Cereals and Legumes
Cereals and legumes are major staple foods for most African countries. Africa is the main producer of native cereals like sorghum, pearl and finger millet, teff and African rice. It also produces exotic crops like maize, which is currently the most important cereal in Sub-Saharan Africa and a major staple food for more than 300 million Africans.
Legumes are nitrogen-rich seeds that provide protein in many African diets, especially for poor rural households. Legumes like cowpeas, groundnuts, soybeans, and black-eyed peas are often intercropped with non-legumes to improve nitrogen fixation in the soil, and to reduce mineral nitrogen fertilizer use in farming systems.
Cereals and legumes are used as human food, animal feed and as raw material in industrial products. However, challenges in their production include low soil nutrient supply, diseases and pests, poor management practices, and climate change effects such as increased frequency and duration of droughts.
Food Monitor is an early warning system that tracks global food price and supply risks which could potentially lead to food insecurity.
The causes of food insecurity are complex and multi-dimensional. After decades of low agricultural commodity prices, the 2007/08 food price crisis witnessed extreme price spikes on global markets, which had devastating consequences for developing countries. Food Monitor was established to warn about global food price and supply risks at the early stages of development. We monitor key staple commodities and their extreme price movements on global food markets, fulfilling a crucial gap that is missing in other early warning systems.
We use a simple traffic light system for each of our four indicators to warn about the current levels of risk associated with global food prices and supply.