Diversifying Agriculture for Better Lives

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17 September 2013 10 Comments
3rd International Conference on Neglected and Underutilized Species: For a Food-Secure Africa (NUS 2013)

3rd International Conference on Neglected and Underutilized Species: For a Food-Secure Africa (NUS 2013)

As part of the conference coverage for NUS 2013, New Agriculturist – a widely read and well – recognised online journal, will be helping to share your stories about how agricultural knowledge and innovation regarding neglected crops are helping to address major development challenges and make a real difference in the lives of the poor. In particular, the New Agriculturist is interest to feature case studies that show how the author’s work is helping to achieve developmental change in increasing environmental resilience with NUS, in enhancing food and nutrition security, or benefiting people’s lives and livelihoods through the upgrading of NUS value chains.

The conveners of the conference kindly invite participants who may be interested to collaborate and have their stories published to submit a short outline for articles that correspond with the following conference themes:

Theme 1: Resilience of agricultural and livelihood systems

  • Diversification for food security in sub-Saharan Africa
  • NUS for nutrition and health

Theme 2: Upgrading value chains of neglected and underutilized species

Interested contributors are advised to write directly to Olivia Frost at email hidden; JavaScript is required, and copy to email hidden; JavaScript is required by no later than 30th September 2013. Please visit the official website of the “3rd International Conference on Neglected and Underutilized Species: For a Food-Secure Africa (NUS 2013)” for more information and article submission guidelines.

22 April 2013 Add Comments
Biotechnology of Neglected and Underutilized Crops by Springer Link

Biotechnology of Neglected and Underutilized Crops by Springer Link

Touted as the “first comprehensive resource worldwide that reflects research achievements in neglected and underutilized crop biotechnology,” a new Springer book has come out that covers Chenopodium, Jatropha, Carthamus, taro and other species. We can’t tell whether the hard copy is worth the 170 Euro price tag, but if you happen to have access to the book we would look forward to anyone volunteering to provide a review.

15 April 2013 Add Comments
Proceedings of the “2nd International Symposium on Underutilised Plant Species: Crops for the Future – Beyond Food Security”

Proceedings of the “2nd International Symposium on Underutilised Plant Species: Crops for the Future – Beyond Food Security”

We are pleased to announce that the proceedings of the “2nd International Symposium on Underutilised Plant Species: Crops for the Future – Beyond Food Security” has been published by Acta Horticulturae publication of International Society for Horticultural Sciences (ISHS) on 31 March 2013.

The symposium was held on 27 June-01 July 2011 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia and was organised by Crops for the Future Research Centre, University of Nottingham Malaysia Campus under the auspices of ISHS. The event was co-convened and supported by Crops for the Future, Bioversity International, the Malaysian Agricultural Research and Development Institute, Boustead Holdings Berhad, Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations, Kirkhouse Trust, British Council and Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa.

The follow-up to this symposium is the coming “3rd International Conference on Neglected and Underutilized Species (NUS)” that will take place on 23-25 September 2013, in Accra, Ghana. Please visit the official conference website for more information. Interested participants are encouraged to sign up for the conference newsletter to receive updates on the development of this conference.

 

Archived postings of the symposium in the past:

http://www.cropsforthefuture.org/2011/08/crops-for-the-future-symposium-2011-introduction/

http://www.cropsforthefuture.org/2010/09/2nd-international-symposium-on-underutilised-plant-species-2/

20 February 2013 Add Comments

Together with a number of international and Spanish partners, CFF co-organised  the “International Seminar Crops for the XXI Century”, held last December in Cordoba, Spain. The seminar resulted in the Cordoba Declaration, which calls for more diversity in agricultural and food systems, principally through greater use of neglected and underutilised species (NUS). Specifically the declaration proposes action along these lines:

  • Farmers threshing quinoa (Chenopodium quinoa), near Puno, Peru.

    Farmers threshing quinoa (Chenopodium quinoa), near Puno, Peru.

    Improving education and awareness to ensure that the values of a much wider range of NUS are recognized by all society;

  • Increasing recognition and support for small scale and family farmers, women and men, in maintaining diversified and resilient agricultural systems;
  • Facilitating the conservation, access, availability, use and exchange of seeds by farmers;
  • Promoting formal and informal research and plant breeding to realize the full potential of NUS;
  • Improving access to markets and stimulating demand for a wider range of NUS, while ensuring that benefits are shared fairly.
31 December 2012 Add Comments
biotrade-wiki.net Logo

biotrade-wiki.net Logo

In collaboration with UNCTAD, GIZ and other partners, CFF has recently completed this wikibook on biotrade. Biotrade concerns the local, national and international trade in physical goods derived from native biodiversity, including agricultural species. The wikibook covers concepts relevant to biotrade, explores the benefits and risks associated with it, as well as the frameworks and factors enabling it.

What surprised us in putting together the wikibook is the complexity and enormous economic importance of biotrade, which is under-reported because of biotrade’s multi-faceted, dispersed and oftentimes informal nature. Compiled data suggest that global biotrade is a multi-billion US$ industry, probably in the middle double-digits.

Another issue that caught our attention is the growing share of agriculturally produced biotrade materials, in particular from the farming of wild-type species, as described in the wikibook. There is no shortage of standards and guidelines for the sustainable extraction of biotrade materials from natural habitats, but typically the combined effect of relentless market demand, unscrupulous traders and poor gatherers and hunters, depletes the resource base. Thus, many herbal and other plant and animal materials are becoming scarce from the wild and need to be farmed.