What makes taro an orphan crop?

Live at 2pm GMT today 21 May…

LATER: Spoiler alert. The answer to the question in the title has to do with:

  • inaccurate dogmas
  • multiplicity of names
  • negative social bias
  • lack of research
  • narrow ecological niche
  • archaeological invisibility
  • missing numbers

Potato atlas returns to life

I have decided to relaunch the potato and sweetpotato atlas sites — completed while working with CIP, but now personal — in hope that with active collaboration, they can become more current and relevant.

That’s from the very brave Kelly Theisen, on the World Potato Atlas site. We’ll see how both develop, and do what we can to help. The country chapters from the original versions of both atlases, which date back to the 1980’s, are also on there.

Brainfood: Red Listing, Name checking, Diversification, New breeding, Seed data, Tea genome, Sampling strategies, Plum diversity, Fruit taste, Enset seeds, Maize & nutrition, Emilian grapes

Diversify for better and more equitable nutrition

This year’s Global Nutrition Report came out yesterday. It calls for…

…a pro-equity agenda that mainstreams nutrition into food systems and health systems, supported by strong financing and accountability. With only five years left to meet the 2025 global nutrition targets, time is running out. We must focus action where the need is greatest for maximum impact.

That includes actions centred around increasing dietary diversity, especially for kids. Prabhu Pingali’s Spotlight 4.1 section of the report shows that more attention to non-staples crops can be a valuable approach for that.

Spotlight 4.1 shows that virtually all the increase in food energy (calories) from 1970 to 2010 is accounted for by non-staple crops, which are relatively more nutrient-dense. The proportion of calories from sugars and sweeteners has declined since 1970. This positive trend highlights the need for a more balanced policy and research and development focus on non-staple crops, to support producers to diversify. This in turn could improve the diversity of crops contributing to a balanced and healthy dietary composition.

Pity this important insight hasn’t found its way in much of the media coverage.