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Maize was not always grown in sub-Saharan Africa. A plant native to the Americas, it arrived here about 500 years ago.
But all around us, there are constant reminders that today, maize is sub-Saharan Africa’s most important food crop.
You will see drivers sitting in afternoon traffic eating a roasted ear of maize they bought from a street vendor.
Wherever there is a spare patch of earth — in someone’s yard, even just on a narrow strip next to the road — you will see telltale stalks of maize plants growing in carefully tended rows.
And wherever you eat, the meal is likely to feature a stiff porridge-like dish made from corn flour, known as Ugali in East Africa, Nsima if you are in Malawi, Kenkey if you are in Ghana or Tuwo Masara in other parts of West Africa.
But today, sub-Saharan Africa’s favourite adopted crop, a staple food for half the population that ...
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