Bob Hargrave (ECHO staff member) read the feedback about the Green Famine in EDN 91 and shared, “Dr. Sharland’s comments remind me of work done by a group from the University of Trier (Germany) in the 80’s. They collected rainfall data from several of the semi-arid areas and came up with estimates of how many years out of 10 there would be sufficient rainfall AND appropriate rainfall distribution for a maize crop. I don’t remember the exact figures…but the best semi-arid environments would only produce maize in 6 years out of 10. But, like Danny commented, maize is such a favorite that people were willing to take the risk. Or maybe, as Roger pointed out, they remember the good years as “normal”!
“My favorite definition of semi-arid areas is “marginal for maize”.”
ECHO Staff 2006. Maize in Semi-arid Areas. ECHO Development Notes no. 93