Tapping the Potential of Neglected and Underutilized Food Crops for Sustainable Nutrition Security
About 1 billion people are currently suffering from chronic hunger, malnutrition, and vitamin A deficiency, while it is predicted that world food production needs to increase by 70% by 2050 to satisfy 9.9 billion predicted population in the world, relying on a natural resource base that is reaching its limits and with climate change adding further pressures on agriculture and acting as the main driver of crop diversity loss.
Neglected and underutilized food crops (NUFCs) have high nutritional value, but their role in achieving nutrition security is not adequately understood, and they do not feature in food and nutrition policies and programs.
Neglected and underutilized crops are important not only for their significant contribution to human nutrition, but also because they have been a source for traditional medicine for a long time. Nowadays, these plants also play a crucial role in modern medicine, thanks to the growing interest of many pharmaceutical laboratories. Although bambara groundnut has not yet been the subject of any consistent pharmacological studies, ethno-botanical analysis has clearly demonstrated its contribution to people's health in many African countries. Various parts of the plant, including the seeds, leaves, and roots, have been used to cure many diseases. However, in most of cases, the seed's flour is the resource used. Seeds are currently used to treat polymenorrhea, diarrhea, anemia, ulcers, and cataracts. Seed flour has also been used as a nutritional component in many countries of Africa.