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Focus on... Underutilised crops

The importance of biodiversity for food security was the focus of the recent World Food Day, and this theme is also explored in this edition of New Agriculturist. Modern crop production predominantly involves very few of the many thousands of the world's food plants, and the others - largely ignored by scientific research - may be under threat. But crops that are variously described as minor, underutilised or neglected are extremely important in local farming systems, and have great potential in a future sustainable global food system. In this Focus on, we examine some of the advantages of these crops over those that currently dominate world agriculture, as well as ways to promote their use - and novel uses - so that the global potential of these valuable crops may be fully realised.

Local knowledge, global importance

Local knowledge, global importance

Minor crops and the traditional knowledge associated with them are under threat, but if scientists and farmers work together to conserve and promote these crops they may play an important role in global food systems.

Date published: November 2004

Health through diversity

Health through diversity

Underutilised crops have high levels of micronutrients and other health-boosting factors and, it is predicted, have an important role in complementing high-energy foods for healthy and diverse diets in the future.

Date published: November 2004

Nuts about the future

Nuts about the future

With the collapse of copra, coffee and cocoa exports in the islands of Vanuatu, farmers are making the most of growing nangai nut for export to Australia, Japan and Hawaii. As with any crop, quality and consistency are vital if markets are to be sustained.

Date published: November 2004

Hidden crops of the Andes

Hidden crops of the Andes

Maca is just one of several root and tuber crops that originate from the Andes, but of which little is known outside the region. Potato, however, has had a very different fortune. Could other Andean roots and tubers have similar potential?

Date published: November 2004

An unintended barrier to EU markets

An unintended barrier to EU markets

Foods that could add variety and nutrients to diets are being denied access to EU markets by possibly over-cautious legislation that bars 'novel food'. And yet demands for more diverse diets, containing health-promoting and ethically and sustainably produced foods, are on the increase.

Date published: November 2004

Indigo: a future far from dark

Indigo: a future far from dark

An important colour in most cultures, there are indigo-bearing plants on every continent. But with the rise of synthetic blue dyes, commercial production in most countries crashed. However, now that natural indigo is back in fashion, indigo-growing is back.

Date published: November 2004

 

 

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Thank you for making the underutilized crops a concern as th... (posted by: Desta Fekadu)

 

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