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Developing a research agenda for promoting underutilised, indigenous and traditional crops
Expanded Title:The Water Research Commission funded short term research project (K5/2603//4) ‘Developing a research agenda for promoting underutilised, indigenous and traditional crops’. It is a state-of-the-art literature review on past, present and ongoing work on underutilised, indigenous and traditional crops and their status, potential, challenges and opportunities along the value chain in South Africa. The review pays particular attention to drought tolerance in indigenous crops. The review showed that despite emerging interest on underutilised, indigenous and traditional crops (UITCs) amid reports of their potential, research on them remains scanty. This is despite the fact that several UITCs are reported to be drought tolerant, adapted to low levels of water use and thus suitable for cultivation in most rural areas. Some of these UITCs would be most suitable for promotion during such periods of drought as the nation is currently undergoing. Work on their drought tolerance and water use has mostly been funded by the Water Research Commission. Reasons cited for the lack of information include, lack of clear research goals, limited funding directed at UITCs and journal apathy towards publishing work on UITCs. The latter points also explain the lack of interest from established and emerging researchers. While we acknowledge efforts made by organisations such as the Water research Commission of South Africa and the national Department of Science and Technology towards funding research on UITCs, a lot still needs to be done to change UITCs to being notably utilised crops. The underutilised crops community’s inability to articulate a clear research agenda may have unintentionally contributed to this. As the world adopts a new post–2015 developmental agenda, the time is most opportune for the UITCs community to ensure that they feature on national agenda for improving human nutrition and health as well as employment and wealth creation for poverty eradiation. We seek to develop a research agenda for UITCs for South Africa, and the region at large, based on the concept of value chains. The agenda should not model itself along what was done for the major crops as the socio–economic dynamics that govern underutilised crops differ significantly. We propose developing value chains for a few major UITCs based on categorisations such as cereals, legumes, vegetables, roots and tuber crops. Such an agenda could form the basis for developing future funding instruments targeted at underutilised crops research in South Africa.
Date Published:01/09/2016
Document Type:Research Report
Document Subjects:Agricultural Water - Small holder irrigation
Document Format:Report
Document File Type:pdf
Research Report Type:Consultant
WRC Report No:KV 362/16
ISBN No:978-1-4312-0891-3
Authors:Modi AT; Mabhaudhi T
Project No:K5/2603
Organizations:University of KwaZuIu-Natal
Document Size:1 750 KB
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