sábado, 23 de março de 2013

Species Brochures - Crops for the future

GFU. Abaca - Musa textilis. GFU, Italy. [pdf]
GFU. Amaranth - Amaranthus spp. GFU, Italy. [pdf]
GFU. Amazonia species - Euterpe oleracea - Myrciaria dubia - Eugenia stipitata. GFU, Italy. [pdf]
GFU. Andean potatoes - Solanum tuberosum. GFU, Italy. [pdf]
GFU. Canihua - Chenopodium pallidicaule. GFU, Italy. [pdf]
GFU. Emmer - Triticum dicoccum. GFU, Italy. [pdf]
GFU. Henna - Lawsonia inermis. GFU, Italy. [pdf]
GFU. Laurel - Laurus nobilis. GFU, Italy. [pdf]
GFU. Makoni - Fadogia ancylantha. GFU, Italy. [pdf]
GFU. Marula - Sclerocarya birrea. GFU, Italy. [pdf]
GFU. Masau - Ziziphus mauritiana. GFU, Italy. [pdf]
GFU. Maya Nut - Brosimum alicastrum. GFU, Italy. [pdf]
GFU. Minor Millets - Eleusine coracana - Setaria italica - Paspalum scrobiculatum - Panicum miliaceum - Panicum sumatrense - Digitaria exilis. GFU, Italy. [pdf]
GFU. Moringa - Moringa oleifera. GFU, Italy. [pdf]
GFU. Noni - Morinda citrifolia. GFU, Italy. [pdf]
GFU. Noug, a neglected and underutilized oil-seed crop from the Ethiopian highlands. [pdf]
GFU. Oca - Oxalis tuberose. GFU, Italy. [pdf]
GFU. Physic Nut - Jatropha curcas. GFU, Italy. [pdf]
GFU. Quinoa - Chenopodium quinoa. GFU, Italy. [pdf]
GFU. Seabuckthorn - Hippophae rhamnoides. GFU, Italy. [pdf]
Crops for the Future

Sacha Inchi (Plukenetia volubilis, Euphorbiaceae)

Sacha Inchi is an indigenous species from the Amazon that produces edible seeds with a high content of Omega fatty acids. This property has caught the attention of the international natural products market, providing in recent years income opportunities for indigenous communities, who traditionally use sacha inchi as a food. Both the seeds of sacha inchi as well as its seed oil from production sites in Peru are offered by a number of companies. However, the EU Novel Food Catalogue does not list sacha inchi, possibly a bad omen, as this species appears not to have been traded in the EU prior 1997 and therefore may not be authorised in the EU.

More information on EU Novel Food Regulation.
Amazonian species with edible seeds, location: Pucallpa, Ucayali, Peru
Plukenetia volubilis fruits
Experimental cultivation of Plukenetia volubilis at INIEA station
Crops for the Future

Bo khai (Erythropalum scandens, Olacaceae)

No longer available from its shrinking forest habitat, this liana has been taken into cultivation by farmers in mountainous North Vietnam. The distinctive taste and texture of this leaf vegetable also appeals to urban gourmets. CFF has assisted farmers with developing propagation methods of bo khai and building equitable value chains.

Bo khai (Erythropalum scandens) leaves and fruits
Bo Khai (Erythropalum scandens) growing near rural homestead
Propagation of bo khai (Erythropalum scandens) via cuttings
Crops for the Future

Yacon (Smallanthus sonchifolius, Asteraceae)

Aided by public research investments, this root from the Andean highlands has made a remarkable transition from utter neglect to market prominence. Rarely seen in the fields of poor farmers just a few years ago, yacon is now widely consumed in its native range. It has also emerged as a novel crop in various Asian countries, where the succulent and crunchy texture of the roots is much liked. Critical for the success of yacon was the discovery that its roots are an excellent source of nutritionally desirable oligo-fructose. The leaves also contain anti-hyperglycemic principles and are used as tea.

Andean roots and tubers: Ahipa, arracacha, maca and yacon
Yacon roots (Smallanthus sonchifolius)
Yacon flower (Smallanthus sonchifolius)
Yacon rootstock (Smallanthus sonchifolius)

Edible canna (Canna edulis, Cannaceae)

Never write off a minor crop! Once a staple in prehistoric Peru but going nearly extinct there because of the inconvenience for direct use (in particular extremely long cooking time), this root crop has bounced back in the last 50 years – not in its native range, but in Vietnam and Southern China. Gels made from canna starch have extraordinary tensile strength, making it the preferred raw material of popular transparent noodles. Currently grown on some 50,000 ha of marginal land in Vietnam and China, canna allows poor farmers to derive profit from minimal investments and from land unsuited for food crops.
Edible Canna (Canna edulis) in North Vietnam
Canna noodles (Canna edulis)
Canna starch noodles (Canna edulis)

How to Plant a Herb Pot

1 Select your herbs. When making a herb pot, it is essential to have a good variety of herbs and companion plants that will assist your culinary pursuits. Some good choices include:
Sweet Marjoram
Lemon Balm
Common Basil
Lime Basil
Hot Pepper

2 Prepare the pot. 
Make sure that your pot has holes in the bottom for good drainage.
Take your gravel or grit, and pour this into the container to about a quarter of the pot's depth. This will help water drain out from the bottom of the soil.
3 Fill. Once the gravel is in place, start to fill the pot with a multi-purpose, or soil-based compost. This should fill approximately three quarters of the pot's remaining depth.
4 Start planting.
Place the herb plants into the pot, with about 15cm between each stem.
Squeeze each herb gently from its temporary pot, and tease the roots from the root ball; this will encourage them to spread out.
5 Place the taller plants in the center of the display, and the trailing ones near the edge. This will help to ensure the best growth. The display may look messy at first, but do not worry, as this will start to fill out and look lush within a few weeks.
6 Fill in around the planted herbs. Once you are happy with the positions, start to fill the gaps between the plants with compost.
Firmly push the compost into the gaps by pushing your fingers deep into the soil that you have just added, being careful not to damage any roots.
Add more if necessary. Leave a couple of centimeters between the pot's rim and the soil, so that the pot does not overflow when watered.
7 Top the herbs. Cut the tops off the taller plants, roughly halving them in height. This will encourage each herb plant to bush out and provide more leaves to pick at harvest time.
8 Fertilize. Obtain a controlled release fertilizer.
Push 3 - 5 of these into the soil, depending on your pot size. Simply push the controlled release fertiliser deep in with your finger and then re-cover with soil. These slow-release fertilisers should last a whole season, meaning that you needn't feed the pot again.

9 Water. Water thoroughly, until the water starts to drain out of the bottom of the pot. The compost needs to absorb a lot on first watering, so expect to apply four litres or so. Continue to water over the coming months, at least every few days, or when the soil seems dry. Herbs like to dry out between water, and some herbs such as Rosemary can easily be over-watered.
10 Finished.

Herb spiral

About our work in Nepal

Drying spices and medicinal plants. 

Jaya Bahadur Thapa and his wife Lal Kumari Thapa live in Chaur, a village in Kaski District in western Nepal. Both are traditional healers. They have domesticated about 145 medicinal plants in their home garden and nearby land.

In Nepal our scientists and researchers, and many local partners, are working to support the conservation and use of agricultural biodiversity in order to improve the livelihoods, nutrition and sustainability of poor farming communities, including: 

• A Neglected and Underutilized Species Initiative, is helping communities benefit from traditional local crops, conserving them in farmers fields. Many rural communities depend on these locally adapted plant species for income, food security, and nutrition. These crops are often more resilient than modern staple crops, but they are marginalized by modern agriculture and markets, and are at risk of being lost. 

• A Home Garden Initiative, which aims to understand how to improve, conserve and use biodiversity in smallholder home gardens. It also enables support for rural women, who tend to have little money to invest in farming and limited or no land holdings but who play a crucial role in agriculture. 

• A Traditional Crop Genetic Diversity Programme, which since 2011 has been working to improve the resilience of mountain agricultural ecosystems to unpredictable environmental change and conserve the crop diversity most useful to the farmers who have to cope with these challenging conditions. 

• Genetic Resource Policy Initiatives, to strengthen the capacity of Nepal to develop comprehensive genetic policy framework that conserve and make available invaluable plant genetic resources and information.

Announcing: Free Sample Issue of Plant Healer Magazine

FOOD WITH PRANA: 12 principles of Ayurvedic food

The path of meditation requires a moderate, regulated life,
avoiding too much or too little food, work,
and sleep, or use of the senses.
The attention must abide in the soul all the time.
For such a person, yoga destroys all sorrows.

— Bhagavad Gita

Your body is a vehicle. Life has manifested itself through this vehicle. And to live your life to its fullest potential it’s vital that this vehicle is kept in its best condition through proper nourishment.

Your relation to food is an indicator of your relation to other aspects of your life. What you put in your body has a direct effect not only on your body but also on your mind and soul—on how you lead your life. If your food is full of Prana, life force, it will give you the ability to live your life to your fullest potential. Food that is pure, full of Prana and prepared with love, meditation and good healing vibrations gives you much more than just the feeling of satisfaction to the taste buds. It nourishes your body, mind, senses and soul while increasing physical energy, positive thinking, creativity, longevity and heightened awareness of life in all its beauty. It brings you closer to the Divine state.

The twelve principles of vapika meals

Sattvic food – Food that is primarily whole foods, plant based, lightly spiced, using no oil so that you feel refreshed and charged.

Six tastes of Ayurveda – Sweet, sour, salty, pungent, astringent and bitter. Meals that incorporate all these tastes are satiating and flavourful.

Three constitutions in Ayurveda – According to Ayurveda we are either one or a combination of two or all three doshas (body constitutions): vata (air/ether), pitta (fire) and kapha (earth/water). When you eat according to your constitution you help maintain equilibrium in your body.

Well-balanced – A common cause for indigestion and lack of energy after a meal is more often an imbalance in the combinations and proportions of proteins, carbs and fat. A meal that is balanced in these gives you a boost of energy and vitality.

Right portion – The quantity of food we need varies a little every day based on our daily activity. Eat only as much as you are hungry and only when you are hungry. For optimum digestion it is recommended to eat a little less than you desire. Other helpful tips are eating in smaller servings rather than one big serving, eating out of a soup bowl inside of a big dinner plate.

Healthy variety – Meals prepared using a variety of vegetables, roots, greens, fresh herbs, whole grains, lentils, beans, nuts, seeds, dried fruits and spices all provide the complete range of nutrients.

Fresh, local and organic – Eating freshly picked organic produce from the local farmer’s market helps your local economy, helps create a community and ensures that you get the best and freshest food that tastes the best that it can and is full of all the nutrients.

Seasonal – Eating seasonal fruits and vegetables helps you keep in sync with the cycles of nature. Your body’s need for certain food changes according to the seasons of the year. For example, your desire to eat more fresh green, hydrating vegetables in the summer complements the optimum season for these vegetables just as your desire for dense warming vegetables like winter squash and beets coincides with its abundance in the colder climates. You get the most nutritive value out of a fruit or vegetable when it is eaten in its season.

Cooking tools – It’s important to take into consideration the utensils and equipment you cook with. They have to be as natural as possible. Plastic, aluminum, non-stick, anodized cooking utensils may leech toxins into the food so using stainless steel, wood, cast iron, ceramic or glass is the safest.

Avoiding tamasic (thought to promote pessimism, ignorance, laziness, criminal tendencies, and doubt), or toxic Ingredients – Avoid food prepared using plastic, aluminum, non-stick and anodized steel utensils; food that is microwaved, canned or pre-made; food containing processed and refined ingredients like oils, white flour, white sugar, salt and sugar substitutes, corn syrup, preservatives, artificial flavouring, artificial colouring, packaged or stored in plastic containers or aluminum.

Cooking method – Cook food only to the extent to make it digestible, while retaining most of its nutritive value. It’s important to follow certain processes to retain the nutrients, such as steaming vegetables, soaking and sprouting beans and lentils and rinsing grains well before cooking.

A special ingredient – Preparing a meal with a positive intention, love and healing vibrations, mantras and prayers makes it even more potent and rich with healing properties.

Darshana Thacker is a well-known Ayurvedic chef in the yoga/kirtan community of Los Angeles. Her recipes have been published in LA Yoga Magazine and the newly released Forks Over Knives—Companion Book, a New York Times bestseller. Specializing in vegan Ayurvedic cuisine she is acknowledged for her contemporary Ayurvedic interpretations while staying true to the original cooking she learned in her mother’s kitchen, growing up in India. She can be contacted in 310-809-0494 and Mumbai, India +91-98213-59669 or follow her on Twitter : @VapikaSpirit

Data: 16.01.2013
Read more at 

Crop-specific publications

ICUC, 2005. Annotated Bibliography of Tamarind (1990-2004), ICUC, Southampton, UK. [pdf]
ICUC, 2005. Annotated Bibliography of Ber (1990-2004). ICUC, Southampton, UK. [pdf]
ICUC, 2005. Annotated Bibliography of Safou (1990-2004). ICUC, Southampton, UK. [pdf]
ICUC, 2005. Annotated Bibliography of Baobab (1990-2004). ICUC, Southampton, UK. [pdf]
ICUC, 2005. Annotated Bibliography of Annona (1990-2004). ICUC, Southampton, UK. [pdf]
ICUC, 2005. Annotated Bibliography of Pouteria (1990-2004). ICUC, Southampton, UK. [pdf]
ICUC, 2005. Annotated Bibliiography of Ricinondendron (1990-2004). ICUC, Southampton, UK. [pdf]
ICUC, 2005. Annotated Bibliography of Strychnos (1990-2004). ICUC, Southampton, UK. [pdf]
ICUC, 2005. Annotated Bibliography of Mangosteen (1990-2004). ICUC, Southampton, UK. [pdf]
ICUC, 2005. Annotated Bibliography of Jackfruit (1990-2004). ICUC, Southampton, UK. [pdf]
ICUC, 1997. Annotated Bibliography of Jackfruit, Pummelo and Mangosteen. ICUC, Southampton, UK. [Genetics] [Post-harvest] [Propagation & Production] 

Crops for the Future

Jackfruit (Artocarpus heterophyllus, Moraceae)

These gentlemen in Kerala, India, are clearly happy about the productive and ancient jackfruit tree in the background. Our friend Shree Padre, who runs a blog dedicated to the crop calls it the “kalpavriksha”, which is a mythical wish-fulfilling divine tree in ancient Sanskrit literature. Jackfruit trees clearly live up to that reputation. A frequent sight in Indian homestead gardens, they give shade and shed plenty of dry leaves to use as garden mulch. Green leaves and roots are occasionally used as medicine. Goats relish these leaves. And the tree remains for centuries and eventually provides valuable timber used in making furniture and musical instruments. And above all there are the delicious fruits, a nearly effortless food source for cooking and direct use.

[Photo courtesy: Shree Padre, 2011]
Jackfruit, kalpavriksha
Jackfruit in Gujarat
Jackfruit tree in Gujarat

Crops for the Future

Cañihua (Chenopodium pallidicaule, Chenopodiaceae)

Cañihua is a native grain of Peru and Bolivia, which is supremely adapted to the high altitudes of the altiplano, the Andean plain that harbors Lake Titicaca. During most of its growth, the plant displays bright colors, and fields can be identified from afar. The grain has excellent protein quality (as other chenopods) and outstanding iron content. Seed shattering as shown in the inlet is a major production problem suggesting that cañihua is a semi-domesticate. Yields are very low (<300kg/ha) but at altitudes as in the pictured site (3900 masl), poor farmers have limited cropping options.
Cañihua at Atuncolla near Sillustani Juliaca
Cañihua (Chenopodium pallidicaule)
Cañihua at Atuncolla near Sillustani 

Breadfruit (Artocarpus altilis, Moraceae)

Breadfruit is to be found everywhere in the tropics, and can produce much food with no human intervention, but except for Oceania is hardly ever used to any significant extent (except as an ornamental tree). Breadfruit has been an important staple crop and component of traditional agroforestry systems in the Pacific for more than 3,000 years. Hundreds of varieties have been cultivated. Both the fruits as well the mature seeds have great nutritional value, but convenience products with attractive texture, taste and colour need to be developed to promote the use of this species.

Fruit of Artocarpus altilis (breadfruit)
Breadfruit tree in Palmira Valle del Cauca Colombia
Breadfruit (Artocarpus altilis), Malaysia
Crops for the Future