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Encouraging effective research on Neglected and Underutilized Species.

Display Date: 1/17/14

There are thousands of species of plants that have been cultivated and harvested by humans throughout the history of agriculture but current production systems are dominated by a narrow selection of staple crops and commodities that have been the focus of research and development efforts since the Green Revolution. Increasingly, the potential for neglected and underutilized species (NUS) to improve livelihoods and resilience through diversification of production systems is recognized and researchers are being drawn to investigate these species for their potential in local and global markets.

Research on NUS can be challenging, however, as their value chains are often not well-established, requiring a holistic approach with multi-disciplinary and multi-stakeholder collaboration to improve their uptake. It is not clear if researchers are well supported in this type of work by their education, organizations and the policy environment, which tend to focus on the major crops and commodities. We invite researchers of NUS to join in a discussion on this topic.

Do you feel university programs effectively prepare researchers to carry out NUS and if not, what needs to be improved?
Do you feel that the policy environment is favorable to the research and development of NUS value chains and what changes would be necessary to favor this work?
How does your opportunity for funding compare to colleagues studying the major crops and commodities?
What are the main opportunities and constraints in NUS research?

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