A new international organisation dedicated to neglected and underutilised crops will be announced on Sunday 30 November 2008 at the Annual General Meeting of the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research in Maputo, Mozambique.
‘Crops for the Future’ has evolved from a union of the International Centre for Underutilised Crops (ICUC) and the Global Facilitation Unit for Underutilized Species (GFU). It will be hosted in Malaysia by Bioversity International in a joint venture with the University of Nottingham, Malaysia Campus.
Over half of humanity’s food comes from only three crops — rice, wheat and maize. Thousands of others are also important, but overlooked, as sources of nutrition, food, animal feed, medicines and other resources. Hannah Jaenicke, Interim Global Coordinator of Crops for the Future, said: “In times of changing climates, and economic and social upheavals, it is essential that we promote diversity. These underutilised or orphan crops are vital to support poor peoples’ coping strategies and to encourage sustainability.”
Emile Frison, Director General of Bioversity International said: “Bioversity International has been working on neglected and underutilized species for many years. I am delighted that by hosting and supporting Crops for the Future, we will strengthen the global commitment to the use of a wide range of agricultural biodiversity.”
Sayed Azam-Ali, Professor of Tropical Agronomy and Vice-President (Research) at The University of Nottingham Malaysia Campus said: “This partnership has enormous significance for the future of underutilised crops. I am delighted that we can use our excellent facilities and expertise to help carry out studies on a wide range of potentially important crops.”
Crops for the Future will support, collect, synthesize and promote knowledge on neglected and underutilised species for the benefit of the poor and the environment. It will do so by complementing and strengthening the efforts of other players active in international agricultural research and development.
The new organization is expected to start operating early in the new year.
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Notes to editors
The University of Nottingham is ranked in the UK's Top 10 and the World's Top 100 universities by the Shanghai Jiao Tong (SJTU) and Times Higher (THES) World University Rankings.
It provides innovative and top quality teaching, undertakes world-changing research, and attracts talented staff and students from 150 nations. Described by The Times as Britain's "only truly global university", it has invested continuously in award-winning campuses in the United Kingdom, China and Malaysia. Twice since 2003 its research and teaching academics have won Nobel Prizes. The University has won the Queen's Award for Enterprise in both 2006 (International Trade) and 2007 (Innovation — School of Pharmacy), and was named Entrepreneurial University of the Year at the Times Higher Education Awards 2008.
Its students are much in demand from 'blue-chip' employers. Winners of Students in Free Enterprise for four years in succession, and current holder of UK Graduate of the Year, they are accomplished artists, scientists, engineers, entrepreneurs, innovators and fundraisers. Nottingham graduates consistently excel in business, the media, the arts and sport. Undergraduate and postgraduate degree completion rates are amongst the highest in the United Kingdom.
Bioversity International, part of the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research, is the world’s largest organization dedicated to researching the use of agricultural biodiversity to improve the lives of poor people.
More information is available from Professor Sayed Azam-Ali +6 (03) 8924 8306, firstname.lastname@example.org or Dr Jeremy Cherfas , CGIAR, +39 06 6118 234, email@example.com, or Dr Hannah Jaenicke , CGIAR, +94 777 418471, firstname.lastname@example.org.