VIDEO : Going forward by going back – 15 indigenous crops feeding the world | Food Tank
Potatoes may seem fairly humble, but there are more than 4,500 species of potato in the world. Likewise, there are at least 1,000 pepper plant varieties, 7,500 tomato species, and 7,500 known apple varieties worldwide.
However, the incredible variety of the planet’s plant life is disappearing. The U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) reports that approximately 75 percent of the Earth’s plant genetic resources are now extinct. Another third of plant biodiversity is expected to disappear by 2050. This is no small problem—humans eat biological diversity.
Unfortunately, most investment in agriculture is for crops such as wheat, rice, and maize, rather than more nutritious foods—and this focus has had devastating consequences. Global obesity rates have doubled over the last 30 years, increasing the risk of diet-related illnesses including diabetes, hypertension, and heart disease in industrialized and developing countries alike.
But many indigenous crops can be environmentally sustainable, improve food security, help prevent malnutrition, and increase incomes.