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Lost Crops of Africa: Volume II: Vegetables LOST CROPS of AFRICA volume II Vegetables Development, Security, and Cooperation Policy and Global Affairs NATIONAL RESEARCH COUNCIL OF THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS Washington, D.C. www.nap.edu
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Lost Crops of Africa: Volume II: Vegetables THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS 500 Fifth Street, N.W. Washington, DC 20001 NOTICE: The project that is the subject of this report was approved by the Governing Board of the National Research Council, whose members are drawn from the councils of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine. The members of the committee responsible for the report were chosen for their special competences and with regard for appropriate balance. Program and staff costs for this study came from the U.S. Agency for International Development, specifically USAID’s Bureau for Africa with additional support from the Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance. Additional funding was received from the Presidents Committee of the National Academies. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the organizations or agencies that provided support for the project. International Standard Book Number-10 0-309-10333-9 (Book) International Standard Book Number-13 978-0-309-10333-6 (Book) International Stardard Book Number-10 0-309-66582-5 (PDF) International Standard Book Number-13 978-0-309-66582-7 (PDF) Library of Congress Catalog Card Number 93-86876 Additional copies of this report are available from the National Academies Press, 500 Fifth Street, N.W., Lockbox 285, Washington, DC 20055; (800) 624-6242 or (202) 334-3313 (in the Washington metropolitan area); Internet, http://www.nap.edu Copyright 2006 by the National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved. Printed in the United States of America
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Lost Crops of Africa: Volume II: Vegetables THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES Advisers to the Nation on Science, Engineering, and Medicine The National Academy of Sciences is a private, nonprofit, self-perpetuating society of distinguished scholars engaged in scientific and engineering research, dedicated to the furtherance of science and technology and to their use for the general welfare. Upon the authority of the charter granted to it by the Congress in 1863, the Academy has a mandate that requires it to advise the federal government on scientific and technical matters. Dr. Ralph J. Cicerone is president of the National Academy of Sciences. The National Academy of Engineering was established in 1964, under the charter of the National Academy of Sciences, as a parallel organization of outstanding engineers. It is autonomous in its administration and in the selection of its members, sharing with the National Academy of Sciences the responsibility for advising the federal government. The National Academy of Engineering also sponsors engineering programs aimed at meeting national needs, encourages education and research, and recognizes the superior achievements of engineers. Dr. Wm. A. Wulf is president of the National Academy of Engineering. The Institute of Medicine was established in 1970 by the National Academy of Sciences to secure the services of eminent members of appropriate professions in the examination of policy matters pertaining to the health of the public. The Institute acts under the responsibility given to the National Academy of Sciences by its congressional charter to be an adviser to the federal government and, upon its own initiative, to identify issues of medical care, research, and education. Dr. Harvey V. Fineberg is president of the Institute of Medicine. The National Research Council was organized by the National Academy of Sciences in 1916 to associate the broad community of science and technology with the Academy’s purposes of furthering knowledge and advising the federal government. Functioning in accordance with general policies determined by the Academy, the Council has become the principal operating agency of both the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering in providing services to the government, the public, and the scientific and engineering communities. The Council is administered jointly by both Academies and the Institute of Medicine. Dr. Ralph J. Cicerone and Dr. Wm. A. Wulf are chair and vice chair, respectively, of the National Research Council. www.national-academies.org
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Lost Crops of Africa: Volume II: Vegetables PANEL ON AFRICAN FRUITS AND VEGETABLES NORMAN BORLAUG, Chair, Centro Internacional de Mejoramiento de Maíz y Trigo (CIMMYT), Mexico City, Mexico ANTHONY CUNNINGHAM, School for Environmental Research, Charles Darwin University, Darwin, Australia JANE I. GUYER, Department of Anthropology, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Maryland, USA HANS HERREN, Millennium Institute, Arlington, Virginia, USA CALESTOUS JUMA, John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA AKINLAWON MABOGUNJE, Development Policy Centre (retired), Ibadan, Nigeria BARBARA UNDERWOOD, National Eye Institute (retired), Sun City, California, USA MONTAGUE YUDELMAN, Woodrow Wilson Visiting Fellow, Washington, DC, USA PROGRAM STAFF MARK DAFFORN, Study Director NOEL D. VIETMEYER, Consulting Author and Scientific Editor F. R. RUSKIN, Editor (through 1994) ELIZABETH MOUZON, Senior Secretary (through 1994) BRENT SIMPSON, MUCIA Intern (1994) DON OSBORN, MUCIA Intern (1993) MOLLY MUGNOLO, MUCIA Intern (1992)
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Lost Crops of Africa: Volume II: Vegetables CONTRIBUTORS When the idea for a project on native African food plants was first mooted, more than 1,000 people nominated their favorite grains, fruits, nuts, vegetables, legumes, and other plants. All told, over 100 species were suggested for inclusion. Indeed, the numbers and the enthusiasm were so high that we decided to produce separate volumes on grains, vegetables, and fruits. We certainly are grateful to all who helped launch the program, but the following are the ones who especially provided the technical details and insights that created the chapters of this particular book. AFRICA DOSSOU FIRMIN ADJAHOSSOU, Faculte des Sciences Agronomiques; Universite Nationale du Benin, Cotonou, Benin JAMES ALLEMANN, Agricultural Research Council, Pretoria, South Africa PAUL O. ANEGBEH, ICRAF-IITA-IFAD Agroforestry Project, International Institute of Tropical Agriculture, Onne, Nigeria D.J.M. ANNEROSE, Laboratoire de Physiologie de l’Adaptation a la Secheresse, Bambey, Senegal BEATRICE ANYANGO, Department of Botany, University of Nairobi, Nairobi, Kenya ASIAN VEGETABLE RESEARCH CENTER, Duluti, Arusha, Tanzania KINGSLEY AYISI, Department of Plant Production, University of the North, Sovenga, South Africa SUNDAY P. BAKO, Department of Biological Sciences, Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, Samaru, Nigeria JULES BAYALA, INERA/DPF, Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso JEAN-MARC BOFFA, ICRAF, Kampala, Uganda EDOUARD G. BONKOUNGOU, Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso REMIGIUS BUKENYA-ZIRABA, Department of Botany, Makerere University, Kampala, Uganda CENTRE NATIONAL DE SEMENCES FORESTIERES, Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso FABEON CHIGUMIRA, Horticultural Research Centre, Marondera, Zimbabwe FELIX D. DAKORA, Botany Department, University of Cape Town, Cape Town, South Africa OLANREWAJU A. DENTON, National Horticultural Research Institute, Ibadan, Oyo State, Nigeria IDRISSA DICKO, Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso EMMANUEL V. DOKU, Department of Crop Science, University of Ghana, Legon, Ghana VERA DOKU, Department of Crop Science, University of Ghana, Legon, Ghana ROGER ELLIS, Agricultural Research Council, Lynn East, South Africa
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Lost Crops of Africa: Volume II: Vegetables KLAUS FLEISSNER, Mahene Research Station, Ombalantu, Namibia JEAN-MARIE FONDOUN, Institut de la Recherche Agricole pour le Développement, Yaoundé, Cameroon FRANCIS N. GACHATHI, Kenya Forestry Research Institute, Nairobi, Kenya BARBARA GEMMILL, University of Nairobi and Environment Liaison Center International, Nairobi, Kenya DONALD E. GREENBERG, Tulimara (Pvt) Ltd, Chispite, Harare, Zimbabwe INSTITUT SENEGALAIS DE RECHERCHES AGRICOLES, Parc Forestier de Hann, Dakar, Senegal MARIANA JOOSTE, Agricultural Research Council, Lynn East, South Africa SAMUEL K. KARIKARI, Botswana College of Agriculture, Gaborone, Botswana DAVID O. LADIPO, CENRAD, Ibadan, Nigeria ELISSAVETA O. LOUTCHANSKA, Agostinho Neto University, Luanda, Angola PETER LOVETT, Legon, Accra, Ghana STANLEY MATEKE, Veld Products Research and Development, Gaborone, Botswana MABOKO S MPOSI, Faculty of Agriculture, University of the North, Sovenga, South Africa MOUHOUSSINE NACRO Laboratoire de Chemie Organique appliquee, Ouagadougou University, Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso OUSSEYNOU NDOYE, CIFOR Regional Office, Yaounde, Cameroon N. QUAT NG, IITA, Ibadan, Nigeria AMADOU NIANG coordinateur de SLWA/ICRAF Bamako, Mali ALBERT NIKIEMA, CNSF, Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso JONATHON C. OKAFOR, Tree Crops and Tropical Ecology Consultants, Enugu, Enugu State, Nigeria O.O. OLUFAJO, Institute for Agricultural Research, Ahmadu Bello University, Samaru, Zaria, Kaduna State, Nigeria ADENIKE OLUFOLAJI, National Horticultural Research Institute, Ibadan, Oyo State, Nigeria MEL OLUOCH, AVRDC Africa Regional Program, Duluti, Arusha, Tanzania MARY O.A. ONYANGO, Maseno University College, Maseno, Kenya DOV PASTERNAK, ICRISAT Sahelian Center, Niamey, Niger NAT & PATRICIA QUANSAH, Morondava Centre, Morondava, Madagascar JACK REEVES, International Institute of Tropical Agriculture, Ibadan, Nigeria SIDY SANOGO, Programme Ressources Forestières Sikasso, Mali HABY SANOU, Programme Ressources Forestières Sotuba, Mali PIETER SCHMIDT, Tropenbos Cameroon Programme, Kribi, Cameroon FRANK J. SENKONDO, Sokoine University of Agriculture, Morogoro, Tanzania ABU SESAY, Department of Biological Sciences, University of Swaziland, Kwaluseni, Swaziland KALLUNDE SIBUGA, Department of Crop Science and Production, Sokoine University of Agriculture, Morogoro, Tanzania DAOUDA SIDIBE, Programme Ressources Forestières Sotuba, Bamako, Mali
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Lost Crops of Africa: Volume II: Vegetables MODIBO M. SIDIBE, Institut d’economie Rurale, Bamako, Mali B.B. SINGH, International Institute of Tropical Agriculture, Kano Station, Nigeria MARIENNE SPREETH, ARC/LNR, Roodeplaat, South Africa FRANK W. TAYLOR, Veld Products Consultancies, Gaborone, Botswana ZAC TCHOUNDJEU, ICRAF-Cameroon, Yaoundé, Cameroon JONATHAN TIMBERLAKE, Biodiversity Foundation for Africa, Bulawayo, Zimbabwe OTLOGETSWE TOTOLO, University of Botswana, Gaborone, Botswana HARRY C. VAN DEN BURG, Umlimi Lokhonile Seeds, Malkerns, Swaziland SOGNON RAYMOND VODOUHÈ, IPGRI Cotonou, Benin GEBRE YNTISO, Addis Ababa University HAROUNA YOSSI, Programme Ressources Forestières, Sikasso, Mali OTHER REGIONS SAYED AZAM-ALI, Tropical Crops Research Unit, University of Nottingham, Loughborough, Nottinghamshire, UK PATRICIA BARNES-MCCONNELL, International Center, Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan, USA FRANK BEGEMANN, Centre for Agricultural Documentation and Information (ZADI), Bonn, Germany DOUG BOLAND, CSIRO Forestry and Forest Products, Kingston, ACT, Australia STEVEN BRANDT, archaeologist, University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida, USA RICARDO BRESSANI, Centro de Ciencia y Tecnologia de Alimentos, Universidad del Valle de Guatemala, Guatemala BOB BRINSMEAD, Farming Systems Institute, Department of Primary Industries, Warwick, Queensland, Australia JOHN P. CHERRY, Eastern Regional Research Center, Wyndmoor, Pennsylvania, USA PABLO E. COLUCCI, University of Guelph, Guelph, Canada SAMUEL D. COTNER, Department of Horticultural Sciences, Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas, USA STAFFORD M.A. CROSSMAN, Agricultural Experiment Station, University of the Virgin Islands, St. Croix, Virgin Islands, USA MARIE-CHRISTINE DAUNAY, Genetique et Amelioration des Fruits et Legumes, INRA, Montfavet, France SØREN DØYGAARD, Tuborgvej, Hellerup, Denmark HAN VAN DIJK, Department of Environmental Science, Wageningen University, Wageningen, The Netherlands JEFF EHLERS, Department of Botany and Plant Sciences, University of California, Riverside, California, USA J. MICHAEL FAY, Expeditions Council, National Geographic Society, Washington DC, USA
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Lost Crops of Africa: Volume II: Vegetables ROB FLETCHER, School of Land and Food, The University of Queensland Gatton College, Queensland, Australia GEOFF FOLKARD, Department of Engineering, University of Leicester, Leicester, UK EUNICE FOSTER, Department of Crop and Soil Sciences, Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan, USA PETER GRIFFEE, Forestry Department, FAO, Rome, Italy GERARD J.H. GRUBBEN, PROTA, Wageningen, The Netherlands JANE I. GUYER, Program of African Studies, Northwestern University, Evanston Illinois, USA JOHN HALL, School of Agricultural and Forest Sciences, University of Wales, Bangor, Wales, UK M. HAROUN HALLACK, Inwood, West Virginia, USA DAVID HARRIS, Royal Botanic Garden, Edinburgh, Scotland, UK NAZMUL HAQ, International Centre for Underutilised Crops, University of Southampton, Southampton, UK JOHN HOLLAND, NSW Agriculture, Tamworth Centre for Crop Improvement, Tamworth, New South Wales, Australia HÉLÈNE JOLY, CIRAD, Montpellier, France CHARLES S. KAUFFMAN, The Accokeek Foundation, Accokeek, Maryland, USA WARWICK KERR, Genetica I Biociencias, Univ. Federal de Uberlandia, Uberlandia Minas Gerais, Brazil SARAH LAIRD, New York, New York, USA DAVID LAWLOR, Institute of Arable Crops Research, Rothamsted Experimental Station, Harpenden, Herts. UK ROGER LEAKEY, School of Tropical Biology, James Cook University, Cairns, Queensland, Australia SYLVIA LEE-HUANG, Department of Biochemistry, New York University School of Medicine, New York, New York, USA RICHARD N. LESTER, Birmingham University Botanic Gardens Winterbourne, England, UK MIKE LUCY, Farming Systems Institute, Department of Primary Industries, Pittsworth, Queensland, Australia BRIGITTE L. MAASS, Inst. for Crop & Animal Production in the Tropics, Georg-August-University Goettingen, Goettingen, Germany RUTH MALLESON, Dunsmore, Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire, UK FRANKLIN W. MARTIN, Lehigh Acres, Florida, USA J. TERRENCE MCCABE, Department of Anthropology, University of Colorado, Boulder, Colorado, USA LISA MCDONALD, James Cook University, Townsville Queensland, Australia LAURA C. MERRICK, Department of Agronomy, Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa, USA DONALD OSBORN, Peace Corps, Washington, DC, USA
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Lost Crops of Africa: Volume II: Vegetables MANUEL C. PALADA, Agricultural Experiment Station, University of the Virgin Islands, St. Croix, Virgin Islands, USA CHRISTEL PALMBERG-LERCHE, Forestry Department, FAO, Rome, Italy BRUCE C. PENGELLY, CSIRO Sustainable Ecosystems, Indooroopilly, Queensland, Australia HUGH POPENOE, Center for Tropical Agriculture, University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida, USA MICHAEL POWELL, Department of Biology, Sul Ross State University, Alpine, Texas, USA MARTIN PRICE, ECHO, North Fort Myers, Florida, USA M. LERON ROBBINS, Louisiana State University Agricultural Center, Calhoun, Louisiana, USA MANUEL RUIZ PEREZ, Facultad de Ciencias, Universidad Autonoma de Madrid, Madrid, Spain JOHN SCHEURING, Novartis Foundation for Sustainable Development, Basel, Switzerland RUDY SCHIPPERS, Chatham, Kent, UK ARNIE SCHLISSEL, Beer Sheva, Israel KATE SCHRECKENBERG, Forest Policy and Environment Group, Overseas Development Institute, London, UK MASAYOSHI SHIGETA, Center for African Area Studies, Kyoto University, Kyoto, Japan BRENT SIMPSON, Center for Global Change and Earth Observations, Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan, USA MARTEN SØRENSEN, Department of Botany, Royal Agricultural and Veterinary University; Rolighedsvej, Denmark RICHARD STOREY, Colorado College, Colorado Springs, Colorado, USA DUNCAN THOMAS, College of Forestry, Oregon State University, Corvallis, Oregon, USA L.J.G. VAN DER MAESEN. Laboratory for Plant Taxonomy, Wageningen Agricultural University, Wageningen, The Netherlands RUTH WELCH, Louisville, Kentucky, USA JAMES WYATT, Department of Plant Sciences and Landscape Systems, The University of Tennessee, Jackson, Tennessee, USA
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Lost Crops of Africa: Volume II: Vegetables PREFACE This is the second volume in a series highlighting untapped promise to be found among Africa’s traditional food plants. It has been created because within that huge mass of land below the Sahara there exist several thousand indigenous plant species, already selected for food production, that still fall outside the ambit of modern research and economic development. Some are staffs of life for thousands of communities in desperate need of help, so the lack of research attention to them is a disgrace of our times. The food plants in question are not without merit. Humanity’s oldest, they have been feeding people since the beginning. Many thrive in the harsh conditions that many Africans confront daily. And many are exceptionally nutritious. Yet none are receiving adequate scientific or institutional support, despite their significance where the needs for food, nutrition, and rural development are perhaps greater than anywhere else. We call such neglected foods the “lost crops of Africa.” And this abundance of half-forgotten edibles includes hundreds of vegetables. By highlighting a selection of these nutritious gems hidden in plain sight, we hope to stimulate Africa-wide and perhaps worldwide actions that boost their productivity and production, to the advantage of millions now existing at the mercy of fate. Although the project’s ultimate aim is to raise nutritional levels, diversify agriculture, and create economic opportunities where all three are most needed, it would be wrong to conclude that Africa’s vegetables lack relevance elsewhere. On the contrary, many may offer untold global potential. It should be understood that the vegetables themselves are in some places very well known. It is mainly to scientists, policymakers, and the world at large that they remain “lost.” Such outsiders include of course many in Europe, North America, and elsewhere who influence African research priorities, directly or indirectly from afar. But the outsiders also include science establishments and policymakers within African nations. In this regard it is noteworthy that many sub-Saharan countries allocate their meager agricultural research funds almost exclusively to major international crops that were introduced to Africa in the past. The current text is designed to reach out to leaders who can direct increased consideration toward the ancestral food plants. In addition, we hope to touch technical experts and open their eyes to the importance of working on these indigenous crops. In the main, though, we hope to inspire
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Lost Crops of Africa: Volume II: Vegetables The second half covers 14 wild fruits: Aizen (Boscia species) Chocolate Berries (Vitex species) Custard Apples (Annona species) Ebony (Diospyros species) Gingerbread Plums (Parinari and kindred genera) Gumvines (Landolphia and Saba species) Icacina (Icacina species) Imbe (Garcinia livingstonii) Medlars (Vangueria species) Monkey Oranges (Strychnos species) Star Apples (Chrysophyllum and related genera) Sugarplums (Uapaca species) Sweet Detar (Detarium senegalense) Tree Grapes (Lannea species) The Introduction is laid out so that readers can quickly zero in on plants that may be particularly useful to them. The overall qualities of each vegetable are outlined in brief paragraphs. These are followed by discussions on overcoming malnutrition, boosting food security, fostering rural development, and sustainable landcare, highlighting the potential contribution of each individual species to these development goals. Their overall promise is ranked in a single table (see Table 1) that also shows their general location in Africa. In the present volume we have abandoned our longstanding habit of appending such things as addresses of research contacts, sources of seed, and technical papers that provide more detail. These days, the Internet is the best place to find such information, which advances too rapidly for print to keep pace. Further, much of the literature on these plants is obscure and of little help to those trying to advance these species; not only does a static list quickly go stale, but much time could be wasted acquiring these sources only to find the same information in a matter of minutes on-line. Our experience is also that printed contact lists quickly become obsolete, misdirecting communications to those who have moved and burdening those no longer engaged, while not representing those newly involved. Circumspection for personal information also pertains to acquiring germplasm, which should only be requested through appropriate channels due to the world’s heightened phytosanitary, cultural, and legal concerns. Although Internet communication is far from satisfactory in much of Africa, advancement during the course of this study has already been astounding, and the ability of those even in the most difficult circumstances
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Lost Crops of Africa: Volume II: Vegetables to efficiently access information is impressive. The future of these plants is in collaborative networks of interested workers in Africa and elsewhere freely sharing information and experiences.2 For such ends, the dynamic possibilities offered by electronically organizing, parsing, and presenting information provide much greater flexibility than the fixed text of the printed page. Much core information on vegetables discussed in this volume is rapidly, or already, appearing online. This new arena allows all to participate and all to benefit. **** This report has been reviewed in draft form by individuals chosen for their diverse perspectives and technical expertise, in accordance with procedures approved by the National Academies’ Report Review Committee. The purpose of this independent review is to provide candid and critical comments that will assist the institution in making its published report as sound as possible and to ensure that the report meets institutional standards for objectivity, evidence, and responsiveness to the study charge. The review comments and draft manuscript remain confidential to protect the integrity of the process. We wish to thank the following individuals for their review of this report: Edward S. Ayensu, Council for Scientific and Industrial Research, Ghana Ricardo Bressani C., Universidad del Valle de Guatemala Michael T. Clegg, University of California, Irvine Nevin S. Scrimshaw, International Nutrition Foundation, USA Henry L. Shands, USDA National Center for Genetic Resources Preservation M.S. Swaminathan, Centre for Research on Sustainable Agricultural and Rural Development, India Elly Sabiiti, Makerere University, Uganda 2 An example of such collaboration is embodied by a network undertaken by the International Plant Genetic Resources Institute (IPGRI): Guarino, L., ed. 1997. Traditional African Vegetables. Promoting the conservation and use of underutilized and neglected crops. 16. Proceedings of the IPGRI International Workshop on Genetic Resources of Traditional Vegetables in Africa: Conservation and Use, August 29-31, 1995, ICRAF-HQ, Nairobi. Institute of Plant Genetics and Crop Plant Research, Gatersleben/IPGRI, Rome (online via ipgri.cgiar.org/publications). On a broader scale, prota.org (Plant Resources of Tropical Africa), a joint African/European nonprofit foundation, intends to eventually document 7000 species useful in Africa (both indigenous and introduced), while other Internet sites dealing with these plants, such as ecoport.org, are driven through user input and reciprocal sharing of knowledge.
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Lost Crops of Africa: Volume II: Vegetables Although the reviewers listed above have provided many constructive comments and suggestions, they were not asked to endorse the conclusions or recommendations, nor did they see the final draft of the report before its release. The review of this report was overseen by Calvin O. Qualset, University of California, Davis. Appointed by the National Academies, he was responsible for making certain that an independent examination of this report was carried out in accordance with institutional procedures and that all review comments were carefully considered. Responsibility for the final content of this report rests entirely with the authors and the institution. **** Program and staff costs for all these studies came from the U.S. Agency for International Development, specifically USAID’s Bureau for Africa with additional support from the Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance. We are especially grateful to Tim Resch, Michael McGahuey, Ray Meyer, and Laura Powers, all of USAID, for their confidence and perseverance during this project’s prolonged confinement and laborious delivery. How to cite this report: National Research Council. 2006. Lost Crops of Africa. Volume II: Vegetables. The National Academies Press, Washington, D.C.
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Lost Crops of Africa: Volume II: Vegetables A NOTE ON TERMS Throughout this book the word “Africa” always refers to “Africa south of the Sahara.” The plants, too, are sub-Saharan. North African species, being biogenetically part of the Mediterranean-Near East complex, were generally ignored. We refer to the vegetables by common names rather than scientific ones. This simplifies communication in a book written more for generalists than for specialists. We have preferred to use English common names where possible, except where they imply that a plant pertains only to one locale or ethnic group (e.g., Hausa potato). An exception is Bambara bean, known as such across the continent. In other cases, however, we have not hesitated to suggest uncommon but more alluring names. A harsh sounding or off-putting name can be a body blow to the advancement of an otherwise excellent vegetable. The local-name lists that appear in the chapters are not by any means exhaustive. They are included only as a rough help in pinpointing the plant being described. Unless noted otherwise, nutritional values given are presented on a dry-weight basis to eliminate moisture differences between samples. We depend on reported values, many of which are old or incomplete or otherwise questionable, and which may never have been independently verified. Each species deserves modern verification. We frequently refer to vitamin A or equivalents—notably when discussing the nutrition of each vegetable. It should be understood, however, that vitamin A is formed in our bodies. Within the plant, it occurs as provitamin A carotenoids. Modern protocols for measuring the levels have rarely been applied to these plants. Because this book will be employed in regions beyond Africa, we have in most cases used internationally recognizable names when referring to non-African crops. Examples include peanut for groundnut, papaya for pawpaw and cassava rather than its more common African name, manioc.
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Lost Crops of Africa: Volume II: Vegetables A WORD TO READERS Everyone who works with plants assumes responsibilities. Some species described in this report—especially those which are less than domesticated—may be pestiferous or invasive outside their natural environs, and thus require due caution and on-going scientific assessment after introduction. Unless professionally inspected, they may also carry along unseen pests and diseases (particularly small insects and microbes such as virus or bacteria) whose populations might explode catastrophically in new locations. In addition, plant genes and germplasm are subject worldwide to both tangible- and intellectual-property laws; these legal rights hold especially true for food plants in which others—whether farmers or financiers—have already invested thought and labor or capital. For these reasons, most nations have official protocols based on intergovernmental conventions governing the safe and legitimate transfer of plant materials. These protect both people and the environment, and are rarely any obstacle to helpful activities. In the best interest of all parties, it is crucial that the requirements of such protocols be strictly followed.
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Lost Crops of Africa: Volume II: Vegetables FOREWORD The great thing about the edibles highlighted here is that they can be used for probing the heart of Africa’s most basic problems—hunger, malnutrition, rural poverty, environmental destruction. Collectively, they have the power to pump rich new nutrition into what is now an anemic food supply, sputtering rural economy, uncertain public health, and less-than sustainable farm operations. Some people argue that these problems are but symptoms arising from deeper evils associated with low levels of economic productivity. Yet on that score too, edibles highlighted in the following pages can help. In theory at least, they can expand opportunities and contribute to the resuscitation of prosperity across rural Africa—locales where human life has in recent decades suffered hardest. Another thing, no less great, is the fact that these vegetables offer ways by which people throughout the continent can work together for a common good. Fundamental, too, is cooperation between those who know tradition and those who know technology. Non-Governmental Organizations might make all the difference in building those bridges. The NGO proliferation is a change from the past, and for the development of the indigenous vegetables such organizations seem ideally poised to straddle voids between science and society, the past and the future, Francophone and Anglophone locales, and technologists the world around. At various levels, small active groups could coordinate, sponsor, manage, direct, or monitor the collection of plant materials, the documentation of traditions, the experimentation within laboratories, and so forth—all in relation to a vegetable of particular merit for the people and the environment they are dedicated to serve. Indeed, individuals on more fortunate continents can also reach in and help improve the lives of Africans through the advancement of such promising resources as we describe. That notion may seem strange, but in furthering these particular food plants there’s scope for almost everyone—regardless of their level of influence, sphere of interest, or place on earth. This is not a novel notion: everywhere else, crops were developed both by outside influences and by local actions. Of course experts in the relevant sciences can make vital advances in getting Africa back to its roots. In furthering any of these crops there’s a place for food technology, nutritional analysis, DNA probes, taxonomic identification, toxicological tests, agronomy, horticulture, pathology, vegetative propagation, selection, breeding, and more. Specialists in such subjects could make a big difference in boosting the better use of native foodstuffs in a continent woefully deficient in such expertise. Every chapter elaborates technical tasks needing attention. And
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Lost Crops of Africa: Volume II: Vegetables with today’s communications individuals on one side of the world don’t have to leave home to champion a crop on the other. Electronic collaborations are increasingly common, and Africa’s under-exploited foods seem ideal vehicles for the world’s specialists to interact at many levels and in many ways with the world’s neediest farmers and lift their meager lives. Beyond specialized scientific inputs, there’s much scope for ordinary folks to figure in the revitalization of rural Africa. Examples include: Creating classroom materials and conducting children’s gardening projects; Learning from local farmers how to master the complexities of growing each vegetable under the prevailing local conditions; Reaching out to professionals in subjects such as food technology, nutrition, and horticulture to alert them to African vegetables’ needs; Setting up websites (which might, for instance, highlight a vegetable or a region’s indigenous vegetables or perhaps the use of native produce to counter a problem such as malnutrition); Fostering traditional vegetables in university courses, government extension, agricultural fairs, and operations run by foundations, foreign governments, development banks, and the rest; Coordinating the collection of a lost crop’s seeds, locally, nationally, regionally, or perhaps internationally; Translating documents such as this one into local languages or translating scientific papers to-and-from especially French; Compiling country profiles of a lost crop, including regional recipes, beliefs, stories, management methods; Running an email alert service to pass on the latest news relating to these resources as advances emerge worldwide; Developing and adapting processing, storage, and transportation technologies; Organizing web-links among institutions and individuals working on Africa’s “lost crops” Establishing a cyber-exchange linking suppliers of African crop products to marketplaces around the world; Developing new recipes incorporating them into different cuisines; Searching colonial-era archives (those housed locally as well as others in Europe) for any previous investigations;
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Lost Crops of Africa: Volume II: Vegetables Recording these crops’ myriad vernacular names and uses; or Providing a forum for swapping or selling seeds or other planting materials in an open, ethical exchange. As we’ve said, we hope our words will stimulate such actions and lead to a wider, wiser, older, newer, and sounder sub-Saharan food supply. We think that, with commitment, the rewards to any reader stimulated into action could be legion. Involvement with any of these vegetables can touch the hearts of the humans most needing a hand up. For Africa, these species represent some of the best foods for the future. They also represent some of the best science projects. Although generally ignored by researchers, many of these crops are quite familiar in farms, gardens, markets and, in some cases, thousands of square kilometers of hillsides and savannas. Most are suited to the small plots, mixed cultivation, poor soils, local diets, and time-honored lifestyles of family or village. To have survived into modern times without “official” intellectual support indicates something about their inner strengths. Taken all round, then, these lost crops constitute an obvious, though not necessarily simple, way by which Africa can reach back to the past and help fashion for itself a future. Noel Vietmeyer Consulting Author and Scientific Editor
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Lost Crops of Africa: Volume II: Vegetables Contents Introduction 1 Summaries of Individual Species 6 Table 1: Potential Roles for Selected African Vegetables 12 Overcoming Malnutrition 13 Boosting Food Security 19 Fostering Rural Development 23 Sustainable Landcare 28 Descriptions and Assessments of Individual Species 1 Amaranth (Amaranthus species) 35 2 Bambara Bean (Vigna subterranea) 53 3 Baobab (Adansonia digitata) and related species 75 4 Celosia (Celosia argentea) 93 5 Cowpea (Vigna unguiculata) 105 6 Dika (Irvingia species) 119 7 Eggplant (Garden Egg) (Solanum aethiopicum) 137 8 Egusi (Citrullus lanatus) and kindred plants 155 9 Enset (Ensete ventricosum) 173 10 Lablab (Lablab purpureus) 191 11 Locust Bean (Parkia biglobosa) 207 12 Long Bean (Vigna unguiculata) 223 13 Marama (Tylosema esculentum) 235 14 Moringa (Moringa oleifera) and related species 247 15 Native Potatoes (Solenostemon rotundifolius and Plectranthus esculentus) 269 16 Okra (Abelmoschus esculentus) 287 17 Shea (Vitellaria paradoxa) 303 18 Yambean (Sphenostylis stenocarpa) 323 Biographical Sketches of Panel Members 345 Credits 351
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