60% of Africa's food is based on wheat, rice and maize, the continent's crop treasure trove is being neglected

Published Jan 15, 2024

Tridge summary

African countries rely heavily on a small number of food items, leading to a lack of diverse food sources and increased food insecurity, worsened by the impacts of climate change and the COVID-19 pandemic. Historically, Africa had thousands of edible plant species, many of which are now neglected and underutilized, but could be grown to end hunger in Africa and empower smallholder farmers, particularly women. By mainstreaming these crops, African countries could achieve a more socially just agrifood system and celebrate their heritage, providing a solution to food insecurity, poverty, and inequality on the continent.
Disclaimer: The above summary was generated by a state-of-the-art LLM model and is intended for informational purposes only. It is recommended that readers refer to the original article for more context.

Original content

(MENAFN- The Conversation) African countries have become reliant on a few food items. Just 20 plant species now provide 90% of our food , with three – wheat, maize and rice – accounting for 60% of all calories consumed on the continent and globally. This deprives the continent of diverse food sources, at the very time when research has found massive food and nutrition insecurity in Africa. By 2020, about 20% of the continent's population (281.6 million) faced hunger . This figure is likely to have increased, given the impacts of successive droughts, floods and COVID-19 . Yet historically, Africa had 30,000 edible plant species, and 7,000 were traditionally cultivated or foraged for food . The continent is a treasure trove of agrobiodiversity (a diversity of types of crops and animals) and its countries could easily feed themselves. As society and agriculture evolved, many foods that defined diets and sense of self on the continent were lost. Many of these now occupy the status of ...
Source: Menafn
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