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FAO Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific
Future Smart Foods

‘Future Smart Food’ to Tap Huge Potentials of Neglected and Underutilized Species for Zero Hunger

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.

Achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), especially SDG 2, which calls for the eradication of hunger and all forms of malnutrition, is at the heart of FAO's work.

Dietary and production diversity are recognized factors in strategies to improve food security and nutrition. Currently, agriculture has an over-reliance on a handful of major staple crops. Today, just 103 out of the nearly 30,000 edible plant species worldwide provide up to 90 percent of the calories in the human diet. FAO considers that neglected and underutilized species (NUS) have a central role to play in the fight against hunger and malnutrition, and that they are currently being overlooked. NUS are very rich in Asia. To tap the potentials of NUS, FAO Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific has launched a Future Smart Food Initiative, in collaboration with 30 national and international organizations, as part of its Regional Initiative on Zero Hunger.

Future Smart Food, referring to NUS that are nutrition dense, climate resilient, economically viable and locally accessible, represent a promising abundance of food resources and constitute the bedrock of the food system. As José Graziano da Silva, FAO Director-General highlighted, these foods are smart because they can bolster dietary diversification, improve micronutrient intake, enhance soil health, require fewer inputs such as chemical fertilizers and often prove resilient to climate change and adverse farming conditions.