Victoria Rose, M.A. Food Studies

Bioversity International, Italy

From November 2016-May 2017, I was a part-time intern for Bioversity International as a part of the Healthy diets from sustainable food systems initiative. Within this initiative, my work was related to the project “Linking agrobiodiversity value chains, climate adaptation and nutrition: Empowering the poor to manage risk”.  This project focuses on enhancing production, utilization, and commercialization of neglected and underutilized species (NUS) as a method to adapt agriculture to climate change and improve food security and nutrition, while also enhancing incomes in rural communities in three countries: Mali, India, and Guatemala. In each country, two NUS are being targeted for agronomic and market research. These NUS were identified as target crops based on research of traditional crops being used by the rural poor in these countries, and included the following: Bambara groundnut and fonio in Mali, kodo and kutki millets in India, and chaya ad tepary bean in Guatemala. In order to achieve the goals of this project, a holistic value chain approach is applied which involves inter-sectoral initiatives to enhance supply and demand through techniques such as enhanced seed quality, improved cultivation and processing practices, and targeted marketing and awareness raising about these crops, as well as changing cultural attitudes and beliefs towards cultivation and utilization of the crops.

My work for this project involved developing six briefs promoting each of the target crops. These briefs were to include information on the general features of each crop, nutrition value of each crop (including anti-nutrients), stages in processing and challenges (including possible nutrition loss at different stages), and traditional recipes incorporating each crop. I was also responsible for conducting a literature review on agronomic, economic, and nutritional properties of the crops, and constructing food composition tables for each crop. In addition, I transferred the information gathered from the briefs onto webpages on the NUS Community website, and designed separate webpages for each of the six target crops.