Traditional Grains Review

Information in Swedish


ICC Symposium Feb 3-5


2007 Participants page
2008 Participants page


Traditional grains
for low environmental impact
and good health

Indigenous grains such as sorghum, millets and cowpeas from Africa, and amaranth and quinoa from South America are indigenous grains that, unlike e.g. wheat, maize and barley, are well adapted to local agronomic conditions, particularly in the semi-arid tropics. Increased utilization of e.g. sorghum and millets in southern Africa, rather than more developed cereals,  would not only lead to improved food security, but also to more environment-friendly production. The highly developed cereals produce high yields but require intensive cultivation practices involving inorganic fertilizers and pesticides leading to soil degradation and pollution by pesticide and fertilizer runoff. The intensive cultivation practices are often inapropriate in the developing world where the small farmers do not have the income to purchase machinery, fertilizers and pesticides. The environmental conditions in semi-arid Africa with frequent droughts and short periods of high rainfall are especially conducive to soil erosion caused by mechanized agriculture due to the large areas of unprotected soil.  The water consumption is also less overall for sorghum, millets and pseudocereals compared to more developed grains.

The traditional grains are currently utilised less than optimally and are grossly under-researched compared to the major cereals used in Europe and the USA. In a cooperation between the University of Pretoria, SIK and IFS, sponsored by  MISTRA, the traditional grains have been elucidated at seminars gathering the leading scientists in the field. All research and project results presented by the participants aavailable in the Traditional Grains Review.




Prof John Taylor Department of Food Science University of Pretoria, South Africa

Prof Mats Stading Structure and Material Design SIK The Swedish Institute for Food and Biotechnology Chalmers University of Technology, Gothenburg, Sweden


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Photographs on this web page:
John Taylor, 2005
Nandi Dursley, 2007 
Web design: Mats Stading