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CTA. 2008. National Treasures. Agfax Resource Pack. Wageningen, The Netherlands: CTA.
Permanent link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10568/57259
Every country has its national treasures. In this interview, Jackie Hughes of the World Vegetable Centre highlights the value of some food plant species, which she believes are treasures, but which have been neglected. These include plants such as amaranth, which can grow in marginal areas but which is also very nutritious. If more widely grown, these neglected crops could play a role in improving diets among the resource poor, and raising their income. They could also help to maintain farm production in the face of climate change.
National treasures Jackie Hughes The World Vegetable Centre (AVRDC) Suggested introduction Every nation has its national treasures. Egypt has its pyramids; Zimbabwe and Zambia share the Victoria Falls and Malawi has its great lake. But according to Dr Jackie Hughes, who is Deputy Director-General for Research at the World Vegetable Centre, every country in the world has national treasures which are both nutritional and known for helping fight off disease. They are the plants that were once an important part of our diets but have fallen out of favour as other crops have taken over. Talking with Lazarus Laiser, it is clear how much Dr Hughes wants us all to realise what we could lose if we don?t take a fresh a look at what we have. Lazarus Laiser began by asking whether the world is neglecting many useful crops. Track 1 In ?Has the world neglected? Out ?your indigenous vegetables.? Duration 2?54? Suggested closing announcement: That was Lazarus Laiser talking to Dr Jackie Hughes, Deputy Director-General for Research at the World Vegetable Centre. What can you do to bring our traditional cereals and grains back on to the kitchen table? Contact details: Dr Jackie Hughes AVRDC, The World Vegetable Center, P.O. Box 42, Shanhua, Tainan 74199 Taiwan Email: firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com Transcript Laiser Has the world neglected a lot of crops? Hughes Yes, the world has neglected many crops. They are the underutilised crops of the world and for vegetables, there are many thousands of underutilised vegetables around the world, particularly in Africa, which are with local people in poor areas. Laiser Is that a problem? Hughes I think it?s an opportunity. Because poor people do have access to the foods, but in the urban and peri-urban areas those neglected vegetables are not found because people want tomatoes and cabbage and carrots, not the leafy greens and African eggplants which are a part of traditional diets. Laiser Now there is a movement to bring back into fashion those neglected crops. Why is that? Hughes In particular because they are very good for nutrition, they have a lot of nutritional benefits plus they grow in marginal areas. So if the policy makers are considering climate change and an expansion of droughts or severe weather effects, those indigenous vegetables are much more resilient. Laiser How is that done? Hughes In environments such as this symposium, we try and sensitise policy makers and the scientists to work on particular indigenous crops which are of benefit to people, not just of scientific interest. Many of them have very interesting characteristics, but most of them are good for certain uses and we need to sensitise not only scientists but governments and other institutions on that. Laiser What could be the benefits for that? Hughes The benefits of indigenous vegetables are one, nutrition, and you get the micro-nutrients from those vegetables which are good for all of us so fewer people will die of iron deficiency, vitamin A and iodine deficiency. But in addition to that, markets - opportunities for alleviating poverty. If you can grow indigenous vegetables you eat it yourself, you can also sell it. And then there is the processing before you sell, post-harvest processing. So you add value, and that added value comes back to those poor people who are putting their time and energy into that. Laiser Can you give some examples of that? Hughes Well if you look at something like the nightshade in Tanzania, that is something which had gone off the tables, out of the meals in the urban areas, but in the villages people still ate it. So now, you can actually go and buy nightshade in Arusha and Dar es Salaam, so everybody can eat it, they get their minerals. But to do that you also need to increase the seed sector. That has to be stronger because without seeds you can?t plant it, grow it and sell it. So it is a way of increasing the whole economy through your national treasures, your indigenous vegetables. End of track