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Integrating Africa’s forgotten foods for better nutrition

Published by:
Online Location
Publication date
Type of Publication:
Focus Region:
Middle East & North Africa
Sub-Saharan Africa
Focus Topic:
Nutrition / Food Systems
Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations
Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations

Africa is home to a diversity of indigenous food crops that are locally adapted and less fastidious than exotic cultivars. Indigenous foods are foods of plant and animal origin that naturally exist in specific agro-ecological domains and are produced and consumed as part of traditional diets.

Although indigenous foods have the potential to sustainably provide the much needed dietary nutrients to various communities across Africa, they have suffered progressive loss of cultural image, denigration, and utter neglect, being largely substituted with exotic foods. Consequently, they have earned the unenviable appellations of “forgotten”, “neglected” or “orphan” foods due to the fact that they have received relatively little or no policy and research attention – especially towards their genetic improvement and value chain development.