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Root and Tuber Crops: Re-Discovered and Re-Valued: A Cross-Site Perspective

Root and tuber crops (RTCs) are underground crops with only their leaves visibly acknowledging their existence to the outside world. We have always known RTCs as possessing some food value; can be grown easily in almost any type of agro-ecological setting within different types of cropping systems; can be relied upon to fill the need in times of food shortage; have some harvest-sharing and cultural significance. We also know, however, the perception of RTCs as "poor man's food," thus, not a preferred one. These are "facts of life" about RTCs in the past, so to speak. But in recent times, what functions do RTCs perform in providing livelihood and food security? Where there is an "overlap between RTC productionconsumption and poverty-food insecurity," do RTCs play a significant role in addressing the latter?

The Food Security through Asian Roots and Tubers (FoodSTART) project with funding from the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) is being implemented by the International Potato Center since 2011 to 2015 "to promote the role of root and tuber crops in building more diverse and sustainable agri-food systems toward ensuring food security among Asia-Pacific poor producers and consumers in the face of socio-economic and agro-environmental changes."

Vol. 12 No. 2, December 2015

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