Diversifying Agriculture for Better Lives

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16 August 2011
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The recent “2nd International Symposium on Underutilized Plant Species: Crops for the Future – Beyond Food Security” which was held from the 27th June to 1st July 2011 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia has left its participants intellectually stimulated, challenged and inspired by the exchange of diverse ideas expressed at the symposium of how to best use underutilized crops.

The central theme of this symposium emphasised the potential role of neglected and underutilised plant species (NUS) to contribute to global food security and nutrition, provide a buffer against the consequences of climate change and enhance agricultural biodiversity. The symposium’s goal was to engage all participants to share and discuss strategies that aim to maximise knowledge acquisition, minimise duplication of efforts and identify priority areas for further research and development.

The symposium also included the launch of Crops for the Future Research Centre (CFFRC) by The Prime Minister of Malaysia, Dato’ Sri Mohd Najib Tun Abdul Razak. CFFRC is a new research centre located adjacent to the University of Nottingham Malaysia Campus, dedicated to research and development of NUS. The generous US$ 40 million pledge by the Malaysian Government for building and operating CFFRC over the next 7 years is proof of Malaysia’s vision and commitment to support the diversification of agriculture through greater crop diversity.

Here is a window to the summarized key innovative ideas that have been discussed and exchanged. It also features the great time we have had and the new networks we have established for future collaborations. We are sorry if you were unable to make it this time, but we sure hope to see you at the next symposium to be held again in 2015.
Until then, ciao…

Bakhtiar Affendi, Kwek Mei Jiun, Khoo Teng Kew from CFF and Stefano Padulosi from Bioversity International contributed to this post and linked content.

2 Responses so far.

  1. Mahiyudin Abdul rahman says:

    Dear Sir,
    I stumbled onto the article in The Star 7th Oct on CFF and its Research Center, attracted by issues relating to NUS.I have recently planted 3ha of Kedondong, spondias cytherea (or is it?) spodias dulcis, with the assistance of Agriculture Dept in Perak.

    Presently I am limited to supply the downstream activity of pickle although I believe juice extraction should be attractive enough for market consumption. Still looking for those engaged in the processing into concentrates and puree.

    I am impressed and interested with your ‘smoothies’ program.

    Comparatively, kedondong has lesser ‘challenges’ than most other crops – I have actually tried hybrid durian, soursop, kelapa pandan (coconut)or even bananas. Fast fruiting and is perennial, hi-resistance to dry spell and easy harvesting – which I will be engaging local seniors population.
    I am impressed with taste of blended kedondong juice serve at several local outlets, especially when complemented with sourish assam boi.

    I am hoping that there are opportunities where the fruits can be more marketable and I am open to further discussion.

    I am readily available at 012-307 1073

  2. SEACON says:

    exactly what we need. bring back the underutilized crops in their own original innate quality. Consumers should know there are more out.

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