The market for underutilised crops
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CTA. 2008. The market for underutilised crops. Agfax Resource Pack. Wageningen, The Netherlands: CTA.
Permanent link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10568/57367
Devil?s Claw is a desert growing plant that is now in demand for the medicinal properties of its roots. Traditionally used by people in Namibia, demand in Europe is leading to over-harvesting, not least because the plant is very slow growing, making the establishment of commercial production very difficult. Meanwhile, the market for leafy vegetables in Cote D?Ivoire ? and other parts of Africa ? is limited, because they have not yet become popular with young people.
The market for underutilised crops Patrick Van Damme and Koublan Edmond Koffi Suggested introduction Take a look at the international market and you will see that several of the world?s neglected or underutilised crops are making a comeback. Whether for their leaves, fruits, tubers or roots, we are rediscovering niche markets for these long-forgotten plants, and farmers are making money from supplying the demand. Some are sold fresh. Others are processed into nutritious foods while others are used for their medicinal properties, that ease some of the symptoms of the problem diseases of our time. So how can we know what the market wants? Rose Reuben met two marketing specialists from two parts of the world. Professor Patrick Van Damme is based in Belgium and Koublan Edmond Koffi works in Cote d?Ivoire. Rose began by asking them both for examples of new markets for old crops. Track 10 In ?There are a lot of plants ? Out ? will be much more diversified.? Duration 4?35? Suggested closing announcement: Professor Patrick Van Damme and Koublan Edmond Koffi were discussing the market prospects for some of Africa?s neglected crops with Rose Reuben. Contact details: Professor Patrick Van Damme U Ghent/FBW Department of Plant Production, Gent, Belgium Email: Patrick.firstname.lastname@example.org Koublan Edmond Koffi CNRA, 07 BP 13, Abidjan 07, Cote D?Ivoire Email: email@example.com Transcript Damme There are a lot of plants that have been used and are still used by traditionally living people in Namibia. Some of them have also made it into a real crop status because they are grown, but that is only a few. Reuben What about in Cote D?Ivoire? Koffi In Cote D?Ivoire let?s say you can divide the crop species into two kinds. We have leafy vegetables that are annual crops and we have also perennial crops that are mainly used for fruits and the leaves. And on this point let?s say that all of the tree crops are most of the time in the landscape, they are not cultivated, they are not domesticated but product obtained from these trees are subject of trade in the country and out of the country in the sub region of West Africa. Reuben Can you mention a few of the neglected plants or crops in Namibia? Damme There is one important one, Devil?s claw it is called, for which there is a market in Germany amongst others. Now this is a plant that grows very slowly because we are talking about a desert kind of environment. It grows very slowly and they want to harvest the roots eventually, so that would kill the plant. So they are harvesting those from the wild. There is this idea that this plant should be grown but when you start growing it, it grows very slowly. So if you start the plantation now you will only reap the benefit in a few years time. So that takes a lot of time and people now, there is a market and they have jumped onto the opportunity and they are harvesting and maybe they are even over-harvesting it. Apart from that there are a few plants here and there that have maybe some medicinal properties and that would have a regional importance. Reuben So do you think these crops and plants which are neglected, could they be coming back to the fashion? Koffi Yes obviously there is a public awareness to our population and according to the high register of nutrient in these crops, people are now getting interested to these crop species and namely in leafy vegetables. We have a lot of leafy vegetables that in the past were used by our population and these leafy vegetables are used in many diets. Now the constraint is that the young people have not the habit of this diet and it is critical to introduce these neglected crops in the habit of the young people to maintain the use of these neglected crops. And to talk about the tree crops, the dry leaves also are sold on many markets and the fruits of the shea tree and the butter are also sold for food and for pharmaceutical industries. Reuben Professor Van Damme, what are the challenges that you are meeting in promoting these neglected crops and plants? Damme The international agricultural research has always promoted species and varieties therein of just a limited number of crops and so people have grown accustomed to that fact and now what you find on your platter is a very limited number of species that are actually used. There is also private sector interest but sometimes the policy environment is not an enabling one. Koffi One of the main challenges is public awareness because many scientific results show that these crops are very, very rich in vitamins and minerals and micronutrients and these results are not known by population. So they have to be aware of that. And the second step, most of the time research activities are not reported to the world?s people and they do not know what is going on in research. And the third step is towards politicians. As I said, policy decision makers have to be involved in the process of putting forward this information. Damme Also you should know that I think the resilience of a system depends on having a number of different crops, a number of different activities. Hopefully by 2020, 2030, the kind of diet we will live on will be much broader, will be much more diversified. End of track.