Ensuring the food and nutritional demand of the ever-growing human population is a major sustainability challenge for humanity in this Anthropocene. The cultivation of climate resilient, adaptive and underutilized wild crops along with modern crop varieties is proposed as an innovative strategy for managing future agricultural production under the changing environmental conditions. Such underutilized and neglected wild crops have been recently projected by the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations as ‘future smart crops’ as they are not only hardy, and resilient to changing climatic conditions, but also rich in nutrients. They need only minimal care and input, and therefore, they can be easily grown in degraded and nutrient-poor soil also. Moreover, they can be used for improving the adaptive traits of modern crops. The contribution of such neglected, and underutilized crops and their wild relatives to global food production is estimated to be around 115–120 billion US$ per annum. Therefore, the exploitation of such lesser utilized and yet to be used wild crops is highly significant for climate resilient agriculture and thereby providing a good quality of life to one and all. Here we provide four steps, namely: (i) exploring the unexplored, (ii) refining the unrefined traits, (iii) cultivating the uncultivated, and (iv) popularizing the unpopular for the sustainable utilization of such wild crops as a resilient strategy for ensuring food and nutritional security and also urge the timely adoption of suitable frameworks for the large-scale exploitation of such wild species for achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals.
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