Diversifying Agriculture for Better Lives

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09 September 2011
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Source from Wikimedia Commons

Durio zibethinus (WikiCommons)


This BBC piece reminded us of the wonderful durian fruit (Durio zibethinus), which despite its potential for diversity-based quality differentiation and high-end markets, is badly neglected by science, plant breeders and development agents. To us the lack of adequate terminology to describe durian flavour diversity is striking: “Pungent”, “creamy”, “stinky”, that’s how far the vocabulary goes, as if a product as complex as good wine, coffee or cocoa deserves no better. Particularly appalling is the continued comparison – as in the BBC article –  of durian’s fragrance with “sewers and dead animals”. Terrible perpetuation of Western flavour prejudice by those who should know better! It is as if producers of Roquefort obstinately referred to the smell of old socks in describing and promoting that marvellous cheese.


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