Recover the ancient knowledge about native crops

This project propose to recover the ancient knowledge about native Andean and African crops as indigenous cereals, which would become crucial for helping people to eradicate hunger and poverty.

The objective is to start some commercially successful SMEs that will recover and preserve traditional knowledge about crops as sorghum, millets, native rice and others indigenous cereals to face the disasters of overpopulation. It could be the first step to establish SMEs to exploit market opportunities. In the last centuries, the world has been fed with three cereals: wheat, rice, and maize. These cereals will not satisfy the need of alimentation of the population during the next decades.

Recovering the knowledge about the traditional crops of the poorest countries could directly benefit the people in greatest need. The grains of Andes and Africa still retain much of the hardy, tolerant self-reliance of their wild savanna ancestors. Such resilient crops will be vital for extending cereal production onto the ever-more-marginal lands that will have to be pressed into service to feed the next generations and the areas where environmental stresses and plant diseases currently limit their growth. For these now-marginal lands, native grains offer outstanding promise to establish SMEs.

Wild cereals might be made into an everyday food source, a famine reserve, and perhaps even a specialty export crops. Moreover, consumers in developed countries are increasingly interested in buying and trying "exotic" cuisines. And many people of goodwill are highly motivated and eager to help avoid the horrendous tragedies of famine they have witnessed on their television screens in recent decades.

A good example to illustrate this explanation is Kreb, perhaps the most famous food of the Sahara. A complex of a dozen or more different wild grains, it was harvested from natural meadows. Its composition varied from place to place and probably from year to year, depending on the mix of grasses that grew.

"Kreb from the Sahara" might sell at premium prices in Europe, North Africa, and North America, for example. It would be seen as a gourmet food that provides income to nomads and protects the earth's most fragile lands from further destruction by keeping a cover of wild native grasses on them.

Resurrecting the production of Kreb could provide food, income, and perhaps a protection against famine. It might bring substantial environmental benefits as well. Many of the wild African grains come from perennial grasses that continuously cover the soil and protect it from water and wind erosion.

Beyond their direct use as cereals, wild grasses may also have international value as genetic resources. Some are related to species used elsewhere for food or fodder and are likely to have genes of international importance particularly because many of them have outstanding tolerance and resistance to heat, drought, drifting sand, and disease.

A SMEs Network will be acting as knowledge hubs in the target countries and partnerships with NGOs, women organizations, universities and local governments would improve the conservation of the domestication of native crops. All this information would be available online to allow people to generate new SMEs, which mainly manufacture products for local communities and also for the export market as gourmet products.

This project expects to contribute to the reduction of poverty, the eradication of hunger, the protection of the environment and the improvement of poor households.

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