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Monday October 7, 2013 MYT 12:00:00 AM
Monday October 7, 2013 MYT 3:26:01 PM
by natalie heng
SCAN the supermarket isles and consumers appear to be faced with endless choices.
Now, take another look. How much of this variety is really just different versions of the same plant? Pasta, bread, crackers, flour, cereals, cakes, noodles, couscous and beer, for example, are all the products of wheat. For much of the world, dietary diversity is an illusion. Most of our arable land is coming to be dominated by an increasingly narrow range of crops.
Maize, wheat and rice are the superstars of agriculture. Together, they account for 60% of the world’s calorie intake.
But there was a time, within the last 10,000 years, when man made use of 30,000 plants, 7,000 of which were crops.
Cast the net a bit wider, and today it’s still only 120 species of plants that supply 90% of our diet — down from the 7,000 above.
The Crops For The Future Research Centre aims to investigate and, where appropriate, elevate the status of a variety of underutilised fruits and vegetables in our diet. Some examples follow:
> Asam gelugur (Garcinia atroviridis)
> Belimbing buluh (Averrhoa bilimbi)
> Cerapu (Carcinia prainiana King)
> Ceri Terengganu (Lepisanthes fruticosa)
> Kedondong aka golden apple (Spondias
> Kemunting (Rhodomyrtus tomentosa)
> Kundang (Couea macrophylla)
> Salak (Salacca zalacca)
> Sentul (Sandoricum macropodum)
> Sukun aka breadfruit (Articarpus altilis)
> Rambai (Baccaurea motleyana)
> Beluntas (Pluchea indica)
> Beremi laut (Portulaca spp.)
> Gandarusa (Justicia gendarussa)
> Gajus merah (Anacardium occidentale)
> Kemoyang (Homalomena sagittifolia)
> Mengkudu (Morinda citrifolia)
> Mata itik (Ardisia crenata)
> Peria pantai (Colubrina asiatica)
> Tenggek burung (Evodia ridleyi)
> Sabung nyawa (Gynura procumbens)
> Salam (Eudenia polyantha)
Back to our roots in crop cultivation
New millennium, new challenges
Unsung heroes of the plant world
We are what we eat
Making optimum use of the land
Tags / Keywords:
Lifestyle, Science & Technology, Crops for the Future, underutilised crops
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