Back to the Future – The Prospects of African Indigenous Crops as Future Foods
Incessant droughts caused by a rise in global temperatures and agricultural crop pests and diseases are some of the leading causes. Sub-Saharan Africa has the worst prevalence of hunger, and yet the continent is endowed with numerous indigenous crops that can potentially ameliorate the situation. This chapter explores both the nutraceutical aspects and the possible industrial uses of several of these crops. It shows that if value-added products are formulated, incentives offered for cultivation, or contract farming initiated, these crops could be revitalized. The chapter reviews the literature on the phytochemical, nutritional, and health benefits of some gluten-free crops indigenous to the global South, with a special focus on Bambara groundnut, finger millet, cassava, and quinoa. The decline in knowledge, cultivation, and consumption of indigenous crops in Southern Africa and many parts of the world has been widely reported.