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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:The History and Future of African Rice. Food Security and Survival in a West African War Zone
Author:Richards, PaulISNI
Periodical:Afrika Spectrum
Geographic term:Sierra Leone
food security
Agriculture, Natural Resources and the Environment
Development and Technology
Abstract:This paper analyses farmer coping strategies under war-time conditions in Sierra Leone in order to identify why food-insecure farmers continue to value African Rice (Oryza glaberrima), although plant breeders have rejected the species for improvement because of its morphological deficiencies. West African farmers view African Rice positively on poor soils and in weedy conditions, and it has an important association with 'sokoihun' (forest enclaves). These enclaves - written in the history of the landscape - became once again important as war swept over rural communities in Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone in the 1990s. Rice must adapt to many ecological niches as well as address a large range of social purposes. 'Low potential' cultivars retain their place in a portfolio of planting choices. The 'sokoihun' teach a lesson about innovation and adversity. War-affected rural populations might benefit from improving African Rice through genetic contribution from Asian Rice (Oryza sativa), reversing a mainstream institutional breeding strategy. In general, it is concluded that pro-poor plant improvement would benefit from careful contextual analysis and prior consultation with the food insecure. Bibliogr., notes, sum. in English, French and German. [Journal abstract]