UNDERUTILIZED SPECIES IN THE PACIFIC: AN UNTAPPED SOURCE OF NUTRITIONAL AND ECONOMIC WEALTH
The important contribution that underutilized species make to food security is acknowledged in many regions of the world. The Pacific is no exception. Many of the underutilized species in this region can grow in marginal conditions and withstand climatic extremes. More recently, the increase in lifestyle-related diseases and vitamin deficiency-related diseases in some areas of the Pacific has also highlighted the contribution these species can make to the nutritional security and well-being of local communities. Nutritional analysis of the regions underutilized species is now being seen as an important component of plant genetic resources projects. Many of these species are well-used by local communities and their nutritional and medicinal benefits are well known. However, utilization in traditional farming systems does not prepare these species for either significant domestic or export markets, and in the majority of cases, their potential for income generation remains significantly underexploited. Any trade development is relatively recent and so constraints experienced in the product development area are to a large extent the result of the food security status, backyard nature of these species, and limited research and development. The diversity of underutilized species that exists in this region is highly significant and could equip the Pacific communities well with the ability to meet the challenge of globalization by opening up high-value niche markets. This paper provides an overview of underutilized species in the Pacific and their contribution to the well-being of Pacific communities and discusses how to best ensure that the potential of these species in addressing economic needs is unlocked and used for the sustainable development and economic growth of the region.
Taylor, M., Kete, T. and Tuia, V. (2009). UNDERUTILIZED SPECIES IN THE PACIFIC: AN UNTAPPED SOURCE OF NUTRITIONAL AND ECONOMIC WEALTH. Acta Hortic. 806, 235-242
breadfruit, traditional farming systems, nutritional security, food security