ICUC - International Centre for Underutilized Crops
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CTA. 1991. ICUC - International Centre for Underutilized Crops . Spore 36. CTA, Wageningen, The Netherlands.
Permanent link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10568/45669
The ICUC is an autonomous, non-profit making, scientific research and training centre. It was established in 1988 to address ways of increasing the use of underutilized crops both for food, medicinal and industrial products, and also for...
The ICUC is an autonomous, non-profit making, scientific research and training centre. It was established in 1988 to address ways of increasing the use of underutilized crops both for food, medicinal and industrial products, and also for environmental improvement. The specific objectives are to establish, strengthen and coordinate an international network of scientists and programmes dedicated to the development of those crops of local importance which have clear potential for enhanced production and wider use. It also evaluates such crops as sources of both traditional and new products. Current surplus production of food by the developed world and the need to manage the environment mean that better use needs to be made of an increasingly versatile array of crop species, rather than continuing to rely on a limited number of staple food crops and a limited number of industrial crops. Whereas the germplasm of the latter has been well exploited, that of the former has, in general, been neglected from a research point of view. The diversity of the minor species which have potential for further development is hardly known, nor is the germplasm adequately exploited. Most underutilized crops are based on a relatively narrow genetic base, the cultivars used are generally primitive and, despite association with man for generations, many are hardly removed genetically from the wild. The Centre carries out research and development in collaboration with national scientists of developing countries, and in some cases in partnership with institutions in developed countries on the understanding that technology generation will lead to rapid technology transfer. It also undertakes some of the research at its headquarters using its own staff. The range of research and technology is interdisciplinary and embraces many disciplines such as agriculture, processing and agroforestry. The Centre organizes specialist short training courses, especially in adaptive research, for scientists from developing countries. It also supports a specialist one year postgraduate course leading to an MSc in Genome Manipulation in Crops. The Centre's training courses recognize the specific needs of scientists using underutilized crops but aim to be complementary to other training activities. One of the prime tasks of ICUC is to provide an information centre which can conduct searches, answer specific queries and be used to guide research and development. Data on market development is also included, thereby providing a valuable source of information to the commercial sector. ICUC already issues a quarterly newsletter with a very wide distribution and in 1992 plans to publish a new international journal and to oversee the production of a serious of monographs on groups of underutilized crops. International Centre for Underutilized Crops, Wyseplan Building, Wye College University of London, Ashford Kent TN25 5AH, UK