To reap the benefits of neglected and underutilized species (NUS) for nutrition, food security and income, African nations need qualified staff in research, development and business. But higher agricultural education in Africa, which develops human capacity for the sector, tends to pay little attention to NUS currently. Curriculum review is hence an important strategy for bringing NUS crops, trees and animals into wider use.
Under the leadership of the African Network for Agriculture, Agroforestry and Natural Resources Education (ANAFE), the project is publishing a 'Curriculum Guide on Neglected and Underutilized Species: combatting hunger and malnutrition with novel species'. The Guide, due in mid-2016, is the results of an international workshop in Nairobi, Kenya on 22-24 September 2015. The Guide is a tool for introducing NUS into higher education curricula from vocational to master's level. Modules on fruits and nuts, vegetables, rodents, and insects are presented.
Students of agriculture and related disciplines in social and biophysical sciences will learn what these species are, how they are used and how they can make a difference in the fight against poverty, hunger and malnutrition. They will learn how such species can form profitable value chains and be a business opportunity for graduates.
Secondary schools in Benin often use plant species as examples in the teaching aspects of biology, such as nutrition, reproductive biology and health. Neglected and underutilized species (NUS) could replace the generally unknown exotic plants currently cited by the teachers.
Working with biology teachers from the different agro-ecological zones of Benin, the project staff of LAAPT, a laboratory at the University D’Abomey-Calavi, identified eleven learning situations in biology curricula where NUS species could be used. A report with the recommendations has been published and is now being promoted.
The introduction of NUS in curricula of secondary, and even primary schools across Benin will raise awareness in both rural and urban areas, making crops such as Bambara groundnut and amaranth more popular. The report from this initiative can also serve as model for other African countries.
Download the report here. (3.5 MB)
To accompany the curriculum guide, the project partners will publish a set of learning case studies that teachers can use to implement the new curricula. Four case studies are planned for on-line publishing in late 2016:
Project target species:
Other species that demonstrate how NUS products can access international markets: