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Africa’s food security: learning from success







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    Book (stand-alone)
    West African Catalogue of Plant Species and Varieties 2008
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    The West African Catalogue of Plant Species and Varieties (COAFEV) is a major tool of seed regulation harmonization that has been implemented by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), the West African Economic and Monetary Union (UEMOA), and the Permanent Interstate Committee for Drought Control in the Sahel (CILSS). It provides a limitative list of varieties or varietal type whose seed may be produced and commercialized within the region. It is the aggregate of the varieties registered in the national catalogues of the Member States. This first version also contains, for a transition phase, the most widely disseminated varieties in the countries of the region. Eleven species are included: pearl millet, sorghum, maize, rice, groundnut, cowpea, yam, cassava, Irish potato, onion and tomato. The objective of this catalogue is to simplify the procedures required for a variety to be commercialized in West Africa, while at the same t ime guaranteeing the quality of those varieties. This system will therefore give farmers in the region access to a wider diversity of varieties relevant to West African agriculture.
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    Pulse crops for sustainable farms in Sub-Saharan Africa 2018
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    Food insecurity in sub-Saharan Africa is a problem affecting 153 million individuals (ca. 25%). This problem could be worsen by the ongoing soil degradation, being cause by the reduction of soil organic matter and insufficient nutrient supply. Over 75% of the agricultural land in Africa could be classified as degraded by 2020. This situation can compromise food production in sub-Saharan Africa, both quantitatively and qualitatively, and the sustainability of existing agricultural production systems. The use of fertilizer could revert this situation; however, Africa has almost no capacity to produce fertilizers (African fertilizers production facilities work mainly in blending fertilizers) and therefore fertilizers are produced elsewhere outside Africa and transported from long distances at great expenses. This situation grants to sub-Saharan Africa farmers only a very limited access to fertilizers, thus increasing the risk of soil degradation. Pulses have a long history in sub-Saharan Africa due to their multiple benefits. Pulses, and legumes in general, can play an important role in agriculture because their ability to biologically fix atmospheric nitrogen and to enhance the biological turnover of phosphorous; thus they could become the cornerstone of sustainable agriculture in Africa. In this sense, there is a body of literature that points to diversification of existing production systems; particularly legumes species, which provides critical environmental services, including soil erosion control and soil nutrient recapitalization. This publication is a review of some of the promising strategies to support pulses cultivation and utilization on smallholder farms in sub-Saharan Africa. The review is part of the legacy of the International Year of Pulses (IYP), which sought to recognize the contribution that pulses make to human well-being and the environment. One challenge faced worldwide is that the diversity of pulses are not captured well in statistics. There is not a clear picture of what is grown and where, and this leads to an under-estimation of their importance for sub-Saharan Africa and consequently reduce research investment in pulses. Existing agricultural production systems are dominated by cereals, and represent opportunities for enhanced crop diversification, through promoting local and novel pulse varieties. Mixed-maize is a system that is rapidly growing and poses one such opportunity, particularly for beans. This is due in part to the large number of bean varieties that have been developed to meet local and regional market requirements, through decades long partnerships foster by Pan-Africa Bean Research Alliance (PABRA). Bean research has included pioneering participatory plant breeding, extension linked to participatory community organizations and value chains, as well as attention to informal seed systems. This example shows how pulse research can make a different on smallholder farms in sub-Saharan Africa, by broadening the range of genetic options and supporting innovation. There are many such farmerx approved varieties available that deserve greater promotion, as do technologies such as doubled up legume system innovation recently released by the Malawi government. At the same time, this review has highlighted that variety release has lagged for some pulse crops, and that there is urgent need for more research on adoption, barriers to adoption, and on impact of adoption. Research priorities suggested include greater recognition and attention to expanding properties associated with multipurpose types of pulses, which are popular in sub-Saharan Africa. Different types of pulses are needed for different functions and in general, multipurpose pulses are the best to respond to the diverse needs of farmers, including food, fuel and fodder, and ecosystem services such as pollination. There is a trade-off between the harvest index and other functions, which have too often been overlooked by researchers and decision makers who tend to focus almost exclusively on increasing grain yields. Pest tolerance, as well as extension of educational approaches and agronomic advice to strengthen integrated pest management (IPM) is another area urgently needing attention. Finally, the role of specific legumes and associated biochemical properties in promoting ecosystem health, community health – this is a crucial area for research that will provide urgently needed options for women farmers – and for sustainability of communities.
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    Book (stand-alone)
    Food Security in Africa
    Market and trade policy for staple foods in Eastern and Southern Africa
    2010
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    Drawing on insights from theoretical applications, empirically based approaches and case study experience, this book contributes to the improved design and use of trade and related policy interventions in staple food markets. Trade policy interventions have a potentially critical role to play in the development of staple food markets in developing countries and, as a source of revenue, in wider processes of rural development. Governments have long defended trade and related policy intervent ions in staple food markets on the basis of food security concerns. However, the design and implementation of these policies has often resulted in unintended impacts, increasing the risks faced by private sector actors and reducing their incentives for investment in improved market performance. In the context of increasingly volatile staple food markets, this book, commissioned from leading experts in this field, seeks to enhance dialogue between stakeholders involved in, and affected by, the de sign and use of trade and related policy interventions. This significant book will appeal to policy analysts and decision makers influential in the design and implementation of trade and related market interventions, as well as students of development economics. Researchers contributing to debates on the use and impacts of trade and related market interventions in staple food markets in poor countries will also find this volume of great benefit.

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