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MAINSTREAMING THE CULTURAL PRACTICES & POSTHARVEST HANDLING OF NEGLECTED CROPS IN NIGERIA

PREFACE
The world population is expected to increase by about 50% by the year 2030, according to World TFood. The implication is that production mustdouble to feed the world population in the nearest future. Many countries in Africa are vulnerable to food shortages, which they augment by imports of staple food crops such as rice, maize, and wheat from the West. The massive food imports – have caused a sharp decrease in the cultivation of our indigenous crops over the last decade despite their superior nutritional qualities. Data from the global hunger index (GHI) showed that there is acute hunger in Nigeria. Thus, critical effort must focus on the development of indigenous foods for combating hunger in the country.

One of the most essential steps in actualizing the dream of feeding the ever-increasing population in Nigeria is to create awareness for the neglected but important crops leveraging their nutritional benefit, low production-input requirements, and high adaptability in poor soils. But efforts to compile and profile these categories of crops are limited, undermining their utility. Documenting the cultural practices of the neglected crops offer scope for bridging the present information gaps in agronomic and post-harvest handling and storage practices.

This study is one of those efforts aimed at providing detailed best practices and evaluating the research gaps in the post-harvest value chain of selected neglected crops. Such information should stimulate research seeking to mainstream the crops into the research projects, improve their commercialization and utilization as foods in the rural and urban communities, and raw materials for some of the industries in Nigeria. NSPRI systematically compiled vital data on the production, postharvest handling, utilization, and challenges of sixteen (16) selected neglected crops across Nigeria in this technical report. This document, therefore, gives valuable information to anyone intending to have basic knowledge on the crops. At the same time, it also provides researchers in different fields of agriculture with necessary data for research.

The report offers insights to stakeholders within and outside Nigeria on the range and spread of critical minor crops. It is a helpful piece for creating the needed awareness and spur people to make these crops part of their regular meals to ensure food and nutrition security.

Dr. P. O. Pessu
Executive Director/CEO
Nigerian Stored Products Research Institute
Km 3 Asa Dam Road, PMB 1489, Ilorin
February, 2022

 

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