Sustainable Food Science: A Comprehensive Aproach – Orphan Crops: Their Role in Food and Nutrition Security

Elsevier, Reference Module in Food Science, 2023
Zerihun Tadele

The term “orphan” refers to the neglect of the crop by the international research community. Orphan crops are also known as abandoned-, disadvantaged-, lost-, niche-, underutilized-crops, and several other names. Like major crops such as maize, wheat and rice, orphan crops belong to cereals, legumes, vegetables, root and tuber, and fruits. Orphan crops possess desirable agronomical, nutritional, and health-related properties, which makes them favorable crops by both farmers and consumers. The ability of orphan crops to grow under extreme environmental conditions indicates their prospect in the changing climate. Orphan crops are also excellent source of human nutrition. However, due to little scientific improvement, orphan crops produce inferior yield in terms of both the quantity and quality. The recent initiatives and successes by some researchers and institutions at the national and global level has advanced the improvement of few orphan crops. Future research and development on orphan crops require the partnership at the national, regional, and internal level by involving key stakeholders.