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This study was carried out based on the principles of partnership and collaboration with all stakeholders.

Financially it was supported by FAO's Regular Programme, the Special Programme for African Agricultural Research (SPAAR) and the International Development Research Centre (IDRC), West and Central Africa Office, Dakar. The substantial contributions of SPAAR and IDRC were targeted specifically for sub-Saharan Africa and the latter for the preparation of the case studies of the western and central African participating countries (Cameroon, Ghana, Mali and Senegal).

Field data were collected and country case studies were prepared by national consultants identified with the assistance of the NARS leaders concerned. Those who carried out the painstaking work were: Drs J. Nya Ngatchou; R.G.J. Butler; R.S. Musangi; C.P. Ravohitrarivo; B.H. Dzowela; M.F. Traoré and M. Fall, respectively for Cameroon, Ghana, Kenya, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali and Senegal.

Besides its financial contribution, the SPAAR secretariat devoted a lot of time and effort to the provision of World Bank project documents and other valuable literature. Drs Moctar Touré and Mohamood Abdi Noor of SPAAR, who made positive comments on the first draft of this publication, deserve our appreciation.

It goes without saying that all the staff of the Research and Technology Development Service (SDRR) of the FAO Sustainable Development Department heartily supported this study in many ways. It is only right to single out the constant effort, interest and concern of Dr Isabel Alvarez-Fernandez, Chief, SDRR, as well as the most appreciated editing and formatting work performed on the first draft and second draft by Dr Colin Murphy, SDRR, Visiting Scientist, and Dr H.K Mwandemere, SDRR, respectively. Special thanks to Adrianna Gabrielli, FAO, for undertaking the final editing

While gratefully acknowledging the contribution and collaboration mentioned above, the author takes full responsibility for the content of the publication.

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