In search of the next big “super food”?

14/09/2014 at 3:44 pm 1 comment

One of the recurring securities of the “global development” sector is that, every so often, someone claims to have found the silver bullet.

Most recently, there are many that claim that Teff, a grain variety grown mainly in Ethiopia, is the new solution to global malnourishment:

See for example:
Before that, there were many that said that Quinoa, a grain from the Andes region, would revolutionise the world of food.
And let us not forget the Potato:
Or is it Sorghum that is the forgotten superfood?
Sorghum bran?
Or wait, was it buckwheat?

What do you think?

Is the search for a new superfood the answer to the global hunger problem?





Teff harvest


Quinoa harvest

Farmer in buckwheat field

Farmer in buckwheat field


Entry filed under: Livlihoods. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , .

Seeds in farmers’ hands: escaping poverty through diversity and local knowledge 2015 – The European Year of Development

1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. Maureen Coffey  |  29/09/2014 at 6:54 pm

    Any such superfood hype may lead to a dangerous spiral: monocultures rather than increased biodiversity! So far planting large plantations of “anything to the exclusion of anything else”, be it tea, cotton, tobacco, palm trees being the latest craze etc. generally leads to a sudden boom then eventually a slow and long-winded decline as the costs of fertilizing and pest management soar. Then comes the call for “GMOing” the “supercrop” and once the public has forgotten the last hype, a new one is presented. I think the way forward lies in closed-loop systems that can be planted with diverse species, both aquatic and plants, closer to the point of consumption and with little, if any, need for chemical pest control or antibiotics. So far, aquaponics seems to fit the bill, which is an adaptive, scalable technique, but is open to many species in combination rather than reliance on the “one” supercrop of the day.


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