Bring back the neglected crops

‘An adaptive, diversified agriculture will need to make use of many hundreds of crops that have become neglected by modern agriculture; crops that have been used for millennia but which have been increasingly forgotten as a few crops have become commercially dominant in food production.’ So says the Cordoba Declaration.

Wise words. You can read the Cordoba Declaration at the link I’ve just given. If that’s too much detail, you might prefer to see that Bioversity International gives us a summary of the Declaration.

Bioversity International explains what it means by NUS (Neglected & Underutilized Species). I notice that the Cordoba Declaration doesn’t tell us to embrace genetically modified (GM) crops. It says that the world is teeming with NUS crops, which deserve more attention. It says that poor people know how to grow these crops.

I’m grateful to my fellow blogger Jeremy Cherfas at Agricultural Biodiversity Weblog for drawing attention to the Cordoba Declaration.

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About argylesock

I wrote a PhD about veterinary parasitology so that's the starting point for this blog. But I'm now branching out into other areas of biology and into popular science writing. I'll write here about science that happens in landscapes, particularly farmland, and about science involving interspecific interactions. Datasets and statistics get my attention. Exactly where this blog will lead? That's a journey that I'm on and I hope you'll come with me.
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11 Responses to Bring back the neglected crops

  1. manuelinor says:

    Global genetic diversity of crops and local landraces are so important to agriculture – thanks for highlighting this! 🙂

  2. EqFe says:

    I’m always amazed personally, when I discover a new vegetable that I didn’t know existed the year before. Malabar spinach was one that I only learned obout seven years ago, and it’s almost magical how high the yield is. Quinoa, I can’t remember if you shared this article about global demand for quinoa reducing the supply in the Andes where it’s grown. http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2013/jan/16/vegans-stomach-unpalatable-truth-quinoa?CMP=twt_gu I’m glad to see that others will be trying to grow it locally.

    • argylesock says:

      I hadn’t seen that particular article. It’s interesting, esp since as you know 2013 is the International Year of Quinoa http://www.rlc.fao.org/en/about-fao/iyq-2012/

      What you say about Malabar spinach is interesting too. Do you mean Basella alba? My guess is that, like quinoa, Malabar spinach can be grown outside its native range. If so I hope that demand for it can be met without driving traditional growers into poverty.

      In a more general way, it strikes me that some NUS are likely to be region-specific. Climate, soil, resilience to transport and other factors may affect what’s possible. But what’s possible may include local growing for local needs.

  3. Pingback: Golden Rice trial is vandalised | Science on the Land

  4. Pingback: Neglected and underutilised species | Science on the Land

  5. Pingback: Biodiversity to feed the world | Science on the Land

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