Tuesday, October 8, 2013

From Bioversity INternational - Bolivia: Crazy for Quinoa

Ive been following Bioversity International: research for development in agricultural and forest biodiversity over the past 4 years and finding much to share. 

Here I am sharing something I'm personally very interested in from their website with a video on Quinoa which is a must see. Do take 4 minutes to see the film!

Neglected and underutilized species

FAO (2010) estimates that of a total of 300 000 plant species, 10 000 plant species have been used for human food since the origin of agriculture. Out of these, only 150–200 species have been commercially cultivated with four – rice, wheat, maize and potatoes – supplying 50 percent of the world’s energy needs and 30 crops providing 90 percent of the world’s calorie intake. 
Yet  it is estimated around 7,000 plant species are cultivated or harvested from the wild for food.
Bioversity International has been working for more than ten years in south Asia and Latin America to empower the rural poor by strengthening their income opportunities and nutritional security through the improved use and marketing of neglected and underutilized plant species.
Many communities around the world depend on these species that are often referred to as 'orphan crops'.
These traditional crops are often more resilient than modern staple crops as they are better adapted to grow in marginal areas, with less need for irrigation, pesticides and fertilizers. Farmers also appreciate their contribution to maintaining healthy ecosystems and to culturally important traditional food systems.
The lack of attention by mainstream research and development programmes means their potential value is under-estimated and under-exploited, and many are under threat of disappearance.

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