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  • The war in Ukraine highlights the dangers of reliance on a few foodstuffs sold around the world.
  • To feed the world in the face of global turmoil, scientists have identified potential food alternatives.
  • Finger millet, fonio, and false bananas are some of the foods we may find on our plates by 2050.

The war in Ukraine disrupted agriculture and food supplies from a country sometimes called breadbasket of Europe. But the conflict has also drawn attention to the need to find alternatives to food sold around the world, which was already under threat from climate change and population growth.

Two billion people in the world are currently suffering from malnutrition, and by 2050, according to some estimates, we will need 60% more food to feed the world’s population. in poverty, and already accounts for 70% of global water use and 30% of global greenhouse gas emissions.

New technologies could help our food systems become more sustainable and efficient, but unfortunately the agricultural sector has lagged behind other sectors in terms of technology adoption.

Launched in 2018, the Forum’s Innovation with a Purpose Platform is a large-scale partnership that promotes new technologies and other innovations to transform the way food is produced, distributed and consumed.

Through research, increased investment in new agricultural technologies, and the integration of local and regional food security initiatives, the platform works with more than 50 partner institutions and 1,000 leaders around the world to harness new technologies to make our food systems more sustainable. inclusive and efficient.


learn more about innovation with purpose and contact us to find out how you can get involved.

FROM 90% of the calories consumed by people in the world come from just 15 crops.Is it time to rethink what we eat? Just three grains—rice, corn, and wheat—provide two-thirds of calories and are the staple food for more than four billion people.

So, scientists from the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew in the UK, came up with some more radical alternatives that could help feed our world in turbulent times. Here are seven foods we all might be eating by 2050.

1. Pandanus

Pandanus surrounded by green leaves.

Could pandanus be the food of the future?

Image: Wikimedia/Anton Kroos

Like many of the foods on this list, the leaves and fruits of the pandanus tree, which grows around the Pacific Ocean, are already used by chefs throughout Southeast Asia. Its leaves are used in sweet and savory dishes, and its pineapple-like fruit can be eaten raw or cooked.

It is a climate-resistant and nutritious product. it’s also delicious,” Kew’s Dr Maribel Soto Gomez told the BBC. added.

2. Morama beans

Morama beans growing in the grass.

Morama beans are already grown commercially.

Image: Wikimedia

There are almost 23,000 types of beans included in Kew’s verified global legume watchlist. The list includes chickpeas, lentils, soybeans, and peanuts, as well as some lesser-known types such as morama, which is drought-resistant.

Also known as Marama, Camel and Gemsbuck In the south of Africa, this is the main food product in some parts of Botswan, Namibia and South Africa. The beans are boiled with corn flour or grinded for cooking porridge or drink similar to cocoa. Commercially grown in Australia and the USA.

3. Fonio

Four grains of fonio.

Fonio grains are one of the oldest cereals in the world.

Image: RBG Q

Over 9,000 species of herbs have been recorded, but only 35 of them were grown as cereals worldwide., according to the USDA. Fonio is one of the oldest cultivated cereals. dates back to 5000 BC.according to some estimates.

A staple food in the drier parts of West Africa and one of the Five “products of the future” Q‘, fonio is a fast growing cereal rich in iron, calcium and several essential amino acids. Its small grains are used to make porridge, couscous and drinks.

4. False bananas

Two bananas and 3 false bananas on the ground.

Fake bananas (right) could feed 100 million people.

Image: RBG Q

Enset or “false banana” is a relative of the banana, which is known as “a tree against hunger”, according to Kew, feeding 20 million people across Ethiopia – more than a sixth of the population. If it were planted more widely across Africa, it could feed 100 million people.

Although enset looks like a tree, it is actually a giant grass. It not only provides food, but is also the starting material for weaving. Enset is also very resilient, tolerating drought better than many other staple foods, and scientists say 60 plants can feed a family of five for a year.

5. Lablab

Lablancian plant growing in the garden.

Lablab beans contain almost 25% protein.

Image: RBG Q

Lablab, also known as hyacinth, is grown as an ornamental plant in cooler climates, but is grown for food in Africa and India, where it has been cultivated since at least 2500 BC. Its leaves are a rich source of protein and iron and are also used as animal feed.

Beans are almost 25% protein and can be used to make tofu. Plant experts at Kew say that as temperatures rise, lablab can be grown more widely around the world, and they are working to develop a commercial version of the plant.

6. Wheat millet

Finger millet.

Finger millet can help prevent diabetes.

Image: Wikimedia

One of 29 Wild Relatives of Established Cereals being studied by the Kew team to assess their potential to feed the world, finger millet, so named because of the shape of its seed headsalready set as major culture in india.

According to scientists, it is rich in calcium and dietary fiber and helps prevent diabetes. Known as ragi in India, this grain is believed to have originated in Africa and spread to Asia in prehistoric times. Like other types of millet, it is resistant to pests and grows well in tropical and semi-arid conditions.

7. Oka and Mashua

OCA and MASHUA on a brown surface.

Could oca and mashua be tomorrow’s potato replacement?

Image: RBG Q

Although they were first cultivated by the Incas in Peru as early as 8000 B.C. potatoes now eaten in at least 161 countries worldwide. When it comes to finding sustainable alternatives, the Kew team is optimistic about two tubers – mashua and oka.

Like potatoes, both plants come from the Andes, but unlike potatoes, they are not susceptible to late blight, which can destroy entire crops. Oka has a firm texture with a lemon flavor, while mashua has a peppery flavor.

Kew experts have over 7,000 edible plants in their database, and while all seven of these plants could be the food of the future, there are many more that could help feed the world as climate change and political turmoil make our current staples tougher. . find.


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