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ASSESSING THE POTENTIAL OF AN UNDERUTILIZED CROP – A CASE STUDY USING BAMBARA GROUNDNUT

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  23 January 2002

S. N. Azam-Ali
Affiliation:
Tropical Crops Research Unit, University of Nottingham School of Biosciences, Sutton Bonington Campus, LE12 5RD, UK
A. Sesay
Affiliation:
Department of Biological Sciences, University of Swaziland, P/B4, Kwaluseni Campus, Swaziland
S. K. Karikari
Affiliation:
Department of Crop Science and Production, Botswana College of Agriculture, Private B. 0027, Gaborone, Botswana
F. J. Massawe
Affiliation:
Tropical Crops Research Unit, University of Nottingham School of Biosciences, Sutton Bonington Campus, LE12 5RD, UK
J. Aguilar-Manjarrez
Affiliation:
Information Management Specialist, WAICENT/FAOSTAT Data Management Branch (GILF), Library and Documentation Systems Division (GIL), General Affairs and Information Department (GI), Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), Rome, Italy
M. Bannayan
Affiliation:
Tropical Crops Research Unit, University of Nottingham School of Biosciences, Sutton Bonington Campus, LE12 5RD, UK Present address: School of Agriculture, Ferdowsi University of Mashad, PO Box 91775-1163, Iran
K. J. Hampson
Affiliation:
Tropical Crops Research Unit, University of Nottingham School of Biosciences, Sutton Bonington Campus, LE12 5RD, UK

Abstract

Using experience with bambara groundnut (Vigna subterranea), this paper examines how local knowledge, genetic evaluation, research in fields, glasshouses and laboratories, and crop simulation modelling might be linked within a methodological framework to assess rapidly the potential of any underutilized crop. The approach described is retrospective in that each activity was not clearly defined and structured at the outset. However, the experience gained may help to establish a methodology by which growers, researchers and international agencies can integrate their knowledge and understanding of any particular underutilized crop and apply similar principles to accelerate the acquisition of knowledge on other underutilized species. The use of a methodological framework provides a basis for activities that maximize knowledge, minimize duplication of effort, identify priority areas for further research and dissemination, and derive general principles for application across underutilized crops in general. It also allows policy makers and planners to make comparative decisions on the nutritional, economic and research importance of different underutilized and more-favoured species. In particular, the incorporation of a generic crop simulation model within the methodological framework may assist growers, extension agencies and scientists to refine general recommendations for any particular crop to local conditions. Also, the incorporation of information gathered from the field, laboratory or market can be used to update rapidly the predictive capacity of the model for each crop.

Type
Research Article
Copyright
© 2001 Cambridge University Press

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