farming and pastoral communities are raising crops and stock for sale.
Some small farmers have even become modern producers, specializing
in a single "cash crop," and have given up subsistence farming alto-
gether. The roads, railways, harbors, water and power supplies, and in-
put and output delivery systems necessary to support these changes are
constantly being extended.
Populations are increasing rapidly as improvements in health and
other conditions enable more babies to survive and their parents to live
longer. Though the towns continue to grow in size, the absolute num-
ber of rural people seems likely to increase for most tropical African
nations for many years to come.
The social consequences of this growth are far-reaching. Africa, like
other continents, is now experiencing the easier travel, greater educa-
tional opportunities, greater contact with markets and population
shifts from rural to urban areas that have been altering life for many
years. A new cadre of leaders, drawn from many different backgrounds
and traditions, provides professional and administration services. Simul-
taneously, a new urban working class-largely underemployed and
partly unemployed-presents another facet of the shape of things to
come, as the flow of goods between agricultural and nonagricultural
sectors swells the manufacturing and service sectors of African national
and regional economies.
For the immediate future, however, most tropical African economies


will continue to rely on agriculture. The new role of agriculture will re-
quire an expanding and changing base of knowledge, including knowl-
edge of the environment-the organisms that live in it (useful and other-
wise), the systems in and by which these organisms can be managed-
and of the economic and social facts of life in the rapidly changing
African societies. In other words, more, different and, if possible,
better agricultural research will be essential.


Key Problems Facing African

Agriculture in the 1970's and

Projections to the Year 2000

Three key problems of African agriculture stand out as needing imme-
diate attention: (1) how to increase food output and improve nutrition;
(2) how to help alleviate the uneven economic development that occurs
between farm and nonfarm sectors of the economies of African nations;
and (3) how to formulate a policy that will ensure that agricultural re-
search works in the best interests not only of the individual African
nation, but also of the region in which that nation is situated and of the
continent of Africa as a whole. The solutions to these key problems
are interrelated.

Substantial shortages of food and inadequate nutrition affect millions
of people in Africa. Those people living in marginally productive regions
of Africa often experience local food shortages and sometimes suffer
from hunger gaps-witness the persistent drought which, during the
past several years, has been plaguing the tier of countries bordering the
Sahara Desert in West Africa and which culminated in disaster condi-
tions in 1973-1974. Throughout Africa, people of certain social groups


and geographical regions-the humid tropics, especially-need more pro-
tein. Among those most vulnerable to this type of malnutrition are
pregnant and nursing mothers, children and the aged.
Agricultural science must bear the overwhelming responsibility for
overcoming these inadequacies. Inevitably, population growth increases
the burden. Some areas, such as the savanna of Africa where soils are
poor and rainfall is light, have trouble supporting a relatively small popu-
lation. Others, such as eastern Nigeria and parts of the East African
highlands, are as crowded as some parts of Asia. Not only is the abso-
lute number of rural people likely to increase substantially in the fore-
seeable future, but the growth rate itself is at 2.2-2.6 percent per year
for most African countries.
One research goal, then, is to increase agricultural production,
whether for subsistence living, for the market economy, or both. Clearly
agricultural production must increase much more rapidly than the popu-
lation if the present standard of living is to be maintained. The discov-
ery of new marketable agricultural commodities is a subsidiary effort
in research to increase food output as the sale of these would help en-
hance the purchasing power of rural people and, theoretically, enable
them to be better fed. The second absolutely essential goal is better nu-
trition. Standards must be set for what constitutes a balanced African
diet, and, in many cases, the nutritional value of the food that is con-
sumed must be improved to meet the standards.
To some extent, the protein deficit in Africa might be reduced by
breeding more and better protein into cereal varieties (see Chapter IV),
but grain legumes (see Chapter V), because they start with a better pro-
tein base, would seem to offer an even better opportunity for increasing
the protein intake of people living in the tropics. Cassava, sweet pota-
toes and yams-foods favored over much of the humid tropics where
cereals grow poorly-present good research possibilities for obtaining
greater yields and higher nutritional value (see Chapter VI). As the
urban population increases in size and affluence, its demand for stan-
dard fruits and vegetables (see Chapter VII) will undoubtedly rise; re-
search directed toward growing them in the neighborhood of the cities
will then be necessary. Rural populations, on the other hand, would
benefit from research on the less well-known local vegetables and fruits
that are important to their diet.
One way of providing better quality proteins, of course, is to make
animal products more widely available at less cost. Technological im-
provements in livestock and forage production, disease control, and
transportation and processing of these products are necessary. Reduced


feed costs from improvements in cereal production should also help ex-
pand supplies of livestock and poultry products.
Agricultural science's responsibility for improving the nutrition of
the African people is a shared responsibility. Other disciplines, such as
public health and education, and factors, such as the levels and distribu-
tion of incomes, bear significantly on the nutrition problem.
For example, to pursue certain agricultural goals may endanger the
health of farmers and others. To grow paddy rice or to expand the area
of paddy rice culture in parts of West Africa where malaria is wide-
spread may create conditions that lead to greater incidence of this dis-
ease among the people in that area. To increase the area planted in up-
land rice, sorghums or the millets in the upper reaches of the Volta
River basin may expose greater numbers of people to the black flies
along the river banks that transmit river blindness. Impounding water
for irrigating lands where schistosomiasis, borne by a water snail, is
endemic can increase the chances that field-workers will contract that
disease. To associate cattle with game animals in the same rangelands
may mean the cattle will suffer from trypanosomiasis, known also as
nagana, where tsetse flies prevail and transmit the disease that debili-
tates and kills the cattle. Large increases in agricultural production are
possible in regions where health hazards exist, but only if proper health
measures are taken to protect human beings and their livestock from
Nutritional research must be complemented with education if avail-
able nutrients are to be put to efficient use. Traditional ways of prepar-
ing food may waste significant amounts of its protein content and re-
quire excessive amounts of time and energy that could be better used
for other purposes. Social attitudes may prevent other valuable foods
from being used. Promoting better ways of feeding pregnant women,
children and the ill is a function of education. A complementary ap-
proach for the agricultural scientists, in this case food technologists,
would be to discover new ways to prepare food that would meet the
aesthetic demands of the people as well as raise the nutritional stan-
dards of the final product.
Levels and distribution of income profoundly affect the kinds of
food that people will eat and grow. People with large incomes prefer
rice and other cereals. As incomes increase, demand for these grains
will grow, intensifying the need for research on them. Rising incomes
will also enable Africans to buy more meat, milk and eggs, thus rein-
forcing the need for research to increase low-cost output.
In summary, improvements in health and education and enhancement


of income must accompany agricultural development if people are to
have adequate food and good nutrition.

Economic development in tropical Africa has led to unbalanced growth,
resulting in an increasingly skewed distribution of income, migration to
select (primarily urban) areas, and growing urban underemployment
and unemployment. But there are positive aspects to this development.
For example, a precondition of general progress in Africa is the inter-
action that emerges from the polarity of economic life between farm
and nonfarm sectors. Correctly managed, this interaction appears to of-
fer a practicable general way forward from the poverty and stagnation
of traditional rural life. Within this course to progress, agricultural de-
velopment-necessarily based on productive technology-must play a
leading part.
Migration from country to town takes place everywhere, but its oc-
currence in Africa is among the highest in the world. The cities are over-
burdened by this sudden influx of people, many of whom are poor.
More research is necessary before the social and economic reasons for
this migration and its consequences can be understood. In general, how-
ever, migration is encouraged by "pull" and "push" factors. "Pull"
factors in the cities include high money wages and increased social
amenities relative to those available in the rural areas. "Push" factors in
the countryside include the lack of medical services, education facilities
and employment opportunities. The economic security of the African
small farmer is further threatened by low income. Part of the reason for
these low incomes is the low productivity of farm families. Seasonal un-
employment of farmers is a serious problem. During the long dry season
in the Sudanian and Saharan zones farmers and their families have vir-
tually nothing to do unless they have livestock or can work in small in-
dustries. More research applied toward generating employment and lift-
ing the productivity of low income groups in rural areas is needed to
raise incomes and slow migration.
However, even under the best of circumstances, migration will con-
tinue, and increasing numbers of people will enter the urban labor mar-
ket. A high proportion of these will have to be employed in those indus-
trial and service sectors that are linked to agricultural production. Re-
search that leads to a general rise in agricultural productivity will help
increase employment. At the same time, the research on food crops
proposed in this report should improve the welfare of those who re-
main in agriculture-especially the lower income groups-and so con-


tribute to reducing the maldistribution of income and minimize the un-
even development of urban and rural areas.

A sound agricultural policy, correctly articulated with the national de-
velopment policy as a whole, is essential if the national goals are to in-
crease food output, improve nutrition and cope with the interaction of
economic life between farm and nonfarm sectors. A key component of
this policy is obviously scientific, for it will be impossible to respond to
national growth needs without the wise use of science in developing the
biological, human, social and economic resources of the African nations.
Agricultural science policy must ensure that (1) necessary knowledge,
new and old, is available; (2) a sufficient number of men and women are
properly trained to serve a modern, science-oriented agricultural indus-
try in the laboratories, the classrooms, extension divisions and fields;
(3) agricultural research and education programs are properly designed
and implemented; and (4) appropriate institutions for agricultural re-
search, extension and development are established and operate effec-
The attitudes of local government toward research are crucial in the
development of such a policy. Strengthening existing African research
institutions; creating new ones where necessary and advisable; support-
ing faculties of agriculture in the training and education of manpower
for research; and developing appropriate means of communication
among researchers, administrators and farmers constitute some of the
most important facets of such a policy. The recommendations of this
report will center on these issues.


Agricultural Systems

Isolated technical or economic advances alone do not solve major prob-
lems. Nowhere is this lesson better shown than in Africa's experience
with the Green Revolution. Achieving a significant advance here re-
quired not only the specific development of improved seed but changes
in the overall network of systems that (1) produce farm products; (2)
supply the modern input and factors of production that carry the new
technologies; (3) market, transport and retail farm products; (4) regu-
late, control, tax and/or subsidize farming and agribusiness activities;
and (5) shape and control the developing patterns of resource owner-
ship and hence of income distribution. A shortcoming in any of these
areas lessens the effectiveness of work in any or all of the other areas.
Reduced to its simplest terms this is the concept of a package of prac-
tices. Good seeds with fertilizer, good agronomic practices with appro-
priate technology, the application of insecticides to protect improved
varieties in concert constitute the package of practices that gave the
quantum jump in productivity characterized as the Green Revolution.
Our specific examination of research needs and capabilities, therefore,
begins with a discussion of the systems that make up or embrace agri-

At the most basic level, agricultural systems are assemblages of plants,
wild or domesticated. Human beings utilize these plants directly, or


secondarily, through animals. The receipt, loss and balance of radiation,
water, carbon dioxide and plant nutrients regulate the output of such
assemblages. In the semiarid tropics, and even in many temperate areas,
crops have to be managed to concentrate the use of available water and
other environmental components so that single crops can be grown and
marketed within the most favorable short season of two to four months.
In most temperate regions growth is restricted by cold; in the tropics it
is restricted by drought. Growth in the tropics is possible without irri-
gation only when rainfall exceeds evaporation-the opposite of the rain-
fall and evaporation regime in the temperate zones.
Study of plant assemblages as chemical, physical and biological sys-
tems provides a base for measuring how closely actual production ap-
proaches its potential. This comparison indicates what environmental or
biological factors may be limiting production and so points to more
effective ways for managing the environment. Even at these basic levels,
the wants and needs of man are important. The value to human beings
of what goes into the system and what emerges from it are crucial in
determining the value of different possible systems.

In the single crop or livestock system the crop, the crop association or
animal species constitutes an enterprise. If a farmer raised cotton, cattle
and a variety of subsistence crops, for instance, the cotton and each of
the other crops and types of animals would be considered a separate
enterprise within this system. The results of studies of potential produc-
tivity and yield at the biological level determine the level of conven-
tional agronomic research. Here, the object of systems studies is to
build a matrix of information from which the optimum mixes of inputs
for a single enterprise (crop) can be computed for all mixes of prices
likely to be experienced by the unit of the next higher system, the
Much excellent agronomic work has been done in tropical Africa,
particularly on export crops. Too much of it, particularly on food
crops, has been limited by an assumption that only the range of inputs
used in traditional subsistence systems can be considered.
To make such research useful for systems studies, four features are

1. The effects of variable technical factors and inputs-fertilizers,
manures, protection chemicals, water, time (as in sowing date experi-
ments) and space (as in studies of density, arrangement or stocking in-


tensity)-must be studied at enough levels to define the relations of
changes in factors and inputs to changes in output.
2. Since factors do not operate alone, all but the initial experiments
in a program should probably be designed so that interactions between
factors (variety and nutrition, for example) can be detected and mea-
3. The capital and recurrent costs, as well as the predictable returns
for individual technical inputs, must be reliably known.
4. The overall effect of variations due to technical factors and
power* requirements, including the amount of human labor employed,
must be measured, or at least reliably estimated.

At the management unit level, a farm family assembles individual enter-
prises into systems. The family may not be able to allocate to each crop
(or enterprise) all the resources necessary to achieve the greatest possi-
ble yield. The family must therefore use its resources as best it can to
maximize the return from the farm system as a whole.
Factors that may influence management unit level decisions include
cost constraints (such as costs of labor and other sources of power, base
costs, etc.) physical constraints (such as seasonal variations in the labor
supply, variations in the health and nutrition of the laborers, etc.) and
cultural restraints (attitudes toward the land, attitudes about the way
labor should be divided between men and women, for example, or be-
tween residents and migrants or between different sorts of people in the
society). Studies of these factors can identify the points where extra
power or better equipment would most effectively increase the total
volume of productive work for the year and thus the number of people
the system can maintain.
The agronomist's first contribution toward improving farm systems is
made through definition of the requirements and the predictable re-
sponses of individual crops. These can then be studied in combination
through the multifactorial rotation experiment, including livestock as
well as crops where appropriate. Such experiments are large and costly
and usually must continue for several years. They must, therefore, be

*Power, in the sense used here, can be supplied by the labor of men and women, by draft ani-
mals or by machines.
tA multifactorial rotation experiment is one that includes a number of different types of treat-
ments-different types of crop rotation sequence, dates of planting, fertilizer, etc.-to iden-
tify which treatment is most appropriate for the particular farming conditions.


flexible in design so as to be easily altered as early ideas become less
relevant and new possibilities emerge. Experiments with two consecu-
tive crops can help to identify technically undersirable sequences. Rota-
tion experiments should include the same four general features as the
enterprise studies-factors at several levels, factorial design, measures of
cost and measures of power demand.
Simulation studies may prove helpful in overcoming the constraints
of large multifactorial experiments and in accelerating the collection of
information on which to base predictions. Simulation of different mois-
ture regimes and probability analysis of climatic patterns possible under
each regime is an example. Studies simulating the operation of whole
farms, based on single crop (or enterprise) studies, may help to elimi-
nate operationally or economically unsuitable sequences. Simulation
studies and the use of computer technology must be based on reliable
data gathered in the field; their use places great responsibility on the re-
searcher for obtaining the primary data.
Studies of management systems are needed that explore continuous
and mixed cropping systems. The management systems should reflect
flexible and imaginative choices of crops, animal species and genotypes.
They should be designed to provide inputs that utilize to the fullest
that proportion of the year and of land, water and radiation systems
that will yield the most in terms of the economic, human and technical
goals of the region. In wetter areas, where population density creates
a demand that warrants it, two or more short season crops can be
grown in the same year. Some indigenous systems already approach
continuous cropping with crops overlapping in time. Mixed cropping is
also widespread and may make possible a better use of labor and offer
other advantages in the future.
In summary, research at the level of the farm must consider institu-
tional and human, as well as technological, constraints. It is on the
farms themselves that the biological and physical systems interact with
social, political and economic systems. Physical constraints, for exam-
ple, may result from difficulties in the supply of water or the presence
of pests and diseases. Often as debilitating are the constraints imposed
by the social environment, such as inability of the local infrastructure
to provide improved factors of production or to move products to
markets, or such as food prices that are so low they do not cover pro-
duction costs.
In the organization of agricultural production units, biological and
physical systems should be closely linked to the political, social and
economic systems. Members of the agricultural research teams should
include anthropologists to assure that the technical research results


really meet the needs and opportunities of the rural society and that
the farmer's opinions and reactions are taken into account.

Everywhere in Africa, new farm technologies are requiring new factors
of production-inputs such as improved seed, fertilizer, irrigation water,
pest control measures and machinery. These factors must be delivered
to the right place in the right quantity at the right time and at the right
price to encourage rather than restrict their use. Entire systems are
necessary to do this, but they are usually absent or poorly developed in
Much research is needed to determine the appropriate roles of public
and private enterprise in input delivery systems. Trained governmental
manpower is scarce and expensive, and government has other important
uses for it. Much hard and detailed work, some of it unskilled, must be
reliably done to deliver inputs-sometimes to as many as 100 or 150
African farmers per square mile of cropland. Information about and
instruction in the use of new materials and methods as well as proper
incentives must accompany physical inputs, which means that exten-
sion, price support, taxation, subsidy programs and other manifesta-
tions of agricultural policy must be closely related to input delivery
systems. Where machinery is involved, spare parts, repair services, lubri-
cants and fuel are needed, as well as training in the care and operation
of the equipment. Delivery systems that use labor-saving equipment
must be related to policies that govern industry, migration, and popula-
tion control.
Among the most important but least studied inputs to African agri-
culture is power. Studies of labor must encompass all aspects of the
power needs of a rural community and not focus entirely on topics,
such as the migration of the labor force leading to the generation of
nonfarm employment or the consequences of mechanization. More
needs to be known about the specific changes in technique that lead to
disinvestment in traditional capital, including farm animals, and invest-
ment in durable equipment. Both Africans and non-Africans are now
tackling the theoretical inadequacies in this area.
For land, as well as labor, there are many substitutes and comple-
ments, the use of which increase the effective supply of land. Fertilizer
is probably the most important of these. Land that is too wet or too
dry is complemented by systems-all too rare in Africa-to drain or
irrigate it. Other complements include elimination of pests and diseases


such as trypanosomiasis, schistosomiasis, malaria and river blindness
from otherwise potentially productive areas.
Though most agricultural problems in Africa involve land tenure,
research in this area may easily be overemphasized; it is but one aspect
of the problem of designing better agricultural systems. Much careful
work-technological, economic and sociological-is needed on systems
for producing and distributing fertilizers, irrigation water, vaccines,
herbicides and other agricultural inputs.
Credit and cash are needed to purchase modern inputs and capital
goods. Considerable investigation is needed into how much capital can
be produced in the agricultural economy with underemployed labor,
underutilized land, and traditional equipment and power sources that
are partially idle during all or parts of the year. Some agricultural econ-
omies generate over half their capital under such conditions. Such
self-generated accumulation and reinvestment of capital is probably
more immediately important in Africa than money flows through capi-
tal markets and agricultural credit institutions, though the latter can
obviously help farmers buy industrial inputs and equipment.

Farmers will not use improved production systems, however excellent
biologically and however well-supported by input delivery systems they
may be, unless the resulting products can be guaranteed a reliable mar-
ket. Successful marketing requires an effective delivery system to as-
semble, store, process and transport farm products (industrial raw
materials as well as food) to foreign and domestic consumers. In the
immediate future, the volume of commodities available for marketing
off the farm may easily double or even quadruple as a result of popula-
tion growth and migration to the cities. This may occur even if the total
agricultural output increases no more than 10 percent. At the same
time the increasing availability of higher incomes and better education
about what constitutes good nutrition can greatly change the marketing
and processing services which the consumer may expect.
Product handling systems range from simple, local ones that transfer
a producer's surplus product to local consumers (see Figure 1) to com-
plex systems that process commodities and move them thousands of
miles or store them, often in highly sophisticated ways, for long
Markets for Africa's export crops are rather well-developed; domestic
markets for foodstuffs traded locally appear less developed. The study


FIGURE 1 African market place, Ejura, Ghana.

of staple food marketing by the Food Research Institute of Stanford
University (Jones, 1972) indicated, however, that African foodstuff
markets are more effective than is commonly believed. But whatever
the crop, in general, the development of well-integrated market systems
within the continent is discouraged by (1) heavy transport costs, which
result from poor roads; (2) taxation in the case of export crops, which
interferes with regional specialization; (3) inadequate consumer incomes
and the consequent lack of purchasing power; (4) restrictions on trade
across national boundaries; and (5) inadequate national market systems
for food crops.
Careful research to discover and to develop remedies is needed. Such
attempts at aiding domestic markets as marketing boards, price ceilings
for consumers and rationing have not proved satisfactory in the past. In
developing and largely agricultural countries, such as African nations, it
would seem that outside subsidies may be necessary in order to provide
incentive prices to producers and cheap food to consumers. The well-
developed export market also faces problems. Unwise taxation of ex-
port crops has been mentioned. In addition, many semipublic market-
ing agencies are unable to market such commodities as cocoa, palm oil,
groundnuts, rubber, tea and coffee to best advantage in the complex
economies of Western Europe and North America. These same agencies
for export crops have run into difficulties domestically by not being


properly related to input delivery systems for credit, industrial inputs
and machinery.

Agricultural change in tropical Africa is at least as much an affair of the
district and the local community as it is of the farmer and farm. Com-
munity systems, or local agencies of the central government, supply
such prerequisites for agricultural growth and improvement as roads,
regulatory services (contract enforcement, standardization of weights
and measures, market regulation, product inspection and grading, etc.),
communication (mail and often telegraph, telephone, radio and tele-
vision), electricity, research facilities and extension services. As changes
in agricultural production systems involve increased use of the facilities
and services furnished by the local infrastructure, improvements in the
infrastructure and in the institutions to serve it must be provided.

Just as the farm management system interacts reciprocally with the
larger system of the community, so the rural community is related to
still larger systems. Perhaps the most important of these is the agricul-
tural sector of the economy, which is now a basic planning unit for
many agricultural development agencies, including the Food and Agri-
culture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the U.S. Agency
for International Development (USAID). At even higher levels of ag-
gregation are the national economies, regional organizations and world
Most African countries have central planning agencies that deal with
agricultural industries and sectors. They are, in turn, assisted in their
tasks by ongoing research and special studies undertaken by public and
private agencies of various sorts-domestic, foreign and international.
Unfortunately some of the comprehensive national development studies
coming out of these agencies have paid little attention to technical
aspects of agricultural development.
The design, analysis, execution and appraisal of agricultural policies,
programs and projects constitute an important field of agricultural
research at the national level. Though this kind of work is sometimes
classified as economic, its nature is practical, and therefore it is more
properly regarded as multidisciplinary. The mix of disciplinary com-
petencies required varies from one policy problem to the next, from
one program problem to the next, and from project to project.


Systems studies must consider the effects of different plans for the
agricultural sectors on income distribution, employment, the generation
of effective demand for food and the nutrition levels of individuals.
Population policies will figure importantly in such studies for their
effect on the balance between food production and consumption.
The succeeding chapters examine two broad areas, or aggregations of
systems-soil and water management (Chapter III) and the production
and protection of crops and livestock (Chapters IV-XIV). The second
area is extensive; hence, it is divided into several chapters for easy ref-
erence. There follows a discussion (Chapter XV) of systems studies
themselves and their place in African agricultural science.


Crop Environment, Soil

and Water Management

An agricultural system begins with the crop itself and attempts to ar-
range for it to make the most of the primary natural resources of radia-
tion, water and soil. The agricultural capacity of tropical soils and their
ability to support intensive agriculture and to produce high yields of
row crops has often been questioned. As knowledge of these soils im-
proves, however, attitudes about their worth are changing. Research
emphasis is now on the need to manage the soils in conjunction with
the complex physical environment and involves in-depth studies of
African soil and water resources. Unless the potentials of African soils
are wisely exploited, crop production and livestock management in
many areas will be marginal at best and will often fail.

The natural environment for crops in the tropics is profoundly different
from that in most temperate regions and this bears significantly on
African soil and water management. Consideration of environmental
factors is especially important in the transfer or adaptation to the trop-
ics of agricultural technologies developed elsewhere. The qualitative
differences are now moderately well understood (if not widely taught),
but for successful practical farm management it is necessary to have


more quantitative information about the dynamic nature of the tropical
environment in relation to crop growth.
In tropical Africa, radiation levels and temperatures are reasonably
high throughout the year and often it is the availability of water that is
the limiting factor in crop growth. In the tropical region the soil-water
regime is the "mirror image" of the situation in the temperate region:
Annual crops are sown into soil newly moistened on the surface but
otherwise hot and dry; then during the critical growing season, the soil
profile fills with rain water, leaching off nutrients as the water drains
off. In the temperate regions, the soil profile starts wet and cold and
dries out over the season so that less leaching occurs during the growing
season. Any attempt at devising patterns of efficient soil and water
management and fertilizer application for Africa must begin within this
While more intensive special studies are required for many crops, the
quantitative specification of the macro-elements of the crop environ-
ment is now obtainable from relatively simple meteorological and soil
measurements, which should be routine at all major research stations.
Such specifications are a facet of crop research that has been neglected
in the past.


Current Facilities

The National Academy of Sciences/National Research Council, recog-
nizing the importance of soil management, set up a Committee on
Tropical Soils. The report of this committee, Soils of the Humid
Tropics (NAS, 1972), deals in detail with research needs with regard to
soil description and assessment and the management of soil nutrients.
Since the end of World War II, Africa has been the scene of a whole
series of pedological surveys, pedogenic studies and soil classifications.
This research was undertaken by the Office de la Recherche Scientif-
ique et Technique Outre-Mer (ORSTOM) (see "International Agricul-
tural Research Institutions," Chapter XVIII), Institut National pour
l'Etude Agronomique du Congo (INEAC) and the network of British
research centers. Thanks to this work, Africa became the first continent
in the world to possess a modern soil map at a scale of 1:5,000,000.
The map has inspired the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) to
develop a world soil map. Simultaneously, soil maps have been drawn
for individual countries at a scale of 1:1,000,000, and locally at a


greater scale for regional planning (1:500,000 to 1:100,000) or for
practical applications (1:50,000 and more). Research on the origin and
classification of African soils is under way at Kwadaso, Ghana, and at
other research institutions throughout the continent, especially those of
Most, if not all, of the countries of tropical Africa maintain research
units dealing with soil management. A recent United Nations Educa-
tion, Scientific and Cultural Organization survey (UNESCO, Science
Policy Division, 1970) lists 179 research centers at which some sort of
soils research is being conducted. At Rokupr in Sierra Leone the
peculiarities (extreme acidity, for example) of the soils in mangrove
swamps where rice is grown and their effect on rice production have
been studied. This research was undertaken by the West Africa Rice
Research Station (see p. 47) in association with research workers
from Rothamsted Experiment Station in Britain. A soil research team
investigated the characteristics of the soils of Zaire at Yangambi and at
the associated network of stations of INEAC. The improvement of soil
fertility for cocoa production is being investigated at the Cocoa Re-
search Institute of Ghana (C RIG) in Tafo and at the Cocoa Research
Institute of Nigeria (CRIN) at Gambari near Ibadan. Oil palm produc-
tion research is under way at the Nigerian Institute for Oil Palm Re-
search (NIFOR) in Benin.
In the savanna zone of West Africa, important studies of soil con-
servation practices have taken place at the Institute for Agricultural
Research (IAR) of Ahmadu Bello University in Nigeria, as well as at
several research organizations in the French-speaking part of the region,
primarily in Senegal and the Ivory Coast. Studies are under way at IAR,
at the ORSTOM center in Ivory Coast and elsewhere in ridging, in
mulching with stubble and in providing protective cover against the
destructive impact of raindrops. Such soil cover may also have very sig-
nificant influences on moisture conservation and temperature in the
rooting zones. Water will percolate better through the soil if after a long
dry season, the hard soil crust has been broken prior to the rains.
In East Africa, similar studies of soil erosion have been carried out at
Namulonge in Uganda, Mpwapwa in Tanzania and Henderson Research
Station in Rhodesia, while soil physical studies at the East African Agri-
culture and Forestry Research Organization (E A AFRO) in Kikuyu,
Kenya, have concentrated on the effects of tillage practices on soil
structure and crumb stability. The Kafue Flats in Zambia, whose physi-
cal structure is quite poor, have received intensive investigation stimu-
lated by plans to develop a polder scheme for using Kafue River water
to irrigate crops.


Future Research Needs and Opportunities
At present, coordination and correlation of various systems of soil
classification have been satisfactory in the broadest categories. Much
more needs to be done at detailed levels of classification to provide
better extrapolation of research investigations, especially in soil manage-
ment. Soil survey work should be broadened into land use surveys.
In soil conservation, the paramount need is for effective administra-
tive leadership and wider application of proven methods. A few new
problems, particularly in the area of erosion, deserve study and require
the development of new methods-for example, the hazards of erosion
in newly opened land. A strong case also exists for a carefully coordi-
nated series of experiments, carried out in several countries, to compare
techniques for controlling erosion used under different ecological con-
ditions. Either the Scientific, Technical and Research Commission of
the Organization of African Unity (OAU/STRC) (see "International
Agricultural Research Institutions," Chapter XVIII) or the Association
for the Advancement of Agricultural Sciences in Africa (AAA SA)
might be a convenient coordinating agent. Another type of soil conser-
vation practice that requires more extensive investigation is the one
just mentioned of maintaining cover to protect against rain and temper-
ature extremes and to improve nutrient retention and recirculation.
Tillage operations used for seedbed preparation and weed control
may have considerable effect on water conservation, soil erosion and
fertility; they require careful study. Intensive work is needed on meth-
ods of lessening the number of operations required for cultivation. One
such method, the use of herbicides by small farmers, is already being
studied in Senegal, at Ahmadu Bello University and at EAAFRO. Work
with herbicides for small farmers must be much more widespread than
indicated. Research needs to be strengthened on this and other methods
for reducing the drudgery of weeding operations and improving the
timeliness of cultivation practices.
Scope is limited for improving the hand tools which small farmers
use for primary cultivation and weeding, but opportunities are great for
devising simple, inexpensive machinery for planting, applying fertilizers
and pesticides, and for harvesting. It is difficult at present to make the
operation of tractors economic in small farming situations, but the
Centre d'Etudes et d'Experimentation du Machinisme Agricole Tropi-
cale (CEEMAT), among others, has done very useful work on ox-drawn
equipment (see Figure 2), which should serve as a basis for further in-
vestigations where capital is short in supply and simple implements are


FIGURE 2 Oxen pulling a log to till the soil.

Special attention should be given to the large areas of farmlands that
are idle or underutilized under present management practices. In addi-
tion, the organization and operation of successful large-scale farms and
smallholders' operations, and the mechanization of small-scale farming,
may need to be examined.
The most important problem of soil management in tropical Africa
is how to improve soil fertility and crop production under intensive
farming methods. To attack this problem, extensive research is required
on the physical, chemical and biological properties of the soil. Empirical
solutions, e.g., simply adding major nutrients to the soil, will not
suffice. The major chemical factors responsible for the accumulation and
disappearance of organic matter in the soil must be explored; studies on
the role of iron and aluminum oxides in tropical soils are needed. The
contribution of the bacteria species of Rhizobium to the production of
nitrogen in symbiotic relationship with legumes is a fruitful area for
biological research. The addition of nitrogen to the soil by other natu-
ral means also requires study.
Soil fertility will vary from locality to locality, but detailed studies
of the three main zones would still be useful: the tropical forests, where
leaching is virtually continuous and excessive; the savanna zone, where
leaching is regular and limited in time; and the semiarid rangelands,
where leaching is infrequent and irregular. Several countries (Ghana,


Ivory Coast, Nigeria, Senegal and Kenya, for example) could form ade-
quate multidisciplinary teams to seek answers to these problems, and
each of these countries could provide a good base for an external team.
Among the international institutions with a capacity for such studies
(see "International Agricultural Research Institutes," Chapter XVIII),
are the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) in Nigeria
and ORSTOM in the francophone countries, where multidisciplinary
teams are already formed. Studies of the hydromorphic soils at the IITA
site are an example of crops and soil research integrated to study utiliza-
tion of this land that is underutilized in African agriculture.
Land is an important social asset with strong emotive overtones, and
it would be idle to suggest that soil management problems can be solved
by the application to land use of research from the natural sciences
alone. Economic issues-for example, those centering on expenditures
for soil conservation measures or on investments for long-term mainte-
nance of soil fertility-bear directly on soil management. And, inex-
tricably linked with the economic issues are the social questions of land
tenure and value systems. Socioeconomic research, therefore, must go
hand in hand with conventional research in soil science.


Availability of water is the limiting factor in crop production in many
parts of Africa. Rainfall is variable and evaporation is high because of
low relative humidity, high temperatures and high winds. Perennial
crops in some areas can use as much as 2,500 mm (98 in.) of rain a year,
and even at an altitude of 2,100 m (7,000 ft) in Kenya, forest trees and
tea use 1,500 mm (59 in.) a year. Rainfall is adequate for successful
perennial or annual crop production in some areas of Africa; in others,
not cultivated, or at best supporting range grazing, rainfall is inadequate
for a wide range of land uses without recourse to expensive large-scale
irrigation developments. Often it is necessary to select a crop or breed
or variety that matches the climatic environment-a short season crop
where the period of favorable water balance is short-lived and a longer
season crop where the favorable period lasts longer. To define the grow-
ing season quantitatively is important, for the first aim of water manage-
ment should be to use the rain where it falls to the best advantage for
crop and animal production.
Much has been learned in the past decade about the relation of crop
water requirements to meteorological parameters. The pattern of water


requirement for evapotranspiration can now be computed reasonably
accurately from climatological observations and from data on crop
morphology, planting density and length of season. The storage capacity
for moisture within the root range may be important if water is likely
to become limiting. If the pattern of water requirements for different
crops is known, the crop or combination of crops can be suitably
matched to each environment with a judicious margin for safety (suc-
cess in 4 years out of 5).
In the drier parts of Africa, the collection and processing of meteoro-
logical data is the most important step in providing a basis for logical
water management. The data must be obtained from a network of sites
in each country sufficient in number to give adequate information on
seasonal evaporation rates and rainfall patterns. A combined project
of UNESCO, FAO and the World Meteorological Organization (WM O)
has carried out valuable agroclimatological studies of the semiarid area
in West Africa south of the Sahara and in the highland areas of East
Africa. This group might be the most suitable one to continue this type
of regional survey and study.
Routine computations of the water balance in a crop should be car-
ried out for all experiments to ascertain whether, in addition to the
main treatments imposed, water stress is likely to influence yields. In
drier areas, soil management practices that prevent loss of rainwater
through surface runoff and new cultivation techniques must be tested
on different soils. For wetter areas, adequate drainage in the rooting
zone is essential, and special measures are necessary to ensure this.
Some research has been carried out in Africa on water balance, but
very little is under way at present except for studies of surface drainage
in very heavy clays. Though drainage techniques are comparatively well
understood, certain soils in many areas present special problems, the
dark clays (Vertisols)* being one example. However, some areas with
problem soils, e.g., the Sudan rainlands east of the White Nile, have good
agricultural potential under natural rainfall alone or rainfall combined
with dry-season irrigation; these areas merit a serious research effort. An
alternation, even within a given growing season, between waterlogging
with resultant poor aeration in the rooting zone and extreme lack of
moisture, can occur on a variety of soils.
Research is necessary on the management and cropping patterns of
soils that receive excess rainwater through runoff or "interflow" in

* A taxonomic class from the new soil taxonomy of the National Cooperative Soil Survey of
the United States: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Soil Classification, a Comprehensive Sys-
tem, 7th Approximation (Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1960).


addition to, or as an alternative to, engineering studies of drainage and
other compensatory measures for excessive saturation.
Lack of water often seriously limits range utilization by livestock;
areas other than range areas may be badly over grazed because of con-
centration of stock at isolated watering points. Many methods of devel-
oping range water for livestock are known, but the selection of a suitable
method for a given situation in Africa often calls for careful socioeco-
nomic research in addition to technical water engineering. This aspect
should not be neglected.
The research problems associated with irrigation rest not only in soil
and water management but also in selection and intensive management
of economic crops, in control of special pest and disease problems, and
in social ordering and management of schemes. While the FAO Indica-
tive World Plan (IWP/FAO) does not give irrigation research high priority
(FAO, 1969a), African governments do.
In areas where it is desirable for economic or other reasons to intro-
duce a system of irrigated agriculture, the water must be used as effi-
ciently as possible within the management framework. The two key
factors are the crop's total water requirement and the irrigation interval.
The water requirement can be computed from meteorological observa-
tions, although extra amounts may be needed if there are salinity prob-
lems. The irrigation interval is a function of the plant's ability to with-
stand periods of mild water stress without loss of yield. Local trials,
following on a review of the literature about the plant, will determine
its ability to do so. International or regional irrigation efforts are not
particularly appropriate for either topic; yet the movement of water
onto the fields should require only local adaptations of proven tech-
niques. A great deal of ad hoc experimentation on control of irrigation
water is carried out on individual irrigation schemes in Africa as manag-
ers strive to engineer an efficient system for particular circumstances.
There are few research centers for irrigated agriculture and, in these,
water management is only part of the research complex. Many of the
largest stations are at Wad Medani in Sudan and in Egypt. South of the
Sahara, the principal research centers are at Ahero in Kenya, Kpong in
Ghana, Richard Toll [Institut de Recherches Agronomiques Tropicales
et des Cultures Vivrieres (IRAT)] in Senegal, Bouak6 (IRAT) in Ivory
Coast, and at Dangwa, Malawi.
Land management in the catchment area of streams and rivers can
have a profound effect on the seasonal and total flow of water. In such
areas too little attention has been paid to inadequate precipitation dur-
ing the "wet" season-a major cause of reduction in crop yield. Little
is known quantitatively about the effects of land use changes on stream-


flow, and long-term investigations should be carried out. Land use is
often an interest of several government ministries, and some independent
body is needed to establish cooperative, unbiased studies. EAAFRO
achieved this cooperation in East Africa, and further studies of this type
should be initiated.

Research Capabilities and Needs
UNESCO lists approximately 70 institutions in Africa that are in-
volved with a type of agricultural hydrology study. To these one may
add a variety of ad hoc research projects that have been undertaken
primarily to gain a better understanding of the influence on a region's
ecology of large man-made lakes (for example, those created by the
impoundment of the Volta River in Ghana at Akosambo, the Niger
River at Kainji, Nigeria, and the Zambesi at Kariba, between Zambia
and Rhodesia). One comprehensive study has been an analysis of the
capabilities of Lake Victoria's watershed to yield water for irrigation.
But these studies are only a beginning compared with what is needed
before the potentialities for water conservation and utilization in Africa
can be fully understood.
The main centers of water management research in Africa are in
Kenya (E A AFRO, East African Meteorological Department, National
Board), Malawi and Zambia (Agricultural Research Councils), Nigeria
(Ahmadu Bello University, University of Ibadan, and IITA), Ivory
Coast, Senegal and the Malagasy Republic (ORSTOM and IRAT). The
FAO/UNESCO/WMO agroclimatological group should be encouraged
to coordinate research in this field.

Soil fertility and soil-water management have high agricultural pri-
ority for research. They play key roles in maintaining or improving pro-
duction within existing farming systems; their projected role in the
intensive farming systems of the future is even greater.
The Committee reinforces those recommendations of the NAS Com-
mittee on Tropical Soils that bear upon conditions in Africa, and rec-
ommends that teams of scientists be supported at national and interna-
tional levels.

to bring about better coordination of systems of soil classification
among the nations, building upon the extensive information extant in
this area of research on African soils;


to develop appropriate methods of soil conservation under the
auspices of international cooperating bodies such as OAU/STRC,
AAASA, IITA, etc.;
to work on the physical, chemical and biological properties of
soils, in order to achieve a thorough understanding of the factors which
influence soil fertility in tropical conditions and satisfactory soil and
crop management, not only for systems of farming characterized by
shifting cultivation, but for those where crops are produced under in-
tensive farming as well;
to improve the total nutrient cycle of crop production in each of
the three main rainfall zones-Sahelian, Sudanian, and Guinean-with
special attention to management of the nitrogen cycle;
to improve cultivation practices especially in small-scale farming
operations, with emphasis on increasing soil fertility, conserving water
and reducing erosion; reducing labor requirements for weeding and
cultivating; and improving management and timing of cultivation op-
to develop for small-scale farmers new techniques and inexpensive
mechanized equipment at the appropriate technology level;
to gather information on seasonal evaporation rates (averages and
probabilities) and on rainfall patterns for use by governments and re-
search workers in planning water management and cropping cycles. The
FAO/UNESCO/WMO agroclimatological group might assist in this
to conduct long-term investigations on the effect of land use on
streamflow in catchment areas.



Cereal grains-wheat, teff, sorghum, millet, maize and rice-provide half
or more of the daily supply of calories in the less humid African coun-
tries. The average daily consumption of cereals per person in Africa is
330 g. The nation with the smallest per capital average is Zaire, with 70 g;
Malawi has the largest with 571 g (FAO, 1971 a). The countries with large
average consumption are those in which sorghum and the millets are the
predominant food crops. In the same countries the daily intake of pro-
tein from the cereal source averages more than 40 g. This would repre-
sent half or more of the daily requirement if distribution were equal
and the quality satisfactory. Essentially the same pattern of protein in-
take prevails where maize is the major food cereal. A cereal diet that
provides sufficient calories will generally also supply enough. of the es-
sential amino acids, lysine excepted, to meet protein needs.
Patterns of food consumption differ by economic level as well as by
geography and culture; these patterns influence crop production. Wheat
and rice are status cereals. Economically justifiable opportunities for
expansion of wheat acreage are limited in Africa south of the Sahara.
Good conditions do exist for rice, however, and expansion of rice acre-
age will lessen the heavy current burdens on government foreign ex-
change resources. Maize, sorghum and the millets will continue to be
important food crops for much of the population for years to come.
Maize is replacing sorghum and the millets in those parts of the Sudan-
ian zone where the soils are deep and fertile and rainfall reliable. The
people there prefer maize as a cereal but have not yet developed good


beer from it. Sorghum holds its own under conditions uncongenial to
the production of maize-in drier regions and on heavy clay soils subject
alternatively to drought and flooding; pearl millet (Pennisetum) main-
tains its position in extremely sandy soil where rainfall is erratic-those
areas where famine is often serious and the food problem the greatest.
The importance of maize, sorghum and the millets as feed crops will in-
crease as livestock production moves from a nomadic to a more sedentary
system; thus, the productive capacity for all these crops deserves to be
protected and enhanced.
The early efforts to improve the cereals concentrated on the local
land-races, except for varieties of wheat and to a lesser extent rice. Local
varieties tend to be well-adapted to their specific niches, acceptable in
quality, and resistant in some degree to the more important diseases and
insect pests. These local types, however, tend to be rather unresponsive
to fertilizer applications or other improved management practices,
though this is less true for varieties of corn.
Sorghum and millet probably originated in the Sudanian zone of
Africa around Ethiopia and Sudan. There, the genetic diversity of these
species is great. Wheat and especially barley are also genetically diverse
in the Ethiopian uplands. To date, collecting forays have taken place
intermittently in Ethiopia, but a comprehensive review of genetic mate-
rial from this region has not yet been attempted. Various organizations
(among them FAO), together with the Ethiopian government and scien-
tific personnel, have discussed the value of an international center to
collect, maintain and preserve germ plasm from these and other impor-
tant crops that apparently originated in the Sudanian zone.
Agricultural policy that determines the proportion of land used to
grow basic cereal crops may affect human nutrition and economic well-
being in an area. For example, policymakers can influence whether or
not the production of upland rice for human consumption rises at the
expense of maize and sorghums, which have superior protein content
and quality and proven adaptation to the region. In this situation to opt
wisely for maize and sorghums, however, need not preclude an expan-
sion in rice production in the wetlands of the Nile Basin and of West
Africa, areas not so favorable to the other cereals.


The major wheat-producing countries in Africa are Ethiopia, Kenya,
Sudan and Tanzania. The 1969 production for these countries was


760,000; 162,000; 88,000; and 40,000 metric tons respectively (FAO,
1969c). Wheat consumption has been rising steadily, and this trend is
expected to continue. But only Kenya is currently self-sufficient in
wheat. For the 1962-1965 period, average annual imports of wheat and
wheat products for West, Central and East Africa amounted to $28.6
million, $12.8 million and $11 million, respectively. Rising consump-
tion will result in increasing imports unless research and development
programs are markedly strengthened and production is increased.
Wheat requires cool weather during the tillering and early growth
stages. These conditions are met during the summer season in the high-
lands of East Africa, in Ethiopia, western Uganda and Rwanda. In
Kenya, both acreage and production per acre have been increasing since
1962. Expanding wheat production in these areas might simply require
strengthening the research capabilities that are already international in
character in Kenya and neighboring countries, and enlarging facilities
for testing new varieties in the highland areas of Tanzania.
Wheat is grown as a winter crop in the Sudan where production is
concentrated in the Gezira and Khashm el Girba irrigation schemes.
Irrigation is also being used in Chad and other areas to expand produc-
tion capacity.
Attempts to grow wheat commercially began in Kenya about 1910
with varieties introduced from Australia. The widely known black stem
rust of wheat (Puccinia graminis) soon felled these varieties. Since then
wheat production in Africa has involved a continual struggle to find
and develop varieties that will yield enough to justify growing them de-
spite the inroads of this and other rusts.

The consumption of rice per person is increasing in Africa, particularly
near the rapidly growing urban areas. Except for the Malagasy Repub-
lic and Egypt, however, the continent remains a net rice-importing
area. Rice of the species Oryza glaberrima has been cultivated for cen-
turies in Africa, but most that is now raised derives from strains of
Oryza sativa introduced from Asia.
Rice is grown under four distinct conditions: (1) as an upland crop;
(2) in paddies in which rainfall is impounded by field dikes; (3) in man-
grove swamps; and (4) in naturally inundated lowlands.
Upland rice accounts for at least two thirds of the total rice acreage
in West Africa, where most of the rice is grown. This production system
is limited to areas which receive regular and heavy rainfall during a 5-
month period. Land is cleared, and after minimal preparation the seed


is broadcast. Weeds are not a serious problem for a year or two after
clearing. Declining soil fertility and weeds after two or more years re-
quire a shift to some other crop or abandonment of the field. Labor
inputs are large relative to yields. The Casamance project in Senegal is
of some interest, since it has demonstrated that under proper manage-
ment upland rice can produce high yields with greater economic re-
turns than irrigated rice, especially if amortization of capital is charged
as a cost against the latter. High-yield varieties evaluated under irrigated
conditions may alter this picture, and whether the practices developed
in these projects will be generally adopted remains to be seen.
Irrigation with adequate water control is practiced on only a very
small proportion of the total rice area of Africa. One such successful
scheme is the 4,000-hectare Mwea-Tebere Irrigation Settlement Scheme
in Kenya, where a single crop of rice is produced annually under con-
trolled conditions. In the Malagasy Republic, rice growing could be
expanded along the flood plains of rivers, but the investment required
to build canals, embankments and drainage is too much for the ordinary
smallholder. If such developments are to be undertaken, a government
or some other corporate entity must act.
In Mali, the Office du Niger, operative along the upper Niger valleys
after World War II, made vast efforts to produce rice under irrigation
with French bilateral aid. Nigeria has also undertaken irrigation projects
in the Midwestern State at Ilesha and south of Kano. The Northeastern
State, with Food and Agriculture Organization support, has an irrigation
development project embracing wheat-rice rotation, with wheat grown
in the winter season under irrigation and rice during the rains.
One of several attempts to develop an irrigated swampland for rice
production was undertaken in the 6,000-hectare Gbedin swamp in Li-
beria. In 1953 Liberia and the United States Foreign Operations Ad-
ministration began a project designed to start with a 25-hectare tract,
adding more land as experience accumulated. The project was reported
as a success, but, though an intensive extension program trained a large
number of people, the irrigation system of rice culture was not main-
tained. Later, heavy rains washed out the dams and canals, and the area
reverted to the original swampland rice system. The United States
Agency for International Development (USAID) attempted to revive
the irrigated system, but this effort was also short-lived. The project has
again been reactivated under the supervision of Taiwanese technicians.
High yields of rice can, of course, be obtained with proper manage-
ment on irrigated tracts, but for satisfactory water management the
whole of a given area must be handled as a unit and the cost of clearing
land and building canals, embankments, and drainage ditches is great.


High labor requirements and relatively low returns once the system is
in operation make it less attractive than the "slash-and-burn" upland
system (see Figure 3) or the typical swamp rice production system.
Moreover, until transportation and marketing facilities are improved
and a more realistic price policy is developed, there will be little incen-
tive for the smallholder to produce more rice than is necessary to meet
his family's needs, especially as the labor cost is so large. To remedy
this, collective infrastructures and area management must be developed.
Nigeria, through prohibition of imports, has become largely self-suffi-
cient in rice production. Yet, even in Nigeria, the internal price has
risen to 2- and 3-times that of rice on the world market, even though
the world market prices themselves are reported to be very high.
Taiwan development teams have been active for a number of years
in more than 20 African nations. Many of these teams, which have since
been withdrawn, established excellent standards of rice cultivation.
Rice production may be limited as much by the poor quality of the
paddy (unmilled rice) and the low efficiency of milling as by transpor-
tation and marketing problems. Poor quality of the paddy results from
the raising of mixtures of forms that mature at different times. When
immature and mature grain are harvested together, drying, storage and
milling become especially difficult. Poor conditions for harvesting and
storage also contribute to poor paddy.

FIGURE 3 Fire as a tool in agricultural production.


Production of maize (Zea mays) is expanding. In the savanna zones of
Africa, it promises to replace a sizable portion of the current sorghum
area where dependable supplies of water prevail. Production of suitable
varieties is also planned for the humid tropics; there maize will compete
with the root and tuber crops. Maize already does well, of course, in
Cameroon, Togo and Dahomey, where the savanna extends south virtu-
ally to the coast.
Data assembled from the West Africa Regional Maize and Sorghum
Trials* indicate that maize responds more than sorghum to improved
management through much of the Guinean savanna and southward. How
widely these results can be extrapolated may depend on further critical
examination under conditions of water stress. Maize yields of more than
7 tons/ha have been obtained in Zaria, Nigeria, 10.1 tons/ha in Bouak6,
Ivory Coast, and 8 tons/ha in Dschang, Cameroon. Although sorghum
yields have reached 5 tons/ha, rarely do they exceed 3.5 tons/ha.
The reasons for this difference are not well understood and it is pos-
sible that more intensive research may narrow this gap. Certainly sor-
ghum is better able to cope with moisture stress than is maize. However,
recent data from Nigeria indicate maize moisture requirements may
correspond more closely to the average pattern of rainfall in West Africa
than do sorghum (guinea corn) moisture requirements (Figure 4).
Improved management practices are often necessary to realize sub-
stantially higher yields with better varieties. The maize agronomy re-
search program demonstrated this fact strikingly at Kitale, Kenya, where
a combination of six practices increased yields some 400 percent to 8.03
tons/ha. The practices, in order of importance, were (1) early planting,
(2) use of adapted hybrid seed, (3) dense planting, (4) adequate weed
control, (5) nitrogen applications, and (6) phosphate applications. The
same practices are important everywhere, though the relative rankings
may differ. Agronomic research is required to show just how the prac-
tices should be followed.
Maize breeding has been under way for decades in several East Afri-
can countries. The first work, begun in Rhodesia in 1932, produced a
range of conventional hybrids, one of which (a single cross named S.R.
52) has performed outstandingly as far away from Rhodesia as Ethiopia.
In 1955, Kenya started a new program that led to the production and
release of synthetic varieties in 1961 and the first double cross and
triple cross hybrids in 1963-all from Kenya Flat White maize material.

* Annual Reports (USAID/ARS, Major Cereals in Africa Project).



o7 t1 ARo 10

FIGURE 4 Comparative water require-
menrits of maize (A) and sorghum (B)
and rainfall available at Samaru, Nigeria.
(Information derived from the Agro-
climatological Atlas by Dr. J. M. Kowal
and Mrs. D. T. Knabe, and hydraulic
lysimeter studies at the Institute for
Agricultural Research, Ahmado Bello EA
University, Samaru, Nigeria.) B

But the African maize possessed too narrow a genetic base to give suffi-
cient vigor to the hybrids developed from it. Therefore the plant
breeder in Kenya searched for material from Latin America, from
Ecuador specifically, for varieties which would improve the crossing

capability of Kenya Flat White maize. The search turned up an im-
proved variety, designated 573, from a farmer's field in Ecuador. When
crossed with Kenya Flat White it gave an advantage of 30 percent-


mainly by adding extra length to the ear. Out of these crosses came a
varietal hybrid (composite) Kitale Synthetic II X Ecuador 573, which
was released in 1963 to see what it would do in comparison with con-
ventional (inbred line) hybrids. It became the highest yielder in many
areas and, as an intermediate type hybrid, is now the one most com-
monly used.
At about that time (1963) the breeding program was modified to
provide for the development of suitable composites, the initiation of
population improvement studies and the commercial use of intercom-
posite hybrids. The use of hybrid maize increased from 120 ha in 1963
to 130,000 ha in 1970, and to 400,000 ha in 1973. By 1973 over 80
percent of the hectarage in hybrid maize in Kenya was planted by the
A flexible breeding approach is now being utilized in the compre-
hensive breeding system practiced in Kenya. This involves the forma-
tion of broad-based composites and maize improvement through re-
current selection. The composites may be used as open pollinated
varieties or in the production of intervarietal hybrids. Any yield in-
crease resulting from the selection practiced should also be reflected
in inbred lines derived from these populations wherever the use of
conventional hybrids is economically feasible and desirable.
The comprehensive breeding approach, so admirably suited to the
short- and long-term needs in Kenya, had a number of consequences
for the maize improvement programs of other countries. Composites
are being developed in Malawi and distributed there. Excellent prog-
ress in maize breeding has been achieved in Tanzania at Ukiriguru and
at Ilonga, but commercial development has been limited because fre-
quent changes in personnel have interrupted that program. On the
other hand, until recently maize breeding in Uganda has been concen-
trated on inventory and varietal selection.
In 1966, the East African Regional Maize Trials began. These trials
have resulted in a considerable body of evidence on the areas of adap-
tion for the available composites and hybrids. Sorghum, the millets and
wheat underwent similar trials, and the testing on all of these cereals
(including maize)-the Major Cereals Project-is now administered as
Joint Project 26 of the Organization of African Unity/Scientific, Tech-
nical and Research Commission (OAU/STRC). The countries now in-
volved in the trials include Burundi, Zaire, Cameroon, the Malagasy
Republic and Nigeria, as well as the East African countries of Ethiopia,
Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, Malawi and Zambia.
A program using extensive importations from the Caribbean area
began in 1963 at Ibadan, Nigeria, under the auspices of The Rockefeller


Foundation. Changes in personnel interrupted the work, but it was con-
tinued by USAID, then by the Major Cereals Project, and more recently
by both that project and the International Institute of Tropical Agricul-
ture (IITA). One feature of the Nigerian research includes study of com-
posite plants' development and improvement in Ibadan, Mokwa, and
Zaria; a similar program was recently initiated in Ghana. In 1970 in
Nigeria, IITA, International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center
(CIMMYT) located in Mexico, USAID, and the Institute of Agricultural
Research at Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, instituted a cooperative
program for maize research. In Dahomey, Upper Volta, Senegal, Cam-
eroon, Ivory Coast and the Malagasy Republic, the Institut de Recherches
Agronomiques Tropicales et Cultures Vivribres (IRAT) has worked for
ten years on varietal improvement. In Zaire CIMMYT, IITA, and the
Zaire government have initiated a cooperative maize improvement effort
at the Keyberg station near Lubumbashi.


Fifty million or more people in Africa receive at least half of their sup-
ply of calories from sorghum (guinea corn). Indigenous to Africa, this
cereal is grown primarily for human consumption as a porridge or in
leavened bread or in beer. A type with white corneous kernels is pre-
ferred for flour, which is prepared by pounding the seeds in a mortar to
remove the pericarp and further pounding or grinding to produce a fine
granular powder. Some villages have small mills for grinding sorghum or
various mixtures of sorghum with millet and cassava. A type of sor-
ghum with brown seeds is commonly used for brewing beer.
Sorghum production reaches its greatest concentration in a belt south
of the Sahara where the rainfall varies from 600-1000 mm (25-40 in.)
or more per year and soil textures are relatively heavy. In West Africa,
rain within the sorghum belt falls mostly during a single rainy season;
some parts of East Africa have two rainy seasons. The rainfall patterns
dictate the time of maturity of the varieties grown.
The upland soils of the Sudanian and Guinean savannas where sor-
ghum grows tend to be leached, low in fertility and organic matter, and
poorly buffered. Preparing the soil by hand or oxen does not permit
efficient incorporation of plant residues; this may reinforce the wide-
spread practice of removing the straw for use as feed or building mate-
rial after the crops have been harvested. Applications of manure give
yield increases that are usually large considering the quantities of
nutrients actually supplied. In any event, the potential supply of manure


is quite inadequate to take care of the need for nutrients, and mineral
fertilizers must be used.
Sorghum yields on farms are generally lower than yields from ex-
perimental plantings on research stations. The difference may be caused
in part by the varieties grown and in part by production practices. Crop
production studies have concentrated on monoculture systems and
practices, but sorghum and the millets are often grown in mixed plant-
ings with legumes or other crops. This practice will certainly continue
until an economically feasible alternative is developed. Except for re-
cent research in Nigeria and Cameroon, little attention has been given
to production systems involving mixed cropping. Such systems appear
to offer promise of greater total food production with a corresponding
reduction in the risk of crop failure. Moreover, an extension effort di-
rected toward a more systematic mixed-cropping system would proba-
bly be more acceptable to peasant farmers than the monoculture recom-
mendations have been.

The Millets
Like sorghum, the millets are mainstays in the diets of the people in
the dry parts of Africa where subsistence farming supplies local needs.
Along with many other crops in areas with uncertain water supplies,
millets are expected to survive, not necessarily to thrive. Millets have
demonstrated the capacity to yield well under experimental conditions,
although in very wet situations they may yield less than sorghum or
Two classes of millets are important in Africa-bulrush or pearl
millet (Pennisetum typhoides) among other species and finger millet
(Eleusine coracana). Bulrush millet, a cross-pollinated crop, is widely
grown on light, sandy soils in single or mixed plantings where moisture
is scanty or where the rainy period is short. Finger millet is predomi-
nantly self-pollinated. Though hardy, it needs higher humidity and a
more stable water supply than bulrush millet. It is commonly grown as
a first-rains crop in eastern Africa. Finger millet stores well under humid
conditions. The small seed size makes it easy to dry in the sun, weevils
seldom infest it, and it has been successfully combined by commercial

Teff (Eragrostis tef) is grown only in Ethiopia where it is the preferred
food cereal (Figure 5). It tolerates poorly drained soils and occupies
two million hectares of cropland.


FIGURE 5 Teff in the foreground, neug in the background (Jimma, Ethiopia).

A major need in cereal grains research in Africa is to broaden the germ
plasm base of existing breeding programs. Establishing a center to col-
lect germ plasm in the Sudanian zone would be a step in this direction.
When breeding programs are adequately supplied with material, in-
creased attention must be given to disease and insect control through
development of resistant types or the judicious use of chemicals. Adap-
tation to specific sites, higher yields and better nutritional content
should also receive attention.
A brief look at one significant advance in maize research will help ex-
plain how improved varieties are bred and why this advance is becom-
ing a major research focus for that crop in Africa.
Half the protein in ordinary maize is zein, which is indigestible by
man and nonruminant animals. But the commonly used varieties of
maize contain little lysine, which is an amino acid-one of the building
blocks of proteins essential for man and nonruminants.
In the early 1960's a team of researchers in the United States (Harp-
stead, 1971) discovered that a soft-kernel mutant of maize contained
substantially less zein and about two-thirds more lysine than is present
in ordinary maize. The recessive gene carrying this trait was called
opaque-2 because the kernels, unlike ordinary maize, transmitted no


light; it was given the number when catalogued years before. This
opaqueness simplifies breeding work because it is easily spotted visually.
Another mutant called floury-2 was also found to have this improved
protein content.
Once the qualities of the opaque-2 gene were discovered (to follow it
as the example), it was transferred to lines of maize adapted to particu-
lar localities. This was accomplished by backcrossing for five or six gen-
erations. First, ears of a local variety were fertilized with pollen from a
plant bearing the opaque characteristic; though the resulting kernels
were translucent, all carried the recessive gene. The opaque-2 gene could
be identified in the following generation from the appearance of an ear
of the plant when fertilized with its own pollen. When this plant had
the gene, one kernel in four was opaque. This second-generation plant
was also crossed again with the original variety, and when those carry-
ing the gene became known the kernels without it were discarded. Off-
spring were crossed in the same way with the original variety for one or
two more generations. The result was seed bearing virtually all the char-
acteristics of the original local variety except for the opaque kernel and
the high lysine content. Ideally this seed could be planted for consump-
tion or, where hybrids were grown, used as a parent with another strain
that had also been given the "high-lysine" gene.
Tests with "high-lysine" maize have proved its value in preventing
protein deficiency disease in humans and as feed for swine, which have
nutritional requirements similar to man's. In areas where people must
obtain most of their proteins from maize, the significance of this de-
velopment is great.


Work is under way to incorporate the opaque-2 gene into local African
stocks of maize. An opaque-2 composite (a natural, fertile cross), de-
veloped by the USAID program in Nigeria, has been released for com-
mercial production. However, when the people process mature maize
grain into ogi for home consumption, the protein leaches out, leaving
starch for the most part, so that they derive little benefit from the im-
proved protein content of the original grain.
The opaque-2 characteristic is also being introduced into the com-
posites under development in Nigeria, Kenya and several francophone
African countries. If acceptable yields can be achieved, these new ma-
terials should reduce protein deficiency problems wherever maize is an
important component of the diet.


Breeding with a species so diverse in varieties as maize can have many
purposes besides improving food quality. Some have already been dis-
cussed in the section on maize production. Another is to develop strains
resistant to diseases and insects.
Disease and insect problems of maize vary in Africa according to rain-
fall and temperature. At higher elevations, northern leaf blight (Hel-
minthosporium turcicum) and northern leaf rust (Puccinia sorghi) are the
important leaf diseases. In warmer areas, related species, southern leaf
blight (H. maydis) and southern leaf rust (P. polysora), replace them.
Stalk ear rots are also important as acreages and densities of maize
Storey and his coworkers at the East African Agriculture and For-
estry Research Organization (E A AFRO) were able to find strains of
maize resistant to the principal races of southern leaf rust after it
threatened to cause serious losses in West Africa in 1949 and the early
1950's (Storey and Howland, 1957, 1959). Rusts, however, have con-
siderable genetic variability, and if a new race should appear serious
damage could again follow. Lallamahomed and Craig, working at
Ibadan, Nigeria, have reported a new gene system in maize that pro-
vides resistance to all the races of rust currently established in Africa
(Lallamahomed and Craig, 1968).
The virus disease called maize streak, which is transmitted by several
species of leaf hopper (genus Cicadulina), is of general and increasing
importance. The vectors are widely distributed, and in some areas the
disease may be a limiting factor for maize production. Storey found
sources of resistance, but they have not been incorporated into local
types. Another virus disease, maize stripe, has been reported from Tan-
zania and from tropical areas outside Africa, but no extensive research
on it has been reported.
Africa has a multitude of stalk borers, such as species of Chilo,
Sesamia and Busseola, that may attack maize, sorghum and the millets.
Their importance may be expected to increase with an increase in in-
tensity of production of any of these crops. Such work as has been
done to develop resistance to or chemical control of stalk borers has
taken place in Uganda and Kenya; further research on these pests is
clearly in order.
In a discussion that focuses closely on such particular needs as breed-
ing specific plants for specific purposes, it is easy to lose sight of other
needs, including (1) facilities to produce and distribute improved seed,
(2) closer integration of research and extension activities, (3) storage,
transportation and marketing, and (4) adequate facilities for credit. Re-
search applied to these topics will also be required.


The need for research on sorghum parallels that for other cereals in
Africa, i.e., breeding plants for adaptation to changing farming systems,
for better yields, for better nutritional quality, and for resistance to
pests and diseases. Control of specific African pests, such as weaver birds
(Quelea) and witchweed, offers an important challenge for research (see
Chapter XIV). An immediate research goal is to establish the farming
systems by which the subsistence farmers can derive the greatest amount
of food from sorghum.
Considerable progress has been made toward assembling a compre-
hensive germ plasm bank for sorghum. A modest collection exists at the
IAR in Zaria, Nigeria. An extensive collection, providing the genetic
base necessary for continued progress in breeding, is projected. A sys-
tematic program is also needed to assay prevalent races for resistance to
diseases and insect pests and to introduce this resistance into commer-
cial types.
The worldwide success of turning hybrid vigor into production gains
with maize is being emulated for sorghum in Africa. Here, too, if hybrid
seed is to be produced on a commercial scale it must be done by using
male sterile parents, a somewhat more delicate procedure than the one
now in use to produce male sterile maize. If the plant to be fertilized
produces fertile pollen, it may fertilize itself rather than receive the
pollen from the plant the breeder wants as the male parent. Maize can
be emasculated by simply removing the tassels from the top of the
plant, but the analogous procedure is impossible on a large scale with
sorghum because both sex organs are in the same flower. Fortunately,
genes are available that will introduce male sterility to lines being de-
veloped as the female parent.
Several types of sorghum populations are under development in
Senegal, Nigeria, Uganda, Tanzania and Ethiopia for superior grain qual-
ity, resistance to pests and other characteristics. Each population type
has been separated into forms that will restore fertility and those that
will not (nonrestorers), and is being subjected to selection for target
characteristics. Genetic recombinations for height, maturity, and wild
types of genes present problems, but not insurmountable problems. The
hybrids produced in this program have consistently yielded more than the
best improved varieties.
Breeding does not offer great promise for the control of sorghum's
greatest predator in Africa, the red-billed weaver bird (Quelea quelea
aethiopica). The enlarged glumes around sorghum grain, which make it


harder for birds to get at the grain, fail to deter the quelea when its
attack is heaviest, as in years when other native grasses it normally feeds
on are in short supply. No method has yet been found to reduce the
bird's numbers substantially, and its recurring predations account in
part for farmers' planting maize even in areas where sorghum may be
the more reliable producer. Control methods, such as blasting nesting
sites, have thus far been ineffective in achieving a lasting reduction of
the quelea population; though the Organisation Commune du Lutte
Antiacridienne et de Lutte Antiaviaire (OCLALAV) has used such
methods to destroy millions of these birds each year.
Sorghum is subject to attack by a wide array of diseases and insect
pests. No valid estimates of losses are available, but in localized areas
the effects of any one or more of these can be catastrophic. All of the
known smuts occur in Africa. Losses due to kernel smuts have been
estimated to be at least 10 percent per year. Sources of resistance to
some species and races of these fungi are known, but little has been
done to develop strains resistant to them. Ergot is widespread through-
out Africa (caused by Sphacelia sorghi). Unfertilized florets are particu-
larly susceptible to infection from this fungus, fatal to human beings in
large quantities but valuable as a pharmaceutical in small dosages. The
potential for disease infection may be a serious deterrent to the com-
mercial production of hybrid seed. Native varieties possess fair-to-good
resistance to the more important leaf diseases anthracnosee, sooty stripe,
and leaf blight). Exotic types needed to expand the genetic base in
other respects may, however, be severely damaged.
Witchweed (Striga species) may cause serious losses and under severe
infestation may render land useless for sorghum production. Differential
resistance to this parasite is known, and in combination with good hus-
bandry and limited use of herbicides, this resistance can hold losses to
acceptable levels.
Insect pests damaging to sorghum include sorghum midge, the shoot
fly and stem borers. Progress has been achieved in the sorghum program
at Serere, Uganda, in developing types resistant or at least tolerant to
the shoot fly. Recurrent selection has been particularly effective in con-
centrating genes for the "recovery" type of resistance through better
growth of the tillers. Productive studies on host plant resistance to stem
borers have also been made possible by the development of artificial
rearing techniques for some of the types of this pest.
Insects may also cause serious loss to stored grain. While the corn-
eous types of sorghum are more resistant to weevil attacks, control is
largely a matter of proper harvesting and storage procedures.


The Millets
As with other cereal grains, the research needs of the millets include
broad-based germ plasm pools to provide greater opportunity for selec-
tion of disease-resistant varieties. Improved rotations and mixed farm-
ing systems that include millets are also needed.
Most of the effort directed toward improvement of bulrush millet
has been in plant selection, which under controlled pollination leads to
better plant types but not necessarily to increased yield. Some very de-
sirable early-tillering types have been developed in Senegal where short-
stemmed millets for use as cereals form the subject of a project carried
out by ORSTOM and IRAT under an agreement with the Senegal gov-
ernment. A recurrent selection program in Uganda based on a proce-
dure similar to that used with maize has produced significant yield in-
creases after only a single cycle, according to preliminary data. Male-
sterile plants that can be used in breeding hybrids have been developed.
Workers in the Ivory Coast have made significant progress in using radia-
tion as a mutagen to develop short-stemmed highly productive bulrush
millet that lends itself to mechanized cultivation practices.
The diseases that attack bulrush millet are the same as or similar to
those of sorghum. The main effort of a breeding program in Nigeria is
to develop resistance to downy mildew (Sclerospora graminicola), ergot
(Claviceps microcephala), and smut (Tolyposporium penicillareae).
Improvement studies on finger millet have been limited almost en-
tirely to strain selection and evaluation. Two varieties have been identi-
fied in Uganda and are being multiplied for possible release. Breeding
research is under way through controlled pollination. Radiation is being
used to induce genetic male sterility; if this is successful, the sterility
will be used to develop a random-mating gene pool.

The story of wheat in Africa has largely been one of a race to stay
ahead of the rusts. Continual research is necessary to develop varieties
with enough resistance to permit production at an economic level.
Without this research, wheat production could have disappeared long
ago from the East African highlands. Since rust resistance is also a
major concern in other parts of the world, African work must be inte-
grated with related work elsewhere, especially through CIMMYT.
The rusts present are black stem rust (Puccinia graminis), which was
formerly most severe at altitudes of 1,500-2,100 m (5,000-7,000 ft) but


now is found over a greater span of altitudes; stripe (or yellow) rust
(P. striiformis), which is most severe at elevations above 2,100 m (7,000
ft); and leaf rust (P. recondita), the distribution of which has always
been fairly general.
The rust problem has held center stage and has left considerations of
quality waiting in the wings. Research on quality has been limited to
discarding items with poor milling and baking characteristics. Inherent
quality, therefore, tends to be no more than average and is often re-
duced further by rust and other diseases. Relatively little fertilizer re-
search has been attempted and, therefore, little is known of the effect
of fertilizers on the growing plant and on the quality of the grain pro-
The popularity of wheat and wheat products prompts governments to
press for research adapting it to new environments, such as the wadis of
northern Nigeria on the southern fringe of the Sahara, where tomatoes
and other crops grow luxuriantly on the residual moisture available in
the soil (supplemented by irrigation) during the cool part of the dry
season following the rains. Nigeria has planned an ambitious expansion
of irrigation schemes in the northern states of this zone. Kano State
alone has completed one year's work as of 1972, on a dam for supplying
irrigation water to 70,000 ha. Here wheat is one of the most desired as
well as one of the most feasible crops to grow. Intensive local trade in
horticultural crops is likely to develop in this area but only on a minor
part of the envisaged irrigation development; "Mexican" wheat varieties
are very suitable for growing under these conditions.

As for rice, Africa has its own research problems, its own genetic stocks
and its own orientation toward production. The upland rice culture of
Africa (representing more than two thirds of the rice acreage on the
continent) has not been satisfactorily studied; nor have the seemingly
widespread opportunities in wetland production been sufficiently ex-
amined. Current information on rice culture including fertilization prac-
tices and weed control, is inadequate for the wide range of soils and di-
verse array of environmental conditions of African rice production.
African rice production prospects will be determined by a number of
economic factors, notably: (1) the increasing world demand for rice
which Africa can help to satisfy, (2) the capacity of the rice-producing
areas of Africa to meet the competition from rice-producing areas else-
where in the world, and (3) the ability of the areas in Africa to hold a


competitive economic advantage over other crops which are produced
in these localities. These economic factors will depend upon certain
unique ecological and agronomic ones. For example, this crop must
compete with other cereals in the dry areas of Africa and with roots
and tubers in the wet areas. The maximum rice yield that can be ex-
pected in the humid tropics, where cloudy skies reduce the amount of
sunlight reaching the rice plants and thereby impair yield, is still un-
known. Much of this research could be initiated and supervised from a
well-staffed regional center with a wisely chosen series of satellite
Birds are a hazard wherever rice is grown, and they are especially
serious where the crop is raised in small, isolated patches. No effective
controls are currently available. Rodents are locally destructive, and
suitable control measures must be developed. Stem borers also present
Rice is affected by a number of leaf diseases and root and stem rots.
The most widespread and damaging is rice blast (Piricularia oryzae). It
is far worse under upland conditions than in paddies. Since this fungus
is highly variable and many races are known, development of resistant
types of rice is a difficult problem. Resistance has been identified in
some types and is being transferred into locally useful varieties. Such
work must continue since new strains of this fungus appear to develop
and become established even more rapidly in Africa than in Asia.

A research grant from The Rockefeller Foundation has made possible a
thorough collection of germ plasm at Debre Zeit in Ethiopia. Several
hundred selections have been fully identified and characterized agro-
nomically. Tremendous increases in yield have been reported from se-
lected and cultivated varieties subjected to modern cultivation practices.
The potentialities of this crop and the problems within its restricted
range speak for a modestly expanded program of breeding and agron-
omy. Because the floret is small and delicate at the breeding stage, how-
ever, efforts so far to emasculate it for production of crossed offspring
have failed. Artificial and induced mutation breeding may prove more
Teff production suffers from a number of major economic problems,
but the plant itself possesses serious physical handicaps: It has weak
straw, it competes poorly with weeds in the seed bed and, when ready
to harvest, the seed shatters. This last characteristic impedes mechaniz-
ing the harvesting and threshing of teff.


The research capabilities for cereal grains in Africa are, for the most
part, well developed in comparison to those for other food crops. The
exceptions are millet, which deserves a greatly intensified research ef-
fort, and the Ethiopian favorite, teff, which could use more exploratory
research, though its appeal is likely to remain local.

In wheat improvement, the strongest program in East Africa is at Njoro,
Kenya. Begun during the colonial period, this work is well supported by
the government of Kenya, with inputs in earlier years from The Rocke-
feller Foundation and later from the Canadian government. Equally im-
portant are the cash contributions of the farmer himself through a volun-
tary levy on wheat. The work at this station is well integrated in the
world's wheat-breeding network. Rust-resistant varieties developed here
have been the mainstay of East African production and have served as
useful parents in breeding programs in the United States and at
CIMMYT in Mexico.
Modern wheat research has been initiated in Ethiopia at the Debre
Zeit Experiment Station and at Alemaya in conjunction with the de-
velopment of the College of Agriculture at Haile Selassie I University
(HSIU) in Harar province.
At Khartoum, Wad Medani, and stations farther south along the
White Nile in Sudan, strong agronomic and breeding programs for
wheat and other cereals have produced improved varieties.

For many years the most important center in the English-speaking
countries of Africa for research on the production of rice has been the
rice station at Rokupr, Sierra Leone, established in 1934. The program
was reorganized and expanded, and in 1949 it became the West Africa
Rice Research Station. Through this organization, close cooperation
was established with Senegal, Gambia, Ghana and Nigeria, resulting in
branch stations in the last three. Regional work was discontinued in
1962, and the program in Sierra Leone was transferred to Njala College
of the University of Sierra Leone. Local funds were inadequate to main-
tain the previous level of work, and the rice research effort became
largely a holding operation. Rice research in Africa suffered a severe set-
back as a result.


Between 1936 and 1962, improved types were introduced and dis-
tributed widely in West Africa. The production program in the Gbedin
area of Liberia in 1953 was based on varieties developed at Rokupr.
Similarly, the rice improvement program in Nigeria began as part of the
regional effort and benefited greatly from the breeding and production
studies conducted at Rokupr, and at the Federal Research Station at
Badeggi, Nigeria. Nevertheless, African rice yields remain low, and much
can be done to improve varieties and production practices. Ghana pro-
duces about half its domestic needs for rice, but the quality of the
material grown needs to be re-evaluated; little pure seed is available.
Rice research in the francophone African countries and the Malagasy
Republic is entrusted to IRAT by the governments of the countries
concerned. The network of stations consists of two regional centers-
Ivoloina, the Malagasy Republic, for irrigated rice, and Bouake, Ivory
Coast, for irrigated and rainfed rice-and secondary stations in Senegal,
Niger, Mali, Ivory Coast, Cameroon and the Malagasy Republic.
IITA recently initiated breeding and production studies with paddy
and upland rice. In its short history, IITA has produced yields of 8.4
tons/ha in the dry season and between 6 and 7 tons/ha of paddy rice in
the rainy season. Upland yields range between 3 and 4 tons/ha. These
results corroborate those obtained before by IRAT in its research sta-
tions. The IITA program is coordinated with that of the International
Rice Research Institute (IRRI) in the Philippines and cooperates with
the activities of the West African Rice Development Association
(WARDA) headquartered in Liberia.
Large areas of Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania are well suited to rice
culture, but rice research has not received high priority in continental
East Africa and has, therefore, suffered greatly from a lack of conti-
nuity. However, locally selected varieties and better cultural practices
have given quite satisfactory yields in the Mwea-Tebere irrigation
scheme, and the rice research program at Makerere University in Uganda
has made an auspicious beginning. A rice research program was planned
by EAAFRO, but by the spring of 1972 the necessary review of re-
search capabilities in the countries of the East African Community-
Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda-was incomplete because of delays in
recruiting researchers.

Maize, Sorghum and the Millets
Since the research needs of maize, sorghum and the millets are similar,
it is advantageous to conduct research on these crops at common sta-
tions. In breeding maize, the goals and procedures are quite similar to


those for the other crops, and often the same or similar pests attack the
different crops. Housing research on them at the same stations not only
is economical, but also provides an opportunity for intellectual cross-
fertilization among specialists in different fields.
At present, Kenya has a particularly strong capability in maize at its
Kitale station. It has received inputs over a long period of time from
The Rockefeller Foundation, the British Overseas Development Admin-
istration (ODA), the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA),
USAID/USDA Agricultural Research Service (ARS), the East African
Community and other sources.
Across the continent in Nigeria, a strong maize research program
exists at IITA in Ibadan. It is building a capable staff and is developing
associations with CIMMYT in Mexico and the International Center of
Tropical Agriculture (CIAT) in Colombia, which provide ready access
to germ plasm from all areas of the world. Two equally strong Nigerian
research programs are closely associated with IITA-one at Ahmadu
Bello University at Samaru in northern Nigeria and the other at the
Federal Department of Agriculture station, Moor Plantation, in Ibadan,
where US AID, British and Nigerian scientists are cooperating under
OAU/STRC Joint Project 26 (described below, under "Prospects for
International Cooperation on Cereals Research in Africa").
In francophone West Africa, IRAT maize research staff in Senegal,
Ivory Coast, Dahomey, Upper Volta and the Malagasy Republic are
studying fertilization, cultivation techniques, local varieties of impor-
tance and hybrids. This work is also linked by Joint Project 26 and
IITA. Here, as elsewhere, lack of facilities for producing and distribut-
ing seed must be remedied for production of improved.maize varieties
to succeed.
One of the most important centers for sorghum research in Africa is
IAR with its main station at Samaru and a substation at Kano, Nigeria.
Studies are under way on breeding pest-resistant strains with attractive
qualities as food (absence of bitterness) and on the most desirable pro-
duction systems (in which sorghum is grown in mixture with other
crops). Another important center is the Uganda government station at
Serere. It houses the EAAFRO sorghum project, which is developing
hybrids for grain quality and resistance to insect pests. General sorghum
research is also being conducted in Sudan at Wad Medani and the Sennar
Abu Naama research substation. Breeding and selection studies under
the supervision and guidance of IRAT are concentrated primarily in
Niger, Upper Volta and Senegal, where the main research station,
Bambey, is located.
The only stations engaged in maize and sorghum research also having


substantial programs in the millets are those at Serere, Uganda, and at
Kano, Nigeria. Other significant research capabilities are found mainly
at Bambey, Senegal, where the emphasis is on breeding and early-tiller-
ing types, and in Upper Volta at Farakoba, where radiogenetic selection
of highly productive shortstemmed varieties is under way. The Kano
station is investigating disease resistance, and the one at Serere is work-
ing on problems of hybrid production. Significant research has taken
place at the Makerere University farm in Uganda and recently at the
University of Ibadan in Nigeria on crossing bulrush millet with a related
species, elephant grass (Pennisetum purpureum), to produce a hybrid
grass for grazing superior to either species separately.

The addition of specialists in breeding and agronomy to the Ethiopian
research program on teff and the provision of adequate funding would
appear to be a sound investment.

No single country in Africa or in any other continent can finance and
implement the detailed and extensive research that the cereal crops re-
quire. Regional centers have been evolving to fill these needs in part.
Such centers have to maintain close liaison with national programs
which have responsibility for extension, seed production, and distribu-
tion programs; development of transportation, storage, processing and
marketing systems; and for general policy.
Regional centers and individual country programs share a number of
responsibilities, for example:

1. training men and women in practical field research and in the
"Green Revolution" outlook, which emphasizes motivation as well as
scientific training;
2. organizing regional workshops, seminar conferences, and consul-
tation visits;
3. conducting regional varietal and agronomic trials;
4. assembling and studying world collections of germ plasm for each
important crop; maintaining such stocks in viable condition; improving
them through recurrent selection; and distributing the resulting popula-
tions to interested countries for further selection or for commercial use;
5. establishing plant quarantine and introduction facilities adequate


to handle the large numbers of items required in effective breeding
6. identifying sources of resistance to important insects and diseases
and devising other control measures; and
7. expanding work on the evaluation of nutritional and commercial-
processing characteristics of cereal crop produce.

Several organizations now pursue some of these objectives in Africa;
OAU/STRC, IRAT, WARDA, IITA, and the International Development
Research Center of Canada (IDRC) are cases in point.
OAU/STRC launched a cooperative research effort in 1964 on cereals
called Joint Project 26. This project, scheduled to end in 1975, is sup-
ported financially by USAID and is staffed and supervised by USDA. It
has two regional centers, one cooperating with IAR of Ahmadu Bello
University (Zaria, Nigeria) and the Nigerian Federal Ministry of Agricul-
ture (Moor Plantation, Ibadan) and the other with EAAFRO. The re-
search staff includes geneticists, pathologists, entomologists, soil scien-
tists and a cereal technologist-all giving primary emphasis to sorghum,
maize and the millets. Regional trials have also been established for
these cereals, and regular conferences for researchers are held in both
East and West Africa, in French- and English-speaking countries.
The corresponding activities of IRAT, which serves francophone West
Africa, have been covered in the earlier discussion of research capabili-
WARDA was organized several years ago; it now draws support pri-
marily from the United Nations [the U.N. Development Program
(UNDP) and FAO], from USAID, from the Netherlands, from the
United Kingdom and from the governments of the 14 West African na-
tions in which rice production, though substantial, fails to satisfy the
demand. Some countries spend as much as 16 percent of their foreign
exchange earnings on rice imports, even though the ecological condi-
tions are favorable for rice cultivation and the high-yield varieties that
apparently are well adapted to West African conditions are available.
Soil management, irrigation and water control, and lack of proper in-
frastructure constitute some of the limiting factors.
The governing council of WARD A first convened in September 1971,
and its headquarters has been established in Monrovia, Liberia. A 5-year
program of work has been mapped and 14 research projects, two devel-
opment projects, and one coordinating project are being prepared in
cooperation with consultants from USAID, IRAT, FAO, IITA and three
member countries. The governing council held a meeting in May 1972
to consider a draft of the research and the training programs, and other


matters. WARDA views its most important objective as the preparation
of specialists and extension workers for national rice programs of mem-
ber countries.
IITA was designed to serve the humid tropics principally. Among the
cereal grains it gives special emphasis to rice and lowland maize, and it
also specializes in soils, edible legumes, root crops, farming systems and
socioeconomic studies. The institute provides opportunities for research
and production training and sponsors seminars on topics of regional
IDRC sponsors many specific schemes or projects in Africa. One is
directed toward research on triticale, an experimental wheat-rye hybrid,
in the highlands of Ethiopia. Another is to improve the gum arabic in-
dustry in West Africa.
The Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) provides still another
vehicle for conducting cooperative research (see "Forming and Execut-
ing Agricultural Research Programs," Chapter XVI).
During 1972, the Consultative Group on International Agricultural
Research (CGIAR) established the International Crop Research Insti-
tute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) with its central site in India.
The program of this institute will deal with sorghum and the millets
vital to the agriculture of Africa, and with grain legumes, especially
pigeon peas and chickpeas. ICRISAT also proposes to develop relay
stations at established national research centers in Africa, which will
greatly amplify the international research capabilities in these crops.
Much of the basic research can take place on an international scale at
that institute, but each of the producing countries will need to shore up
its own research on these as well as other crops.

Because of their central role in African agriculture the NAS Committee
on African Agricultural Research Capabilities assigns top priority to the
cereal crops for accelerated and expanded research. This research is es-
sential primarily because improved quality grains with increased protein
content will provide more nutritious diets for increasing numbers of
people. But increased knowledge of the cereal crops and methods of
their production also promise to (1) eventually supply feed grains to
the developing livestock industry; (2) lower the production costs of
staple foods and thereby make them more accessible to the African
consumer, increasing demand for them; and (3) improve the economic


welfare of the small farmers and, with them, the economy of Africa as
a whole.
The kinds of research on each cereal will vary in accordance with the
specific gaps to be closed, but the Committee recommends that support
for African cereal crop be directed toward

training African agronomists, breeders, plant pathologists and ento-
mologists to help man the existing research programs and enlarge such
programs where necessary (amplifying agricultural course work and re-
search facilities at the African universities and promoting short-term
training experiences for African agricultural personnel at the interna-
tional centers, etc.);
improving communication between extension workers and re-
searchers to expedite the adoption of research results;
improving communication between researchers in different coun-
tries in the manner of the cereal worker conferences held under the
auspices of OA U/S TR C, Joint Project 26; utilizing A A A SA when it be-
comes feasible to do so to facilitate sharing of information among scien-
tists and communication between scientists and government officials or
groups of farmers;
improving post-harvest technology, particularly in storage and mill-
ing, to preserve protein content for human and animal consumption;
encouraging utilization of indigenous germ plasm by assembling,
pooling and preserving collections of genetic stocks at certain strategic
points on the continent-Ethiopia, for example.

Specific research recommendations on each cereal crop are outlined

On sorghum, the Committee recommends expanding national cap-
abilities (in plant breeding, especially) in research based on the network
of multicrop stations extending from Senegal through Upper Volta,
Niger, Nigeria and Sudan, and Ethiopia to Uganda in East Africa. This
research should focus on improving the yield and quality of this crop
through a comprehensive review of the germ plasm available from in-
digenous sources, as well as through creation of hybrids and synthetic
varieties using material introduced from abroad.
On the millets, the Committee also recommends intensifying crop
breeding for their importance as dryland crops and for the potentialities
they exhibit for increased yields and high quality protein content. More-


over, recent investigations suggest that the millets may prove to be an
important genetic source for interspecific crosses with elephant grass.
These crosses are expected to produce a high yielding, palatable hybrid
forage for animals with little risk of prussic acid poisoning. Sound scien-
tific and technical reasons underlie the creation of strong national and
regional programs in Africa on the millets, programs that can stand
alone but which also will complement and supplement the work of
On maize, the Committee recommends improving the quality of
maize grown in the humid tropics and its potential as a food crop in the
off-season (the hunger gap after the root crops have been consumed and
prior to the next harvest).
On maize, the Committee recommends analyzing the existing farm-
ing systems in the dry tropics to determine the factors which prevent
the local people from utilizing the maize varieties with improved yield
capacity already available in these areas.
On rice, the Committee recommends a thorough review of the up-
land cropping system. This will require special attention to the plant
varieties, especially their competitive position vis-a-vis sorghum, the
millets and maize. The Committee recommends strengthening WARDA
to provide regional rice development and training facilities and to rein-
force the programs of rice improvement at national level in West Africa.
On wheat, the Committee recommends sustained research on breed-
ing varieties resistant to the various diseases that attack it, especially to
wheat rust with its many variants and to septoria blight. Continuing ef-
forts will be necessary to weave the research efforts in Africa with those
of the international research organizations-cIM M YT, for example-
where mutual benefit accrues through interchange of material tested at
numerous sites under different pest and disease loads.

Teff will require fundamental research, a knowledge of and experience
in crossing techniques. As teff is important primarily to Ethiopia, these
may best be developed at national level within that country.


Grain Legumes

Many grain legumes provide food for the African people, but this report
focuses on the three outstanding ones-cowpeas (Vigna sinensis), pi-
geon peas (Cajanus cajan), and the common bean (Phaseolus species).
Cowpeas are the legume most generally planted for food throughout
Africa, but they are extremely susceptible to pests and their yields are
low. Pigeon peas are also widely distributed, but more as a casual crop
interplanted with other economic crops. They have a latent general po-
tential as a food crop, which can supply the local people with more pro-
tein of higher quality. The common bean thrives in the highland areas
of the continent, but it, too, is highly susceptible to pests and diseases,
and the range where it grows well is restricted.
Two other grain legumes, soybeans and groundnuts (peanuts), have
great possibilities as food crops. Many countries have a strong interest
in expanding research on groundnuts and in developing a capacity for
soybean production. Groundnuts are currently of importance as a food
and commercial crop in the semiarid tropics, but it is unlikely that pro-
duction can be extended profitably into the humid tropical areas where
protein deficiencies are greatest. Soybeans are the main source of pro-
tein for human food in parts of China and other East Asian countries.


The main economic interest in these crops lies in the possibility of in-
creasing oil production from them either for export or for domestic con-
sumption without, however, overlooking their significance as major
sources of protein for human beings and livestock. This report considers
them with the oil crops.
The food legumes, along with the cereals, offer an avenue for improv-
ing the protein balance in the diet of Africans. In general the legumes
have a better balance of amino acids than the cereals, and better still
are combinations of the two.
The legumes as a class, however, pose certain nutritional problems.
They may contain cyanogenetic glucosides, various enzyme inhibitors,
and other factors that affect digestibility of the seeds. Because we know
so little about the biological significance of these adverse features,
breeders are working in the dark in attempting to eliminate or minimize
them. A joint research program of IITA and the University of Durham,
New Castle, United Kingdom, may clarify some of these basic questions.
The yields and prices paid to the farmer for food legumes are often
low, making them less attractive commercially than the cereals as an
agricultural economy moves away from a subsistence level. Little is
known about their inherent yield potential, though careful management
has brought moderate yields at experiment stations in India and the
United States.
Flowering in grain legumes can begin very soon after germination and
may continue indefinitely under favorable conditions. A very wide
range of times to maturity is usually found within a species, and most
grain legumes can therefore be grown over the whole range of tropical
African climates. They are more characteristic, however, of the season-
ally arid cereal-growing parts of Africa than of the more continuously
humid and protein-deprived zone where the staples are starchy roots
and tubers.
Surprisingly little botanical work has been done on these crops in
Africa, though at Townsville, Australia, workers have carried out valu-
able analyses of the grain legumes of Africa. While considerable collec-
tions have been made in several cases, much taxonomic, genetic and
cytological work remains to be done. The related wild species have
hardly been studied at all.
Many grain legumes are attacked by stem borers and foliage-, pod-,
and seed-eating insects. In some cases these pests also affect the sor-
ghum, maize and cotton crops with which the legumes are associated in
the drier regions. Storage problems are particularly common and serious
in grain legumes.



Cowpeas, which probably originated in Africa, are now grown wherever
the climate is suitable around the world. They are the most important
food legumes grown south of the Sahara with 2.7 million hectares
planted comprising 90 percent of the world's production.
Their most important use is in the form of dried beans for human
food, with the residue used for stock feed. They are also eaten in the
green seed and green pod form and as sprouted seedlings, and the
tender green leaves are cooked as a green vegetable. The pea has excel-
lent nutritive characteristics, with a crude protein level that can exceed
30 percent but averages 23 percent, 1.4 percent of which is methionine,
an amino acid generally lacking in food legumes. There are no reports
of antimetabolic factors or toxic components in cowpeas.
In Africa the cowpea is commonly interplanted with sorghum or
maize, providing a late (and often small) pulse crop and possibly con-
tributing some nitrogen to the system. The undersown cowpea also pro-
tects the soil from erosion. Cowpeas are usually sown, cultivated and
harvested by hand.
The worldwide average yield is 385 kg/ha; the African average is 370.
Yields exceeding 2 tons/ha have been reported from experimental
plantings sponsored by USDA and USAID in Iran; yields close to 2
tons/ha have often been achieved in trials at IAR as well. Low yields re-
sult mainly from severe insect attack, use of varieties with small yield-
ing potential, and poor crop management practices. Outside of a few
isolated, sporadic attempts, there has been very little effort to improve
production in Africa. Cowpea improvement, however, is becoming a
major effort at IITA.
A germ plasm collection has been started at Moor Plantation in Ni-
geria, a world collection of cowpeas is being assembled at IITA, and
another extensive collection is maintained at the Kano station of IA R.
Both photosensitive and day-neutral forms are known, and there are
four distinct types of growth habits: erect, semi-upright, prostrate and
climbing. There are also many variants in pod form and seed color, the
genetics of which have been studied in South Africa.
Few improved, high-yield varieties have been developed in Africa or
elsewhere, mainly because little consistent breeding has been under-
taken. Breeding studies are under way in Nigeria, Senegal and Uganda.
The rhizobia (the nitrogen-fixing bacteria that live in association with


cowpeas) are widespread in Africa. They may undergo some varietal
specialization about which little is known. Cowpea rhizobia are being
studied in a joint project between the Rothamsted Experiment Station
and IITA.
An appropriate form of cowpea could probably be found for any pre-
scribed agronomic application, including multiple cropping at very
close spacing in maximum output systems. Studies of the range of
agronomic conditions under which cowpeas grow well will indicate the
reasons for the current very small average yield of the crop and suggest
ways of increasing output. The association of cowpeas with sorghum
and maize should also be studied critically, since mixtures of this sort
offer a potentially important practical means of managing soils effec-
tively, particularly with relation to the nitrogen cycle.
Mildew, anthracnose, rust, viruses, bacterial diseases, nematodes and
numerous insects attack cowpeas. Because of the problems associated
with use of insecticides, development of resistant varieties may become
the best long-term method of pest control. Breeding for resistance also
appears to be the best way to gain control of diseases and nematodes.
For these reasons it is important to build a germ plasm collection in-
cluding the 60 or more wild species of cowpeas as well as the full range
of cultivated forms. Used in a well-coordinated, multidisciplinary re-
search program, such a collection would greatly assist other improve-
ments as well.

Pigeon Pea

The pigeon pea (Cajanus cajan), native to South and Southeast Asia, is
widely grown in East Africa as a minor crop-often somewhat casually-
alone or mixed in plantings with sorghum or the millets (Figure 6). It is
seldom (if ever) seen as a sole crop, except at experiment stations. At
present, Africa accounts for only about 2 percent of the total world
production with 3 percent of the area planted to pigeon peas.
Yields in Africa are quite low, averaging 380 kg/ha. Experimental
yields of a local variety have exceeded 5,000 kg/ha in India, and in
Puerto Rico researchers have reported yields of more than 7,000 kg/ha
of green peas.
The present low yields are mainly a consequence of varietal charac-
teristics, insect attack and lack of good management. Dramatic increases
can be obtained by taking advantage of the fact that, while most varie-
ties are long-duration types (300 days from planting to harvest) the ma-


FIGURE 6 Picking pigeon peas, Masaki, Tanzania. (Photo courtesy of Ray E. Ellis, Rapho
Guillumette Pictures, New York.)

turity range can be as short as 120-150 days or even less, depending on
plant type and on length of day in the growing area.
In comparison with other grain legumes, pigeon peas are deep-rooted,
drought-tolerant, and free from consistently and devastatingly harmful
diseases. Early growth is slow. This fact may account for the practice of
planting pigeon peas in mixtures with cereals which grow rapidly, are
harvested, and leave the pigeon peas to grow and mature afterwards.
They are susceptible to a range of foliage-damaging insects, pod borers,
and nematodes, although the damage may be less severe than with
other crops. Under storage, pigeon pea seed is extremely susceptible to
attack by bruchid insects.


The dry bean (Phaseolus vulgaris)-common bean, snap bean, kidney
bean, haricot bean-is a principal protein source in the eastern part of
Zaire, in Rwanda, Burundi and especially Uganda. It is grown in other
high-altitude areas of eastern Africa and Ethiopia and, as a winter crop,
in Sudan. In Tanzania and Malawi, seed crops are grown for export.


Annual production ofP. vulgaris in Africa is about 800,000 metric
tons (about 7.5 percent of the world total) on about 1.3 million hec-
tares comprising about 5.5 percent of the worldwide area. Average
yields around the world are 470 kg/ha; in Africa the average is 600
kg/ha. Under modern farming methods in the United States, yields
average more than 1.5 tons/ha; experimental yields of up to 4 tons/ha
have been achieved in Asia and the United States. As is the case with
other grain legumes, yields are low because the varieties used have
small inherent potential and are susceptible to a wide range of diseases
and pests and the production and management practices are unsatis-
Phaseolus beans are inferior nutritionally to cowpeas and pigeon
peas. They contain about 22 percent protein, with large percentages of
lysine and threonine and low sulfur amino acid content. They contain
many factors limiting digestibility-antimetabolites, hemagglutinins,
trypsin inhibitors, and flatus-producing factors.
Little work has been done on breeding improved varieties of beans
outside the United States and Europe, and most bean programs have
emphasized specific problems, such as resistance to insects and diseases,
important only in limited areas. Varieties produced in this way have a
narrow genetic base and, therefore, are not outstandingly superior.
Phaseolus beans are susceptible to more than 20 fungal and bacterial
diseases and viruses. More than half the crop may be lost to insects that
attack the plants in the field and the seed in storage.

The primary goal of research in the grain legumes must be to enable
peasant farmers, to whom these crops are most important, to obtain
consistently good yields. Meeting this goal requires not only attention
to developing cultivars with large yield potential and to improving
methods of raising them, but also attention to breeding for resistance
to pests and diseases as well.
Also urgently needed are forms adapted to different environments,
especially the humid tropics. Though the present distribution may foster
valuable trade when the drier legume-growing region and the wetter pro-
tein-short region adjoin each other, large areas of the humid tropics
where people need better diets lie beyond the reach of such exchanges.
Since the different grain legumes share many common features of
structure and variability, there will be great advantages in organizing
future work on them so that workers on different species and genera


will be able to exchange ideas and results as they go along. An African
grain legume newsletter could be extremely helpful.


Three countries in Africa-Nigeria, Senegal and Uganda-support pro-
grams of research on cowpeas. In Nigeria this research takes place at
Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria; at the Moor Plantation (collection of
germ plasm and breeding studies); the University of Ibadan, and IITA,
Ibadan; and at the University of Ife (inheritance studies and screening
for disease resistance). In Senegal research is concentrated at the Centre
National de Recherches Agronomiques, Bambey (breeding and varietal
trials for yield, earliness, photo-insensitivity, and upright plant habit);
in Uganda, Makerere University, Kampala, has a program on varietal
trials and pest resistance studies.
Present research efforts on cowpeas in Africa should be linked to-
gether, and based at a main center where research on agricultural sys-
tems is strong, because of the need for greater understanding of the role
cowpeas may play within different farming systems. IITA is a logical
choice for this effort with closely linked collaborative investigations at
Samaru and Kano in Northern Nigeria and at Bambey, Senegal. IITA
scientists started work on cowpeas in 1970 and by 1972 had 35 acres
(14.2 ha) of breeding material, 15 acres (6.1 ha) in plant protection ex-
periments and 15 acres in physiological and agronomic studies. If a cor-
responding program on pigeon peas is established at IITA, the combina-
tion of overall capabilities will be especially attractive.

Pigeon Peas
Research needed on the highly promising pigeon pea could logically be
based on the comprehensive central collections being gathered at
Makerere University. Started in 1969, research there has so far concen-
trated on breeding improved varieties obtained through screening the
germ plasm collection of the Indian Agricultural Research Institute.
Since there are remarkably few apparent barriers to great improve-
ments in yields of this nutritious crop, exploratory research programs
should be encouraged. A research program has been started at IITA,
associated with the cowpea research there as has been suggested above,
and in close cooperation with ICRISAT in India.


Makerere University in Uganda and Cambridge University in the United
Kingdom, with support from ODA, have recently undertaken a collabo-
rative research effort on Phaseolus beans in Africa. Using materials col-
lected by The Rockefeller Foundation in part, this program is presently
concentrating on breeding for disease resistance. It may well be appro-
priate during the next few years to associate other research on the
common bean in Africa as closely as possible with this program and
to take other species of Phaseolus, particularly the lima bean (P. luna-
tus) into consideration.
In the Malagasy Republic, a research program on P. lunatus has been
under way for some years. Work on P. lunatus is also being conducted
at IITA, which is surveying the potential of a number of miscellaneous
bean varieties.

The food legumes have exceptional immediate potential for alleviating
human malnutrition in tropical Africa by virtue of (1) their ability to
grow vigorously under a wide range of environments and on poor soils
without supplemental nitrogen; (2) the potentially short maturity time
of certain varieties, particularly of cowpeas and dry beans; and (3) the
extended fruiting periods of long-duration viny species and woody
perennials. In addition, they provide the only nonprocessed, storable,
and transportable protein food concentrate for both rural and urban
use. Excellent in nutritional value, they complement the diet of the
humid tropical zone based on roots, tubers and plantains, and fit ad-
mirably in the complex peasant farming systems.
The Committee subscribes to the suggestions submitted to the United
Nations Protein Advisory Group symposium on nutritional improve-
ment of food legumes by breeding (PAG, 1971)-namely, that the most
efficient vehicle for achieving results in upgrading food legumes com-
parable to the success of the Green Revolution in cereal improvement
would be a series of international technical networks of national re-
search programs cooperating with international and regional institutions
and other international and national agencies.

The Committee recommends that one or more national centers be
designated in each of the different ecological zones where knowledge
and resources could be pooled to catalyze research and training activi-


ties; such programs should be accorded high priority for support from
CGIAR and interested donor agencies. For Africa this will entail

1. expanding experiment station facilities at the national level;
2. enlarging training programs in national faculties of agriculture and
at such institutions as IITA for agricultural specialists, particularly
pathologists and entomologists;
3. enlarging collections of germ plasm and using wild species in breed-
ing programs for obtaining increased yield, better nutritional composi-
tion and resistance to pests and diseases;
4. improving communication between researchers in different coun-
tries through seminars and through the publication of a newsletter;
5. tightening cooperating relationships with institutions outside
Africa-such as ICRISAT, Hyderabad, India, and CIAT, Cali, Colombia-
which have research programs on grain legumes; and
6. including research on production systems in which food legumes
can also contribute nitrogen and protect soil against erosion, thereby
improving the yields of other crops grown in association with them or

Among the food legumes-cowpeas, pigeon peas and the common
bean-the Committee recommends according top priority to cowpeas
in African research, particularly to increasing yields and controlling
pests and diseases. Knowledge of the association of this crop in mix-
tures with sorghum or maize could lead to improved means of soil
management, especially of the nitrogen cycle. With regard to pigeon
peas, the ongoing research, collecting and testing of a wide variety of
types should be continued and amplified. Such research as is being con-
ducted in Africa on the common bean ought to be well integrated with
the research under way on that crop at CIAT; low yields due primarily
to root rot and other plant diseases would be a prime target for research
effort. The potentials of less familiar species like the lima bean, winged
bean rice bean, yam bean, jack bean and "asian grams" should be ex-


Roots, Tubers

and Plantains

The roots, tubers (including the "Irish" potato), and plantains consti-
tute an illogical conglomerate of distantly related plant species; never-
theless, they belong together in this discussion of basic food crops be-
cause they furnish calories for people who live where the cereal crops do
not flourish-primarily, but not exclusively, the humid tropics. Cassava
(Figure 7) and, to a lesser extent, yam, cocoyam and sweet potato, are
grown extensively over the continent. The Irish potato is a cool weather
or high altitude crop for which there is increasing demand from many
city dwellers. The plantains have a wide range and are of major impor-
tance as a secondary staple over much of the forest belt.


Current Status of Production and Research
Cassava, cocoyams, sweet potatoes and possibly yams are capable of
producing more food calories in a given area than any other lowland
crop. About 50 million tons of these roots and tubers are produced an-
nually in tropical Africa, where they are preferred staples. They gen-
erally are produced more cheaply and with less labor and attention than
cereals. They can adapt to diverse climatic conditions, and they suffer


FIGURE 7 Cassava. (Photo courtesy of Dr. Edward S. Ayensu, Smithsonian Institution,
Washington, D.C.)

from fewer diseases and insect pests than the cereals-although the ef-
fects of the diseases and insects which do attack them can be very
In addition to their value as human food, these crops can be used as
livestock feed and for industrial products such as starch and alcohol.
Dried cassava chips exported from Kenya, Ghana, Thailand and coun-
tries of South America are becoming an important source of carbohy-
drates in livestock feeds. If cassava can be produced more cheaply for
this use and for human consumption as well, it may be able to compete
successfully in international markets with the feed grains.
Cassava is the most widely grown and most drought-resistant of the
root and tuber crops. Its leaves provide food as well as its roots. The
poor quality and small amounts of protein in the roots and high cyanide
levels are important liabilities, and cassava research has been directed
toward them. The one species of the genus that is grown for food, Mani-
hot esculenta, has only 1.6 percent protein in its roots on a dry weight
basis, but the plant breeders at CIAT in Colombia have discovered varie-
ties of this species with a much higher percent. Plant breeders have also
been attempting to breed cassava plants that contain lower levels of


Yams (Figure 8), which have a high potential for food production,
are somewhat preferred in West Africa. In general the yams indigenous
to Africa contain more protein than cassava, ranging from 4 to 7 percent
on a dry weight basis, but one introduced species (Dioscorea alata) has
been found to contain 12 percent.
In East Africa, and some parts of West Africa, sweet potatoes (Ipo-
moea batatas) are preferred to yams as a food crop. They fit well into
multiple cropping systems, have limited susceptibility to insect pests
and diseases, and are tolerant of drought. They yield poorly in some
parts of Africa, however, and are difficult to store.
Cocoyams, the common name applied to Colocasia esculenta from
Asia (also called "old cocoyam" or "taro") and Xanthosoma saggiti-
folium from the New World, are referred to as "macabo" in franco-
phone West Africa. Cocoyams are widely grown in the "yam zone" of
West Africa in small plantings for local consumption. Medical evidence
presented in the 1930's, which may or may not have foundation in fact,
indicated that, where cocoyams are a major part of the diet, the people
are subject to nephritis. As a protein source, however, they are superior
to cassava. Biochemical assays indicate that cocoyams contain about 7
percent protein on a dry weight basis (U.S. Department HEW and FAO,

FIGURE 8 Yams on sale in market in Accra, Ghana. (Photo courtesy of Dr. Edward S.
Ayensu, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C.)


1968). Some researchers would question the significance of such com-
parisons because of the low protein content of all the tuberous plants.

Research Needs
The research needs of the root crops follow the pattern of needs of the
cereals and the grain legumes but are many times magnified because so
little research has been done on these crops in years past. All of the
root crops might benefit from redesign of their plant types, thereby
enabling them to profit from nitrogen fertilization and from other in-
tensive farming practices.
The overwhelming priority for research centers is on cassava. Here,
diametrically opposed objectives offer scientists great scope; first, to
upgrade this plant for human and livestock consumption by improving
its nutritional qualities and, second, to mold the plant for industrial
purposes by exploiting such nonnutritional qualities as large starch
grains and low cellulose, fat and protein content. Other outstanding
challenges are to develop mosaic and bacterial wilt resistant varieties;
to encourage the broader use for food of cassava leaves, which contain
up to 30 percent protein on a dry weight basis; to study cassava produc-
tion and its effect on farm income; to study cassava marketing and
processing techniques-those, for example, that will advance the use of
cassava flour in bread where wheat shortages prevail.
Yams will need research not only to improve yields, but also to ex-
tend the harvesting season, and to reduce manpower requirements for
production. Smaller tubers uniform in size allowing for mechanical
harvesting, with reduced perishability and a longer storage life once they
have been taken from the ground, must be developed and produced at
lower manpower requirements if yams are to hold their own in competi-
tion with cassava.
Research on sweet potatoes ought to exploit yellow varieties, which
have a relatively high vitamin A content.

Research Capabilities
In Nigeria, investigations on cassava have been under way at five loca-
tions. The Federal Ministry of Agriculture has had a comprehensive
program at Moor Plantation in Ibadan dealing with plant populations,
dates of planting, disease control, processing and storage, and breeding
of mosaic-resistant varieties. The national cassava collection, formerly
maintained at Umuahia, then at Moor Plantation, Ibadan, is again being
assembled at Umuahia. Similar research has been under way at the


Western State experiment station also located in Ibadan; at the Mid-
western State Research Division of the Ministry of Agriculture in Benin
City; at the University of Ife; at the Crop Research Station of the Min-
istry of Agriculture in Agege, near Lagos; and at the Nigerian Stored
Products Research Institute. Cassava, yam and other root crop research
is to be centered at Umadike in the East Central State and substations
will be maintained elsewhere. In the Malagasy Republic, the Institut de
Recherches Agronomiques Tropicales et des Cultures Vivrieres (IR AT) is
the center for research on the cassava.
Yams are under study at the same stations and also at the Institute of
Agricultural Research (IA R) of Ahmadu Bello University in northern
Nigeria and at the University of Ibadan. For several years, a research
program on mechanized cultivation of yams has been undertaken in
Ivory Coast.
Sweet potatoes are under study primarily at Moor Plantation and at
the Benin City station in Nigeria, with emphasis on plant breeding and
entomology. A program on cocoyam and macabo is also being carried
out in Cameroon.
IITA in Ibadan is engaged in a root and tuber program that forms an
integral part of its mandate to conduct research on the basic food crops
of the humid tropics. The program emphasizes the collection and eval-
uation of existing cultivars, including wild varieties, from all parts of the
world. The selection program stresses plant types suited to intensive,
mechanized cultivation; resistance to diseases, nematodes and insects;
improvement of quality and nutritive value for human consumption;
yield; keeping quality; and wide adaptability. The economists and crop
specialists at this institute cooperate with their counterparts at CIAT in
Latin America and with the research workers of the national experiment
stations of the countries of Africa in order to assist in strengthening the
research programs at those important centers as well.


Current Status of Production and Research
The Irish potato (Solanum tuberosum) is growing in importance in
Africa, and a potato-growing industry is developing around several of
the metropolitan centers, notably Kano and Jos in Nigeria, Nairobi in
Kenya, and to a lesser extent Entebbe and Kampala in Uganda and
Addis Ababa in Ethiopia.
The potential for growing the potato in climates warmer than those
in which it now thrives is considerable. The potato-breeding experts of
the Centro International de la Papa [International Potato Center (CIP)],


with headquarters in Lima, Peru, are attempting to increase its tolerance
to high temperatures. If the tolerance of the potato to warm tempera-
tures can be raised as much as 1-1.5 C (2-3 F), vast areas of Africa
will be open to production of the crop. Since it is a short-season crop,
with only 3 months from planting to maturity, the potato will com-
pete well with cassava and other tuberous crops that require 12-18
months from planting to maturity.

Research Needs
Solutions are needed to two major disease problems affecting the potato
in Africa: bacterial wilt (Pseudomonas solanacearum) and late blight
(Phytophthora infestans).
Virus diseases are also damaging, but the African continent does
possess highland niches suitable for producing potato seed free of virus
and other diseases. Seed so grown can then be planted at low altitudes
and, for the short space of one season, escape serious damage even
though the lowland area may harbor both the viruses and their vectors.
Capitalizing on their own environmental resources, some African gov-
ernments can at least obviate the need for importing from northern
Europe and elsewhere costly seed certified to be free of virus and other

Research Capabilities
An IA R unit based at Jos, Nigeria, is seeking to breed a potato resistant
to bacterial wilt and to late blight. It is cooperating closely with major
American centers-United States Department of Agriculture in Belts-
ville, Maryland, University of Wisconsin in Madison and CIP in Lima,
Peru-which provide breeding material for testing at Jos. In August
1971 the National Agricultural Development Seminar in Ibadan called
for intensification of this program.
An attempt is being made in Cameroon to adapt to local conditions
the findings obtained elsewhere on varieties, cultivation techniques and
mineral nutrition.
The College of Agriculture, Haile Selassie I University, has a long-term
variety trial and disease resistance investigation program at its campus
at Alemaya, Ethiopia. Potatoes are grown extensively as a year-round
cash crop by farmers in the area both for local consumption, particu-
larly during fasting periods, and for export to Djibouti.
The government of Kenya has already engaged a research team of
potato specialists from the United Kingdom to assist in developing an
industry producing seed that is certified to be free of virus and other


diseases. However, capabilities for exploratory research, particularly
concerning the production of certified seed in East Africa, need expan-
sion. Projects in Africa can, with advantage, grow in step with the inter-
national potato research programs in other parts of the world.


Present Status of Production and Research
The cultivated plants of the genus Musa, which include the starchy
plantain and the sweet-fleshed banana as well as Manila hemp (M.
textilis), apparently were first domesticated in Southeast Asia long be-
fore the Christian era. They came into eastern Africa at least 2,000
years ago through a highly developed trade around and across the In-
dian Ocean, which in ancient times distributed taro, sugarcane, citrus,
rice and other East Asian plants widely in the Old World.
Plantains are grown today in all parts of tropical Africa and as the
main staple in Uganda, which produces more than any other country.
They are of major importance to the people in Rwanda and Burundi,
in Bukoba, Tanzania, in the northern parts of the Congo Basin; and
to the Ashanti people in Ghana. Here they are not a fruit but a carbo-
hydrate producer and, as such, present the same protein deficiency
problems as cassava, yams, sweet potatoes and cocoyams. They com-
pete with the starchy roots but have a different husbandry. They are
cooked in a variety of ways and are fermented into beer. The traditional
husbandry, practiced in permanent fields, maintains groundcover and
hence tends to restrict erosion.
Norman W. Simmonds (Baker and Simmonds, 1951, 1952) made a
continent-wide reconnaissance of plaintains in 1948. Little is known,
however, of variation in Musa in Africa as a whole. Neither is there
much information on the prospects for introducing improved types.
Institute Francais de Recherches Fruitieres (IFAC) has, however, as-
sembled plantain collections at Nyombe station in Cameroon and at
Azaguie in Ivory Coast and has conducted culture trials at these loca-
tions. In years past the Yangambi Research Station in Zaire led in plan-
tain research; many of the cultivars are still there.

Research Needs
The first question facing researchers in plantains is to determine the
range of areas in which the crop could usefully be encouraged as a valu-
able and cheaply produced energy source. A pan-African survey of the
factors limiting production of the crop and of potential areas for its


cultivation would be valuable. National programs to expand the crop in
the wetter regions where dietary calories are insufficient, as in eastern
Nigeria and in Zaire, could develop from this survey.
As for germ plasm, modern tissue culture methods should be used to
assemble a large disease-free collection. Studies of variation in protein
content and quality would also be of value to breeders.
Contrary to the opinion generally expressed, it is important to under-
take agronomic studies (effects of soil, variety, nutrition and protection
practices) on the plantain. These will lead to quicker improvement of
plantain than will hybridization studies. The collection and comparison
of sets of cultivars is of primary importance. It is possible to use plan-
tain as a feed for pigs and cattle, as some African people already do,
and in time it may be grown in places solely for this purpose.
Banana diseases and pests other than nematodes do not appear to be
of great importance in Africa at present, but a continental survey of
plantain diseases, pests and control practices-in the field and from the
literature-is needed. Nematodes seem to affect yields, and the first
step is to find out how; then whether there are resistant forms of plan-
tain, and what nematode control measures are possible at what cost.

Research Capabilities
One of the first efforts toward building capabilities, virtually nonexistent
at present, for plantain improvement would be to establish centers where
varieties could be assembled and evaluated. Staff members at Makerere
University in Uganda have initiated field experiments on the "matoke"
banana to ascertain nematode populations in the soil as they influence
yield, and water and fertilization needs of that particular plantain. This
research, taking place within a faculty of agriculture, will expose stu-
dents to the needs and opportunity for research on this important

The false banana of the species ensete is grown fairly widely in Ethiopia
as a starchy staple; the stem of the plant is fermented in underground
pits, then consumed. The College of Agriculture at HSIU has a research
project on Ensete at its experiment station at Debre Zeit.


The Committee recommends strengthening research on cassava,
sweet potatoes, yams and cocoyams in the order listed because these


crops thrive in those parts of the humid tropics where the cereals do
poorly and where the need for improving the quality of the staples that
feed the people is the greatest. Long neglected from a research stand-
point, they offer great opportunity for improvements in quality, yield
and marketability. Potential income-producers for the grower, the roots,
tubers and leaves of these crops can serve as livestock feed, thus helping
make available more animal protein. Plantains merit investigation for
similar reasons.
Methods for enhancing the research capabilities directed toward up-
grading roots, tubers and plantains correspond to those set forth for the
cereals and the grain legumes-notably, offering students training and
research opportunities on these crops in the national faculties of agricul-
ture, introducing new programs of research or revitalizing existing ones
at the national experiment stations of the humid tropics especially, and
building international facilities that encompass wide geographical zones
where the problems of root crop and tuber production are common-
centers that can also help relate the research programs of Africa to those
of other parts of the world.
Cassava, the most wide-ranging of the root crops, is a native of South
America where the wealth of its germ plasm lies. Research on this crop
needs primarily to be one of plant breeding to produce plants of im-
proved protein quality, high yield, and resistance to mosaic. It will be
necessary to develop linkages with the CIAT program in Colombia and
with other Latin American centers of cassava research, although the
virus disease, cassava mosaic, does not occur in Latin America and the
Latin American stock has not developed resistance to it.
Yams indigenous to Africa have already been investigated at experi-
mental stations in Nigeria and at other national experimental stations of
West Africa. Research should be fostered not only in breeding yams of
high quality and good yield, but also for the production and harvesting
of tubers by mechanized operations, thereby reducing labor costs.
Sweet potato research has been concentrated in East Africa, where
this plant flowers more readily than in other parts of the continent and
can therefore be crossed most easily. Other centers of research are devel-
oping in Africa, notably IITA at Ibadan where flowering also presents
little problem when the sweet potatoes are planted during the cool sea-
son of the year. Research at Makerere University in Uganda should be
intensified on this crop.
Plantain research has recently begun at the Faculty of Agriculture at
Makerere University in Uganda and should be expanded at that locality.
The Irish potato is gaining popularity in Africa, where people will
demand that its range of productivity be extended to warm climes while


the cool, isolated areas of the highlands can serve for growing disease-
free seed.

The Committee recommends that research on the Irish potato, a
native of Latin America, be keyed into the program of the international
center for potato research in Lima, Peru, with important applied studies
to take place in Africa-northern Nigeria, Cameroon, Guinea (the Fouta
Diallon region), and the highlands of Kenya and Uganda primarily.


Vegetables, Fruits

and Nuts

The vegetables (tomatoes, onions, peppers and local vegetables), fruits
(the "sweet" banana, pineapples, citrus fruits, avocado pears, mangos
and guavas), and nuts (cashew and macadamia) will help diversify both
agriculture and diets throughout Africa. They serve as an important
source of vitamins and minerals to local populations, particularly in the
growing urban areas. Some are already cash crops for export to Europe
and America as well as within Africa.
The tendency too often in the past was to plant vegetables, fruits and
nuts at botanical gardens but not to disseminate them widely into the
research centers or experiment stations nor to investigate their potential
contribution to a varied agriculture in the African countries. Several
stations have nevertheless developed research capabilities on horti-
cultural crops; research on the banana and pineapple has been in progress
for more than 20 years at a specialized IFAC (Institut Francais de Re-
cherches Fruitieres Outre-Mer) research station in the Ivory Coast.


The tomato (Lycopersicon esculentum) in particular has become an im-
portant item in the African diet, especially in West Africa. Vast quanti-
ties of tomato paste are imported. In 1967, Italy alone exported over


18,000 metric tons of tomato paste to West Africa. Many small farmers
are beginning to grow tomatoes on a commercial scale in the environs of
metropolitan areas such as Kano, in northern Nigeria. Commercial com-
panies, notably the Cadbury concern, are beginning to process tomatoes
to make a locally acceptable tomato paste. Research on tomatoes is in
progress in Nigeria, Ghana, Senegal, Ethiopia and Upper Volta. Yields of
50 tons/ha have been achieved in Nigeria with selected varieties grown
under irrigation.
The onion (Allium cepa) is another popular vegetable. According to
recent estimates, Nigeria alone consumes 375,000 tons per year. It is an
important export crop within Africa; for instance, 70 percent of Niger's
annual crop of 38,000 tons is exported southward.
Peppers (Capsicum frutescens; C. annuum) are almost as important as
onions and tomatoes. An interesting development is the cultivation of
peppers in Ethiopia for export to the United States for use both as con-
diments and as a source of natural coloring additive to tomato products
such as ketchup.
Aside from these crops known everywhere, many local vegetables are
important in Africa. A survey of vegetable consumption in several vil-
lages in the neighborhood of Sokoto, Nigeria, showed that, although the
farmers grew western types of vegetables for sale in the town, they ate
only local vegetables such as leaves of the baobab tree (Adansonia digi-
tata) in Figure 9, okra (Hibiscus esculentus), sorrel (Hibiscus sabdariffa),
Amaranthus leaves, karkashi (Ceratotheca sesamoides) and melon seeds.
A limited winter exportation to Europe and other parts of Africa has
been noted since 1969 for such vegetables as snap beans and eggplants.
This trend of exportation has been mainly from Senegal with some ex-
ports also from the Ivory Coast, Upper Volta and Niger.
On tomato, a considerable amount of research remains to be done,
including control of tomato pests, especially nematodes, and diseases
that attack it during its growing period; development of tolerant vari-
eties; development of cultural practices to produce the highest yields
in various regions; and removal of the barriers to more widespread pro-
duction, particularly in transportation and marketing. On onions, much
more research is also necessary-to develop better storage and processing
techniques. On the local vegetables, a much more concentrated research
effort is required to establish their potential.

Many types of fruit tree presently cultivated in tropical and equatorial
Africa were introduced from Asia or America. The arrival of some, like



FIGURE 9 Baobab tree.


the date palm, goes back to ancient times. Others came more recently
from chance commercial contacts and from the work of explorers and
botanists at the end of the nineteenth century and the beginning of the
twentieth. These workers created magnificent testing gardens some of
which still exist at Conakry, Guinea; Entebbe, Uganda; Brazzaville, Re-
public of the Congo; and other locations. These gardens contained a
wealth of diversified species, but their resources were not properly ex-
ploited until World War II.
The cultivation of strawberries on a commercial scale in the highlands
of East and Central Africa is a recent development which has been en-
couraged by the increasing air freight traffic between these parts of
Africa, northern Europe and other countries. Strawberries are also culti-
vated on a commercial scale at sea level in the Cape Vert of Senegal dur-
ing the winter season.
Francophone Africa has experienced a spectacular increase in exports
of tropical fruits over the past 20 years. Banana production has doubled.
Pineapple production rose from none to an annual level of 120,000
tons of fruit processed for canning and 20,000 tons of fresh fruit for
export, and prospects for the years ahead exceed 200,000 tons of
processed fruit and 40,000 tons of fresh fruit. Many factors have con-
tributed to the rise in production, but research has been one of the
most important.
However, some of francophone Africa has special problems in fruit
cultivation. In Niger, for example, fruit production is limited to the date
palm, the guava tree and some orchards or gardens of mango and citrus
fruit. Here the researchers have mobilized all resources in the area for
a practical purpose-to define the type of orchard that could be opera-
tional and profitable most quickly. A 4-year IFAC mission undertook
this assignment in 1967.
The strategy of research in fruit production in francophone Africa
has developed around the definition of the right fruit for the right region
according to climatic and socioeconomic conditions. This strategy in-
cludes three tactics: exploiting and improving existing fruit crop re-
sources; creating new intensive groves of fruit trees; and investigating
new species that may be adapted to African conditions.
The first tactic involved improving production of the orange for oil
used in perfumes in Mali and Dahomey. There, wild orange groves exist
far from large market centers. In west-central Cameroon, it led to inves-
tigations of the avocado and attempts to exploit the wild fruit groves
there. In Mauritania, it called for obtaining international collaboration
to combat the cochineal scale insect, which is seriously weakening the
date palm groves.


The second tactic included collecting information on environmental
conditions, microclimates, and the like, for certain species in preparation
for large-scale planting of fruit trees under irrigation. Fruit trees have
been planted in oases, which substitute for the wind screen in managing
the environment to suit the fruit trees. Shade is provided during the
sunniest hours of the day and the circulation of hot air currents, which
cause excessive evaporation and transpiration and thus destroy blossoms,
is checked.
The third component tactic of the strategy constituted research into
production of new types of fruits and has called for periodic scientific
forays into other fruit-growing areas of the world-the Americas, for
example-and has resulted in large primary collections of new species
for distribution and trial throughout Africa.
There is a general trend toward pineapple cultivation in anglophone
areas as well as in francophone countries. This trend will require an ex-
pansion of research. In Swaziland, Tanzania, Uganda and Kenya the
pineapple stands a good chance of becoming a widely planted cash crop
that will help diversify agriculture. Commercial concerns that want to
promote pineapple production ought to do the exploratory testing of
varieties, but government research stations should be cooperating to
identify locations where pineapples will grow best and assisting with the
early adjustment of the crop to local conditions.

Banana In the banana-growing zone of francophone Africa, IFAC has
attempted to define the conditions of cultivation, especially soil fertility
and insolation, that will lead to maximum production. The mineral
nutrient requirements of this crop in Africa are now quite well-known.
The influence of potassium on the synthesis of sugars and amino acids,
as well as its effects on the general metabolism of the plant, has also
been studied.
Current research on the banana deals with the effects of climate on
the plant, the causes of physiological anomalies like yellow pulp in
Cameroon, and the factors that produce flushes of growth and growth
stoppages. Studies of the effect of transpiration on mineral nutrition
and sugar metabolism and studies of the effects of cultivation in differ-
ent types of soil and in vitro on root system biology are being pursued
by agronomists and soil scientists in collaboration with pathologists and
Banana production in Africa is most frequently limited by rooting
deficiencies. Deterioration of the soil structure or excessive water in the
soil leads to soil clogging, resulting in feeble root growth and a small


yield. Leaching caused by heavy tropical rains reduces the effectiveness
of mineral fertilizer.
Substantial advances have been made in protecting the banana plant
against diseases and pests. The Cameroon banana industry has been
among the first to use a systemic fungicide of the benzimidazole type
to control one of its serious fungus diseases, Cercospora leaf spot-a
method perfected by IFAC workers. This step made it possible to re-
duce the number of land and air spray treatments necessary. Work on
the banana stem borer (Cosmopolites sordidus) and on nematodes has
brought these pests under control. Nematological studies have resulted
in the development of efficient treatments with new compounds, now
used particularly in Ivory Coast and Cameroon.
In post-harvest technology, the study of banana packaging and trans-
port has almost completely eliminated spoilage during shipment and

Pineapple A wealth of information on the pineapple has accumulated
from research in Hawaii and Puerto Rico, but these findings cannot be
applied without further testing in the pineapple-growing areas of Africa.
Whether for canning or fresh fruit exports, pineapple cultivation requires
precision, and the research applied to it is sharply location-specific.
Research on pineapples has covered the following topics: the nature
and properties of African soils; the technology of production, as it re-
lates to the organization and mechanization of plantations and to exist-
ing socioeconomic conditions; the scheduling of flowering so that the
fruit matures at predetermined times; mineral nutrition; and the protec-
tion of the crop from Phytophthora fungus disease, from insects and
from nematodes. Progress has also been achieved in processing the fruit
by setting up calibrator-equipped packaging stations and by cardboard
packaging for export.

Citrus The demand for new plantations of citrus is widespread and will
grow with increasing urbanization. Improved modern varieties adapted
to the subtropical climates of Africa are therefore needed.
For years, various diseases of paramount importance wherever citrus
is grown have dominated citrus fruit research and development. They
still do. International organizations can play a crucial role in disease
prevention by channeling materials and research information gained
elsewhere to the growing citrus research centers of Africa. The Inter-
national Organization of Citrus Virologists and IFAC have collaborated
in a review of citrus fruit stocks free of disease. They have tested a con-


siderable number of strains and produced grafts from these stocks free
of known viruses for renovating the material in the nurseries and multi-
plication plots in Africa.
The attempts to introduce better stock to Africa are aimed at local
consumption of fruit; but-in spite of efforts to produce fruit juices,
powders and frozen products-the production of fruit essences for ex-
port is still important in Africa today. Existing plant stocks and the
special climatic conditions, notably in Mali, encourage this type of
citrus culture.

Other Tropical Fruits Fruit research efforts through IFAC and its asso-
ciated government experiment stations are not limited to the banana,
pineapple and citrus. Surveys and tests on the almost inexhaustible range
of tropical fruits that can be grown in Africa-avocado, papaya, guava,
grenadine, date, mangos, mangosteen, etc.-are also being conducted.
Many of these fruits are already being grown, but in a casual rather than
a serious way.

Nuts The cashew nut (Anacardium occidentale), which the Portuguese
brought from South and Central America to East Africa as early as the
fifteenth century, became well-established and today constitutes an im-
portant export commodity in the agricultural economies of Mozambique,
Tanzania and the Malagasy Republic. Over the centuries, however, this
crop seems to have been poorly researched (although, recently, investi-
gations undertaken at the Eetangirika Research Station in the Malagasy
Republic under IFAC incentive did lead to reclamation of a 1000-hectare
grove of trees and then to planting of 20,000 new hectares). Some tech-
nological research has also been under way with a view toward building
a modern processing factory to devise efficient machinery for shelling
the cashew. The Cocoa Research Institute of Nigeria now has a cashew
improvement program under way.

The stations developing research capabilities on vegetable crops include
the University Experiment Station at Legon, Ghana; The Institute for
Agricultural Research at Samaru in northern Nigeria; IRAT stations at
Farakoba, Upper Volta, and Tarna, Niger; Scott Laboratories on the
outskirts of Nairobi, Kenya; and Kabanyolo Farm of the Faculty of
Agriculture, Makerere University, Uganda. A major research effort on
onions is under way in Ethiopia. The International Institute of Tropi-


cal Agriculture has initiated work with tomatoes, peppers, melons and
certain leafy vegetables.
Probably the most efficient and inexpensive way of improving vege-
table crop research capabilities is to make sure that agricultural students
interested in vegetable crops can take courses and undertake research
with a long-term commitment to working on a specific vegetable. At the
same time existing experiment stations, especially those that are fairly
close to urban centers, could easily broaden their vegetable research
Research on fruits in francophone Africa is quite well-developed
IFAC program has three major objectives: export growth, increasing
internal consumption of fruits, and improving nutrition and technol-
similar organization exists for fruit research in anglophone Africa. The
IF AC program has three major objectives: export growth, increased
local consumption of fruits, and improved nutrition and technology.
In developing fruit cultivation for export, an increasing number of
villagers have been able to become producers. A long-term IFAC goal is
to widen the range of exportable products, whether fresh or processed.
Emphasis is placed on raising vitamin consumption-low in those popu-
lations of Africa where fruit never exceeds 10 kg per capital per year-
and on production of high-grade fruit for the urban market. Lowering
costs of production is important in terms of the purchasing power of
most consumers in Africa. IFAC experimental laboratories and installa-
tions handle four major disciplines in research: agronomy and soil
science, plant physiology, plant protection, and insect control. The re-
searchers manning these disciplines collaborate closely with the re-
searchers at Office de la Recherche Scientifique et Technique Outre-

Few commodities illustrate as do the vegetables and fruits the impor-
tance to agriculture of an adequate infrastructure-roads, railways and
airstrips; marketing facilities; and processing plants-or the beneficial
effect that the growth of urban centers has on agricultural development
in the hinterland. Intensive farming of vegetables and fruits near urban
centers functions as a service industry providing people in the cities
with supplementary quantities of vitamins and minerals that, were they
living in the country, they might obtain from incidental crops close at
hand. The perishable nature of the vegetables and fruits requires investi-
gations to improve transportation, marketing and processing, as well as


the cultural practices, the varieties best adapted to the region in which
these crops are grown, and plant disease and insect control.

To foster production and consumption of vegetables, fruits and
nuts and for the general importance to agriculture of transportation,
marketing and processing, the Committee recommends research appro-
priate to the improvement of the transportation, marketing, and pro-
cessing infrastructure of the agricultural sectors of the economies of the
African countries.
Industry normally should be able to bear the cost of the main re-
search on intensively planted, high-value crops, such as fruits and vege-
tables. However, the Committee recommends that governments partici-
pate in and/or monitor research on the fruits and vegetables in order to
ensure constant upgrading of the vitamin and mineral content of these
crops to improve their nutritional quality to the consumers.

Here, too, faculties of agriculture have a responsibility to open up
training and employment opportunities to young agriculturists who wish
to become specialists on a particular vegetable, fruit or nut.



Sugar is a popular item in the diets of many people (in addition to its
wide industrial use) and consumption tends to rise as incomes improve.
Indeed, the Indicative World Plan (IWP) predicts a more rapid rate of
increase (3.3 percent per annum) in the demand for sugar in Africa than
for cereals, roots or legumes (FAO, 1969a). The value of sugar produc-
tion in East Africa in 1964-1966 was $96.7 million, according to the
Economic Commission for Africa (ECA)-greater than that of rice,
cassava, oilseeds or sisal.
In many African countries sugar is an important commodity for its
export potential. Sugar imports into West Africa are currently estimated
at about 300,000 tons annually. Because of the demand on foreign ex-
change imposed by such a high level of sugar imports, it is becoming
attractive to many countries as an import substitution crop.
Raw sugarcane production in the IWP region of Africa south of the
Sahara was estimated to be about 5.6 million metric tons in 1966-1967;
the rest of Africa (including South Africa, Mauritius, Rhodesia and the
Portuguese territories) produced 29 million metric tons, and the world,
514 million metric tons.
Overall consumption of sugar in the IWP countries rose from 4.7 to 7.2


kg per capital per annum between 1951 and 1963, and is still rising
steadily. In Mauritius, with a large sugar surplus, annual consumption is
stable at about 40 kg per capital. In contrast, annual consumption of
sugar in Central Africa and West Africa is very low; in 1965, per capital
consumption was estimated at 1.3 and 5.8 kg for Nigeria and Ghana,
respectively. Cane production, 1966-1967, was at moderate yields, av-
eraging 56.4 tons/ha from only about 80,000 hectares, intensively
managed. About 85 percent of this area was in East Africa.
Almost all African countries have good potential to produce sugar
for the domestic market, under irrigation or otherwise (Rene F. E.
Devred, FAO, 1972, unpublished data). Those countries other than
Mauritius with surpluses at present-the Malagasy Republic, Congo
(Brazzaville) and Uganda-export sugar mainly to other African coun-
tries; Uganda exports mainly to Kenya and the others to countries
under the Organisation Commune Africaine et Malgache (OCAM)
agreement. The April 1971 ECA/FAO report on East Africa (ECA/FAO,
1971) reviews the possibilities for African intraregional trade in sugar.
Although there is a large sugar deficit in West Africa now, sugar faces an
uncertain market over the long range, since most countries are taking
steps toward becoming self-sufficient in this commodity. The mid-term
prospect, therefore, is that each country will develop its own sugar in-
dustry; it is to this situation that research work must be addressed.
Though the world market price for sugar is now fairly good, any at-
tempt to export sugar from a developing country on to the world mar-
ket can succeed only if the production system is very efficient. Even if
the main purpose of promoting sugar production is import substitution,
production costs must be kept low to make the exercise attractive. Effi-
ciency in the processing of sugar depends critically on a well-managed,
continuous flow of cane to the mill. Moreover, sugar is a long-term crop,
taking 12 months or more to mature, and irrigation is usually essential.
These requirements suggest that production must be based on a planta-
tion system, even if cane is also accepted at the mill from nearby small-
scale growers. In fact, most of the sugar produced and distributed in
Africa at present comes from intensively cultivated plantations. It seems
reasonable to expect that future development will also be on a planta-
tion system, which need not be excessively mechanized, and can there-
fore provide a large number of jobs per hectare.

The research requirements are those of a relatively sophisticated form of
farming with reasonably skilled management. Much is known about suit-
able agronomic and irrigation methods for sugar production over a wide

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