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Fermentation is an affordable and manageable food preservation technique, which is very appropriate in use where other food processing technologies such as canning and freezing are either inaccessible or unavailable. The fermentation of staples serves as a major source of nourishment for large populations in rural communities and contributes significantly to food security by increasing the range of raw materials, which can be used in the production of edible products.

The consolidated information base on traditional small-scale food fermentations is however very weak and existing information on the subject is widely dispersed. Furthermore, "indigenous knowledge" on fruit and vegetable fermentations is being lost as technologies evolve and populations move away from traditional food preservation practices. The Argo-Industries and Post-Harvest Management Service (AGSI) of FAO has therefore initiated the publication of a document series of fermented foods. The present publication on fermented fruits and vegetables is the first of the series.

It is hoped that this and other documents in the series will generate wider interest in developing and improving small-scale food fermentation technologies.

 M. Satin
Agro-Industries and Post-Harvest Management Service

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