Potential of underutilized traditional vegetables and legume crops to contribute to food and nutritional security, income and more sustainable production systems

Agriculture is under pressure to produce greater quantities of food, feed and biofuel on limited land resources. Current over-reliance on a handful of major staple crops has inherent agronomic, ecological, nutritional and economic risks and is probably unsustainable in the long run. Wider use of today’s underutilized minor crops provides more options to build temporal and spatial heterogeneity into uniform cropping systems and will enhance resilience to both biotic and abiotic stress. Many traditional vegetables and underutilized legume crops are an essential source of vitamins, micronutrients and protein and, thus, a valuable component to attain nutritional security.