8 − ASIAN SEED 39 Future Smart Food Crops Pitched for Eight Asian Countries The UN's Food and Agriculture Organiza- tion (FAO) counts some 30,000 edible species worldwide, but aston- ishingly, 90 percent of human caloric intake comes from just 103 crops. Meanwhile, an estimated. 490 million people in the Asia-Pacif- ic region suffer chronic hunger, accounting for 62 percent of the world's undernourished people. Addressing this chal- lenge head on, the FAO's Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific (RAP) is actively pro- moting the cultivation of neglected and under-uti- lized species (NUS) via its Future Smart Food Initiative (FSF). Initiated in 2016, the pro- ject focuses on 39 crops in Bangladesh, Bhutan, Cambodia, Lao PDR, My- anmar, Nepal, Vietnam, and India’s West Bengal. "These foods are smart because they bolster di- etary diversification; im- prove micro-nutrient in- take; enhance soil health; require fewer inputs such as chemical fertilizers – and often prove resilient to climate change and adverse farming condi- tions," according to the FAO RAP's Senior Policy Officer and Regional Initiative Zero Hunger Challenge Delivery Man- ager Xuan Li. APSA recently visited the FAO RAP office in Bangkok to discuss potential collaboration on the project. "The objectives of the FSF initiative are very much in line with our own," said Dr. May Chodchoey, APSA Dep- uty Director. "Owing to the impact of climate change on agriculture, farmers in our region face an increasing number of challenges that require unique solutions. Staple field and horticulture crops will continue to be im- portant for the seed in- dustry, but we also see urgent need for crop diversification, and the FSF initiative addresses this need by promoting production and trade of other crops with high economic and nutrition- al potential.” The 39 crops already on the FSF list are only a beginning; the list will grow as more crops pass the rigid methodol- ogy set-out for evalua- tion and selection. More about the FSF Ini- tiative are featured in the FAO publication, Future Smart Food: Rediscover- ing Hidden Treasures of Neglected and Underuti- lized Species for Zero Hunger in Asia. For more information, see www. fao.org/publications Potential Future Smart Food crops shortlisted in eight countries in South and Southeast Asia, Report Highlights Asian Veg Trade Domination 2016 Vegetable Movements: Asia © Rabobank 2018. Use, reproduction subject to consent. ive of the top six fresh vege- table-producing countries last year were in Asia, a report by Rabo- bank Research highlights. China, India, Vietnam, Turkey and Iran ranked 1, 2, 4, 5 and 6 in share of total volume of global production, which was just over one billion tonnes of vegetables, not counting potatoes, preserved and frozen vegetables, or melons. The United States was the third top producer, while Russia, Egypt, Mexico and Spain ranked 7, 8, 9 and 10, respectively. These 10 countries constituted 83% of global pro- duction, with the five aforementioned Asian countries representing more than 74% of global production, dominated by China, who churned out 53% of the total volume, up from 49% a decade ago. India’s share of pro- duction was 14.5%, up from nearly 11%; Vietnam’s share rose significantly, from less than 1% to nearly 3%; Turkey’s share remained flat at 2% while Iran had a slight decrease, accounting for about 1% of global production. The report notes that while only 5% of vege- tables grown are traded internationally, this share is increasing due to a number of factors, in- cluding improved market access, climate, water availability, production costs, exchange rates, and trade agreements. China excelled as the world’s top supplier, with its exports in 2016 ex- ceeding $9 billion – 37% more than world number 2, Mexico. Australia, which was the world’s seventh top exporter, supplied other countries (mostly India and China) with some $1.63 billion worth of veggies – six times more than it had a decade prior ($280mn). For full map, report, and data, please visit rabobank.com F