1094 views 3 comments

Free Download & Recommended Reading: Lost Crops of Africa Series

by on October 14, 2015

Lost Crops of Africa Series


Development, Security, and Cooperation; Policy and Global Affairs; National Research Council; National Research Council


The National Academies Press


- Great resource covering well and lesser known African crops
- It does a wonderful job bridging the gap between research proper and information perfect for the interested
- '...dispels myths, often based on Western bias, about the nutritional value, flavor, and yield of these African grains'
- 'The authors describe "next steps" for increasing the use of each grain, outline research needs, and address issues in building commercial production'


As far as I'm concerned - none

Editor Rating

Visual appeal

Writing style/ Recipe format


Total Score

Hover To Rate
User Rating

Visual appeal

Writing style/ Recipe format


User Score
1 rating

You have rated this


Below is an extract from a personal essay I wrote on ‘An Issue of Importance’, as part of an application to a Fellowship program. I didn’t get in but the process of writing this brought clarity and focus. I hope you enjoy reading it.

  • In addition, I’ve included 3 links to books in the Lost Crops of Africa Series! They are amazing resources for lots of our indigenous fruits, vegetables and grains. 


Research Capacity … the ability to define problems, set objectives and priorities, conduct sound scientific research, build sustainable institutions, and identify solutions to key (national) problems. …. Encompasses research capacity at the levels of individuals, research groups, institutions and countries; KAOW-ARSOM, The Guidelines Project

One of my biggest concerns is that Africa has the lowest research capacity in the world at 70 researchers/ million people, compared with North America’s 2600 researchers for the same population. Thank you, Sara.


Source: Sara Menker

In my opinion, little transformation can occur where quality controlled and assured data don’t exist. For data allows definition of scope and the resources required to develop solutions which drive socio-economic progress across all sectors.

African governments must come together to develop frameworks that strengthen the link between research and policy.  We must begin with a co-ordinated plan across the entire length of the value chain, from defining research priorities for the short-, medium- and long-term to execution and implementation. This will change the ‘current’ (and largely) reactive approach to one that’s more proactive and sustained. The plan must be built of the people, for the people and by the people.

Education is key. I propose that ‘Research Skills’ are integrated, as a distinct subject in school curricula from primary through to tertiary levels. The focus here is on developing critical thinking & analytical skills starting in the early years to encourage curiosity and experimentation which can be harnessed and supported by practical, hands-on experience at higher levels. This will set a solid foundation for future efforts.

The development of data repositories that provide an open, public platform for reference is crucial. Great work is being done in research institutes and study centres yet most of that information never makes its way into the public domain where the potential impact for educating and informing a populace is huge.

My personal passion is to establish an African Food Repository that documents our culinary history, culture and practices; one that links our varied cuisines to agriculture, health & nutrition with the key aim of bridging the gap between theory and practice. Developing research capacity is at the root of change in Africa and a cause I want to pour my heart and soul into.


A few years ago, I discovered the Lost Crops of Africa books and went a bit crazy with excitement. I bought all three copies, had them shipped from the UK and have referred to them time and time again, particularly in my ‘In season‘ research. Quite frankly, a lot of the information I want about ingredients and produce and provenance I’ve found in thick tomes and research journals. 

These books, three of them from the Lost Crops of Africa series are some of the best ones for dealing with not-well documented crops. 

They contain information about ‘lost crops’, about nutritious foods that could tip the scale, about where they come from, what they’re called, how they’re used and their nutritive values. With these volumes, I don’t have to go far to find out what I want, need, desire. 

Among the 2,000 lost foods are more than 100 native grasses whose seeds are (or have been) eaten. These can be found from Mauritania to Madagascar. Only a handful are currently receiving concerted research and development, and even those few are grossly underappreciated. Our goal is to demonstrate the potential inherent in these overlooked traditional cereals. Our hope is thereby to stimulate actions to increase the support for, and use of, the best of them so as to increase food supplies, improve nutrition, and raise economic conditions; Lost Crops of Africa Volume 1 Grains xiii

So imagine when I discovered you could download them for free????? Over the moon was I, and not really sad because I do like thumbing through pages. Anyhow, if you want to know more, about African crops, about their uses, then these are the perfect books for you. Here’s how:

Step 1: Location. You will find them here

Lost Crops of Africa, Volume 1 – Grains (1996)

Lost Crops of Africa, Volume 2 – Vegetables (2006)

Lost Crops of Africa, Volume 3 – Fruits (2008)

Step 2: You can create a MyNAP account or download the books as a guest

Step 3: And then, voila, you’re home. And for free.

Let me know what you think when you have a read. Stay well.


Download data for Volume 3, Fruits

[wpurp-searchable-recipe]Free Download & Recommended Reading: Lost Crops of Africa Series – – – [/wpurp-searchable-recipe]

Bottom Line

If you are interested in food 'as more than eating', as everything from farm to table, get these.

Leave a reply »

  • pam
    October 18, 2015 at 11:03 PM

    love your blog and love this post. i have downloaded the books. I already eat acha. a prof friend of my mom processes and bags it for sale in super markets sand free.

    im investigating using millet and sorgum.


  • Fadekemi
    October 15, 2015 at 5:37 PM
    Visual appeal5.2
    Writing style/ Recipe format7.8

    Thank you… i needed to read this…God bless


Leave a Response 


Visual appeal

Writing style/ Recipe format