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FAO Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific

Future Smart Foods and Mountain Agriculture are components of the Regional Initiative on Zero Hunger (RI-ZH).

Neglected and underutilized species (NUS), known as Future Smart Foods, have a central role to play in the fight against hunger and malnutrition through dietary and production diversity. Currently, agriculture has an over-reliance on a handful of major staple crops with just 103 out of the nearly 30,000 edible plant species worldwide providing up to 90 percent of the calories in the human diet.

Mountain food security and nutrition can contribute positively to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals but paradoxically are often ignored in Zero Hunger and the poverty reduction-related agenda. FAO is committed to working together with Member Countries and partner organizations to make mountain agriculture more sustainable and inclusive to achieve Zero Hunger.

Future Smart Foods

This comprehensive book demonstrates the multidimensional benefits of Neglected and Underutilized species (NUS) and their potential contribution to achieving Zero Hunger; identifies promising NUS that are nutrition-dense, climate-resilient, economically-viable and locally available or adaptable as FSF; highlights the challenges and opportunities for harnessing these less-mainstream food crops encounters; and provides strategic recommendations to create an enabling environment for the promotion, production, marketing and consumption of Future Smart Food, assuring healthy diets for the future.


This comprehensive publication is the first of its kind that focuses on the multidimensional status, challenges, opportunities and solutions of sustainable mountain agriculture development for Zero Hunger in Asia. It presents international research on all four dimensions of food security for transformation of food systems to be nutrition-sensitive, climate-resilient, economically-viable and locally adaptable. From this food system perspective, the priority should be given to focus on specialty mountain product identification (e.g. Future Smart Food), production, processing, marketing and consumption, which would effectively expose the potential of mountain agriculture to contribute to Zero Hunger and poverty reduction. Eight Asian country case studies identify context-specific challenges within biophysical-technical, policy, socio-economic and institutional dimensions, and demonstrate their experience in mountain agricultural product prioritization, production, processing and market development.

Read the report here: