Banana & plantain (Musa acuminata and balbisiana hybrids)
Banana and plantain are an essential source of carbohydrates and minerals and a major cash crop for many smallholder farmers in East, Central, and West Africa. Fruit is produced all year round in varied environments, but pests and diseases reduce yields and postharvest losses reduce availability.
Cowpea (Vigna unguiculata)
Cowpea is an economically important legume as it is a high-protein food and animal feed crop grown in the semi-arid tropics by small-scale farmers. It is usually intercropped and increases soil fertility and reduces soil erosion, however, it is susceptible to attack by pests and diseases at all stages of its growth.
Soybean (Glycine max)
Soybean is a leguminous vegetable that is a valuable source of high quality high protein as well as carbohydrates, dietary fiber, vitamins and minerals, and edible oil. On farm it increases soil fertility and the haulms and soybean meal are used in animal feed. Soybean rust is the major limiting production factor.
Maize (Zea mays)
Maize is the most widely grown and consumed cereal crop in SSA. It can be prepared and processed into many forms depending on the country and it is an invaluable source of protein, nutrients, and energy. Maize is subject to attack by pests and diseases which can reduce yields and cause postharvest losses.
Cassava (Manihot esculenta)
Cassava is widely consumed throughout SSA. Traditionally, cassava has been a subsistence crop and it can tolerate drought and can grow in low-nutrient soils. However, it needs to be processed postharvest into storable forms because the roots are highly perishable. Pests and diseases can cause yield losses as high as 50% in all of Africa.
Yam (Dioscorea rotundata/Dioscorea cayenensis)
Yam is a major staple crop in Africa. It is cooked in a variety of ways and is an important social crop. However, yam production is declining in most producing areas due to high labour requirements and because harvested yam is easily damaged leading to reduced market value. Yam is susceptible to several pests and diseases.