Many people interested in crop diversity have on their bookshelves the “Lost crops …” series published by America’s National Academies of Science. They detail neglected species of South America and Africa, gathering the kind of summary data that is so hard to find in one place. A new volume on African Vegetables has just been published, and it looks really interesting. From the blurb:
The report examines the promise of 18 African vegetables to help feed the continent’s growing population and spur sustainable development. These native vegetables â€“ including amaranth, cowpea, and egusi â€“ are still cherished in many parts of Africa, and even attract some research interest, but they are typically overlooked by scientists and policymakers in the world at large. In the past, these local plants may have been judged less valuable than the well-known vegetables introduced to Africa from other parts of the world. But because few indigenous vegetables have been studied extensively, information about them is often outdated, difficult to find, or largely anecdotal. Despite this neglect, they are not without merit, the report emphasizes.
The printed copy is expensive. But for anyone with a good internet connection, the entire thing is available for reading — and searching — online from the NAS web site.
Volume 1, covering grains, came out in 1996. Volume 3 will cover African Fruits. Let’s hope it arrives before 2016.