The African grain deficit is projected to surpass its current production of 50 x 10(6) metric tons/year by the turn of the century. The biodiversity of the African continent, on which there are more native cereals than on any other continent, can serve to reduce the vulnerability of the continent's populations at serious risk of food shortages. Traditional grain and root crops have provided the energy underpinning for Africa since the emergence of bipedal hominids. By resurrecting some of these "lost crops" in their native areas, the food security of those areas can be enhanced. In addition, some of these crops lend themselves to introduction into other nutritionally challenged areas of the world with similar geoclimatic characteristics.