The Africa Agriculture Status Report: Focus on Staple 2013 Crops was inspired by the need to have an accessible and reliable resource publication depicting the status and trends of African agriculture. Given the role agriculture plays in the African economies, it is critical to have such a resource to inform the designing of policies and strategies based on current and accurate information on key indicators. The chapters in the report were guided by the value chain concept. The concept runs from production, through post-harvest handling, to processing and marketing of the commodities, to consumption. It takes into consideration the input-output markets, be they domestic, regional or global. Collective action as a tool in agricultural transformation is also considered, since it plays a key role in addressing the constraints faced by smallholder farmers. The aim of the status report is to have an ongoing data collection effort on key agriculture indicators that are tracked on a regular basis and reported in subsequent publications.