Forests provide food for many people around the world. Julie Mollins at the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) says that forest foods deserve more attention. Local varieties, local wild foods, many kinds of animal and plant food which might seem exotic if you don’t happen to live in that particular forest.
Dr Mollins says that Bronwen Powell, also at CIFOR, urges us to consider micronutrients. ‘Most policymakers have focused on the role of energy-rich staple agricultural crops like corn and rice in fighting food insecurity, but this approach fails to address the fact that there are now more than twice as many people who lack micronutrients than the estimated number of people who are hungry.’ Micronutrients are essential for human health. They include vitamin A (which I’ve mentioned here in relation to eye health), iron and calcium.
Forest foods can provide income, too. People know where to find the wild forest foods and how to encourage the semi-domesticated ones. But sometimes, this knowledge isn’t taken seriously enough.