Most households in Southern Africa depend on maize as their main source of food and energy, given the high volumes and ease with which it is produced. Alternative food crops that are consumed as substitutes include rice, wheat, sorghum, millet, and tubers such as cassava and potatoes. Consumption of these substitutes occurs mainly when maize is not available or among those households in areas where such substitutes are more easily available (for example, cassava in northern Mozambique).
The majority of rural households do grow the other cereals — especially sorghum and millet, which are more drought resilient — in relatively small quantities as a buffer in bad production years for maize. Furthermore, wealthier households (especially in urban areas) with access to a variety of costlier cereals (such as rice and wheat) do consume them to diversify their diets. To download this article, click here.
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