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Issue paper

Future smart food. Rediscovering hidden treasures of neglected and underutilized species for Zero Hunger in Asia

This publication contributes directly to SO1 and under Regional Initiative on Zero Hunger Challenge. Eradication of hunger and malnutrition is a major challenge in Asia. 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. Agrobiodiversity offers huge potentials in addressing malnutrition and agricultural sustainability. Future Smart Food (FSF), often referred to as Neglected and Underutilized Species (NUS), are rich in Asia. They represent a promising abundance of food resources and constitute the bedrock of the food system diversity. FSF have enormous benefits which are nutrition-dense, climate-smart and economic viable.

To tap the potential of FSF, FAO RAP has organized a Regional Expert Consultation on FSF through an interdisciplinary priority-setting exercise, in collaboration with the FAO Special Ambassador for the International Year of Pulses, the University of Western Australia, ICARDA, ICRISAT, MSSRF-LANSA, CATAS-TCGRI, Mahidol University, ACIAR, ICIMOD, CFF, as well as 8 national research institutes. The publication is a concrete follow-up product from the Regional Expert Consultation on Neglected and Underutilized Crop Species (NUS) that was held under the Regional Zero Hunger Challenge Initiative by FAO RAP in December 2016. Apart from regional thematic analysis, eight country studies on NUS are prepared and under peer-review by leading experts from agriculture, nutrition and socio-economic disciplines.

Asia & Pacific