For more than a decade Bioversity International has been working to empower the rural poor by strengthening income opportunities, nutritional security and local identitiy through the improved use and marketing of neglected and underutilized species. The IFAD-NUS project has worked to enhance the important role that neglected and underutilized species play in sustaining the livelihoods of poor farmers living in difficult agro-ecological niches and marginal lands, where these crops are particularly adapted.
This IFAD-funded effort was the first UN-supported and truly global initiative to promote neglected and underutilized species. It has contributed to raising the visibility of neglected and underutilized species and awareness of their need for enhanced use and research and development attention. The project has also created an unprecedented opportunity for cross-regional exchange of experience, thanks to the diverse range of partners involved (from the Andean region to South Asia) and to the multi-stakeholder participation in the project (scientists, NGOs, universities, research organizations, regional networks, farmers' associations, women's associations and private companies).
This ongoing project has taken place in four phases. Phases I and II developed and tested a holistic value chain approach for development of neglected and underutilized species to achieve conservation and livelihood benefits. Phases III and IV have focused on the role of on-farm conservation and neglected and underutilized species in climate change adaptation. More information on these project phases is available in the following pages: