African Neglected Crops can Unlock Economic Value

edible insects

What do Millets (Lebelebele), Fonio (acha or acca), Cowpeas, Quinoa, Amaranth (Bondwe), Marama Bean, and Cassava have in common? They are some of the many African foods which have been neglected, underutilized, and pushed into forgetfulness by the predominant crops.

What these neglected foods also have in common is their ability to adapt to a wide range of agro-climatic conditions while giving good performance even under marginal growing conditions.  

Straight from the farmer’s mouth – Dr Lizyben Chidamba talks oyster mushroom farming

Ready to harvest oyster mushrooms

Mushrooms are one of the most economical commodities that can be produced produced in an ecological and climate friendly way. Given their nutritional and medicinal value they hold the promise to play a key role in a green future, converting agricultural waste to food. Consequently, the commercial production of edible mushrooms has increased more than 30 times since 1978. Oyster mushrooms (Pleurotus spp.) account for about 14% of the world market share.

Frugal innovative backyard mushroom farming

Ndaka Mushrooms

With the prevailing chronic poverty, droughts, and high demand of nutritious food across the globe, NEPAD Southern Africa Network for Bioscience (SANBio) Namibia Student Ambassador, Abner Tomas has come up with an innovative and frugal way to grow mushrooms with the aim to create income generating opportunities for unemployed youth in Namibia.

Next Generation of Problem Solvers – Team Botswana SANBioLabHack 2018

PCR Machine

Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) education in Africa is challenged by shortages of laboratory equipment in teaching institutions. In South Africa, according to an online Fintech article, 86% of SA’s 23 589 public schools do not have science labs.

While these alarming statistics may apply to the SA context, sadly this problem is also found in every developing nation and Botswana is no exception.