Crop Diversity for Human Nutrition and Health Benefits

Crop Diversity for Human Nutrition and Health Benefits 
Authors : Prof. Peter J Gregory, Prof. Sayed Azam-Ali and Susan Azam-Ali
Published in World Agriculture on 4 December 2017

World Agriculture is an independent, peer reviewed journal for policy makers and practitioners in agriculture and related industries, assessing the interactions between population growth, resources, the environment and climate change.
Alongside dramatic increases in crop production over the last 50 years, global food systems have become more dependent on a few major `staple’ crops - just three cereals now provide about 60% of plant-based human energy intake.
There is compelling evidence that diverse diets that include fruits, vegetables, nuts and berries, as well as staples, are instrumental in optimising human health. Many 'forgotten foods’ include ingredients from a wide range of `underutilised’ but locally important crop species.
The contribution of such crops is increasingly being displaced by a globalised diet dominated by major staples. In 2011, a new international organisation, ‘Crops For the Future’ (CFF), was established for research on underutilised crops for food and non-food uses. This paper describes CFF’s research approach and outlines how it is facilitating the wider adoption of underutilised crops.
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