Food plant solutions – sustainable food security for developing nations
Serious global food shortages over coming decades are predicted to have devastating health impacts, particularly in developing countries, where malnutrition is already widespread, and a billion people go to bed hungry each day. Western food aid may provide short-term relief in times of emergency, but it is not an economically, environmentally or socially sustainable solution to hunger and malnutrition. A far better approach is to grow locally adapted plants for a reliable food supply. Interest in neglected and underutilised species (NUS) of edible plants is increasing rapidly because of their ecological suitability, potential for sustainable production, nutritional advantages and scope for increasing diversity and adaptation to climate change. Bruce French, of Food Plants International (FPI), has documented most edible plants (26,500 species) from every country of the world. This information provides a basis for developing more diverse food production and dietary systems to enhance and secure food supply at both local and global levels. The collation forms, without doubt, the most comprehensive food plant database in the world, and can be used to highlight edible plants worth research attention. The key focus is towards tropical plants because most cases of under-nutrition occur in this zone. The Rotary Club of Devonport North and Rotary District 9830 in Tasmania joined with FPI to form Food Plant Solutions (FPS), a project developed to create awareness of the opportunities offered through the FPI database, and encourage its application, through many different types of local initiatives, to address malnutrition in developing countries.
French, B.R. and Green, B. (2016). Food plant solutions – sustainable food security for developing nations. Acta Hortic. 1128, 327-332
edible plants, neglected species, agro-ecology, indigenous vegetables, tropical fruit