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In this book, Professor Pasternak shares insights from his lifelong work in international agriculture and specifically the dry areas of West Africa and Israel.

From 2001 to 2011 he was head of Crops and Systems Diversification at the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) Sahelian Center in Niger focusing on the genetic improvement of sorghum, millet, groundnuts, chick peas and pigeon peas.

This book contains a wealth of practical suggestions for dealing with the problems facing dryland farmers in Africa. He discusses crops, strategies, and technologies that lead to increased production and income for farmers with limited resources. A number of these solutions will be familiar to long time ECHO followers.

The entire book is available for download.   Also available for Kindle through Amazon.


On one of these open days, I went into the field to follow up on the demonstration to VIPs by Saidou, our chief technician, of new dual purpose (grain and fodder) cowpea varieties. Saidou was talking to an impressive group of well-groomed NGO leaders. He was explaining the merits of each of the cowpea varieties. From the expressions on their faces, I could tell that this was the first time that these people had ever heard about and seen cowpeas (a major staple crop in the Sudano Sahel), and that they had no understanding of, nor interest in varietal differences.
In stark contrast, when we brought farmers to the same field of cowpeas the following day, we were not even given a chance to explain the potential of the varieties. Immediately, the farmers saw the potential by themselves and began running all over the field collecting seeds in their pockets and frocks to try in their own fields. In less than 15 minutes, not a single seed was left on the plants.

Publication Details

  • Published: 2015
  • Publisher: Contento Now
  • ISBN-13: 9789655504903