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.

16 April 2013 1 Comment
International Symposium on Agrobiodiversity for Sustainable Development

International Symposium on Agrobiodiversity for Sustainable Development

Bioversity International and the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences will be organising the ”International Symposium on Agrobiodiversity for Sustainable Development”,  03-04 June 2013 in Beijing, China.

The symposium will focus on the important role of agricultural biodiversity in agroecological intensification for supporting productive and resilient farming systems to improve livelihoods of smallholder farmers. The symposium will also aim to understand the local cultural values in enhancing productivity through the use of traditional crop varieties, traditional farming practices and climate change response strategies.

Please read this PDF document or contact the organising committee directly at email hidden; JavaScript is required for more information. Participants need to submit this registration form to the organisers before 30 April 2013. The local costs of accommodation and food will be covered by the organisers for registered participants presenting scientific posters.

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.
19 February 2013 Add Comments
The Horticulture CRSP Trellis Fund

The Horticulture CRSP Trellis Fund

The Horticulture CRSP Trellis Fund provides small-scale, in-country development organisations access to U.S. graduate student expertise, providing benefit to both the student and the in-country institutions.

Organisations in 18 selected developing countries are invited to identify a horticultural problem facing local farmers and the type of expertise they seek in a U.S. graduate student. Interested organisation are requested to submit a project proposal with their intended objectives, activities, gender program and a $2,000 budget

Graduate students from UC Davis, Cornell University, North Carolina State University and University of Hawaii at Manoa are invited to submit applications to participate in this programme. Selected students will travel to meet their partner organisation and, upon return, will support their organisation’s outreach programme via email.

Deadline to both organisations and graduate students applications closes on 04 March 2013. Please visit the official website of the Horticulture CRSP Trellis Fund 2013 for more information or direct your enquiries to email hidden; JavaScript is required.

28 December 2012 Add Comments
The International Network of Food Data Systems (INFOODS)

The International Network of Food Data Systems (INFOODS)

If you are looking for nutritional information on underutilised plant species, we warmly recommend the databases curated by the International Network of Food Data Systems (INFOODS) hosted by FAO. The excel files downloadable from this global data repository currently hold compositional information on several hundred species of roots and tubers, fruits, edible seeds, and other edible plants. Data are referenced to the original analytical work, and most importantly, compilers have gone to great lengths to flag data that appear to be implausible or otherwise conspicuous.

You can now help INFOODS to expand the coverage and depth of its nutritional information on agricultural biodiversity in the following manner:

Firstly, you are welcome to check this inventory of underutilised species, which INFOODS has developed in the past in collaboration with CFF. Please nominate any species that is not yet included in the list, but should be so, provided it satisfies the following conditions:

Foods/species that

  • were/are/could be used for human consumption;
  • may have great potential for contributing to food security and nutrition;
  • are mainly local and traditional crops/animals (including insects, amphibians and reptiles) and whose distribution, biology, cultivation and uses is poorly documented;
  • receive little attention from research, farmers, policy and decision makers, technology providers and consumers;
  • have weak or no formal seed/animal germplasm supply systems;
  • are farmed, reared, gathered or caught on a small scale.

Species that are imported into a particular region do not count as underutilised there.

CFF is happy to compile your nominations for species to be included in the INFOODS list, and pass it on to INFOODS in a consolidated form. However, to do so, we need both the local and scientific names of your nominations. These should be sent to email hidden; JavaScript is required by 1 February 2013.

Secondly, we encourage you to submit any relevant compositional data to FAO for inclusion into the INFOODS Food Composition Database for Biodiversity. Only data that is fully documented can be accepted. For submission and more information, please contact Ruth Charrondiere at FAO.