Cocoa pods, Venezuela. Photo: C.Lanaud ©CIRAD
Arabica coffee, Ethiopia. Photo: ©Jean-Pierre Labouisse
Yams in Benin. Photo: J-L Pham ©IRD
Rice harvest, Guinea. Photo: J-L Pham ©IRD
Maize corn. Photo: ©Brigitte Gouesnard

Cereals in Africa: from advanced to underutilized crops

Among all crops studied by Agropolis research teams, African cereals are likely those on which the largest expertise in diversity analysis has been developed, whether through pluridisciplinary approaches at the farm level in Southern agroecosystems or through the development of genomics-oriented projects on reference materials. The ARCAD project provides the opportunity to, and can take advantage of, pulling together these various research and training experiences and skills in order to organize them into a structured set of expertise and to apply this set to the analysis of the diversity and adaptive potential of underutilized African cereals. 

The Cereals in Africa project will gather this expertiseon African rice Oryza glaberrima, pearl millet, sorghum and durum wheat at the disciplinary and multidisciplinary levels and improve methodologies (genomics, GIS, sampling, social surveys, gene-flow analysis, crop x wild relative interactions, etc.) used for the study of the diversity and the adaptive potential of these crops. A large body of structured approaches and comparable data on African cereals (diversity structure at small and large scales, phylogeography) will then be available.The project will then target 'lost cereals' such as fonio and use the package of approaches developed to study their diversity and potential

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