Crop diversity in the field and on the plate has enormous benefits not only for farmers in the South, but also for consumers and the planet. According to experts, there are about 5,000 potential food crops worldwide that are referred to as neglected and underutilized species (NUS). These generally thrive in their natural environment. Therefore, they are better adapted to local conditions and require less external inputs than conventional varieties.

The brochure «Agrobiodiversity on a Plate» shows how important crop diversity is: it enriches our food, preserves our agriculture and makes us more resilient to climate change.

Better quality with agroecology

The 54-year-old farmer and widow Zainabu Bakari Namituli from Mbuo, Tanzania, used to use chemical pesticides against pests. Today, thanks to agroecological training provided by SWISSAID, the mother of four children is able to recognize pests and diseases on her crops and produce a biopesticide herself. She now produces her food using only agroecological methods. The result: «The products taste much better than before», she says happily.

Her newly acquired knowledge has also increased the value of her products: «I now know when to grow cassava, okra, maize, nibeb, rice and bambara peas, and I am confident that I can sell my produce on the market», says the farmer, who has been involved in SWISSAID projects for six years. With the money she earns from selling at the market, she can finance her son’s school fees.

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Zainabu Bakari Namituli, Tansania

Farmer Zainabu Bakari Namituli from Mbuo, Tanzania, no longer uses chemical fertilizers. She is completely committed to agroecology.

Delicious superfood recipes

Zainabu Bakari Namituli has been growing Bambara nuts for over 40 years, mainly for her own consumption. Only when she has a surplus does she bring the legumes to market. She is aware of their nutritional benefits: «Bambara nuts are a complete meal. I don’t have to cook anything else; they are so nutritious.»

Bambara nuts are considered a so-called superfood. These are foods that contain particularly high levels of vitamins, minerals or even secondary plant compounds. In the brochure, we present four other superfoods that are grown and consumed in the SWISSAID project countries: Red Millet, Fonio, Amaranth and Moringa. They are complemented by delicious recipes.

Agrobiodiversity is an important component of Agroecology. It is the ideal approach to make our food system more sustainable and resilient. Agroecological farming methods guarantee future generations an adequate and varied diet for a healthy, dignified and self-determined life without hunger.

Cookbook from «I am Organic»

The non-profit SWISSAID partner company «I Am Organic» in Dar es Salaam is dedicated to educating people about the conscious use of food and is committed to protecting biodiversity and fighting poverty. «I Am Organic» has also developed a cookbook with delicious recipes based on local NUS. The publication of this cookbook fits perfectly with CROPS4HD’s mission to promote NUS on the plates of consumers and, more generally, to improve food security and nutrition in Tanzania. A digital version of the cookbook can be found here.