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Sustainability 2016, 8(4), 302;

Opportunities for Underutilised Crops in Southern Africa’s Post–2015 Development Agenda

Crop Science, School of Agricultural, Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of KwaZulu–Natal, Private Bag X01, Scottsville 3209, Pietermaritzburg, South Africa
Crops For the Future (CFF), Jalan Broga, 43500 Semenyih, Selangor, Malaysia
Centre for Coordination of Agricultural Research and Development for Southern Africa (CCARDESA), Gaborone 00357, Botswana
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Kevin Murphy
Received: 15 February 2016 / Revised: 15 March 2016 / Accepted: 21 March 2016 / Published: 25 March 2016
(This article belongs to the Section Sustainable Agriculture, Food and Wildlife)
Full-Text   |   PDF [223 KB, uploaded 25 March 2016]


Underutilised crops represent an important component of Southern Africa’s agro–biodiversity that has potential to contribute to the region’s post–2015 development discourse. We reviewed the potential of underutilised crops with respect to how they can contribute to topical challenges, such as food and nutrition security, human health and well–being, climate change adaptation, the environment, and employment creation in poor rural communities. The fact that underutilised crops are the product of generations of landrace agriculture supports the idea that they are resilient and adapted to the needs of farmers in marginal agricultural environments. In addition, underutilised crops are also seen as offering economic advantages due to their uniqueness, suitability to environments in which they are grown and low input requirements. In certain cases, underutilised crops are associated with specific gender roles with women being seen as particularly significant in their production. Evidence also suggests that the inclusion of underutilised crops in cropping systems contributes to dietary diversity and improved nutrition. In the context of the post–2015 agenda, the potential of underutilised crops to generate income, address food security and their status as a “subset of biodiversity” links with a number of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) addressing social, economic and environmental issues. View Full-Text
Keywords: agro-biodiversity; food and nutrition security; resilience; sustainability; underutilised crops agro-biodiversity; food and nutrition security; resilience; sustainability; underutilised crops
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).

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Mabhaudhi, T.; O’Reilly, P.; Walker, S.; Mwale, S. Opportunities for Underutilised Crops in Southern Africa’s Post–2015 Development Agenda. Sustainability 2016, 8, 302.

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