Val D’Andorre farmers in project to save neglected, old and rare food crops


Senior sprinter Leeroy Henriette won the 100m and 200m races

The project, initiated by the Val D’Andorre Farmers’ Association and supported by the Ministry of Natural Resources and Industry, has received funding under the Global Environmental Funds (GEF), United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Small Grant Programme (GEF UNDP/SGP).
The project started in November last year after funding was received.

It includes among other activities establishing an inventory list of old, rare and neglected food crops, train members of the Val D’Andorre farmers and members of their families as well as other interested individuals in the community on how to research on these crops, build a nursery and engage farmers in planting and breeding seeds for propagation.

The coordinator of the project, senior agricultural extension officer Jose Guerrero, said so far the inventory and training has been completed and the nursery erected on land provided by the Ministry of Natural Resources and Industry and they have already collected a significant variety of the plants featuring on the inventory list.

Mr Guerrero pointed out that now their main focus is to continue collecting the rare plant samples.
“We are intensifying our effort during the holidays when younger members of the farmers’ families can help out with collecting the plants from different locations,” said Mr Guerrero.
He said although the project is a community initiative, its benefits will be national going beyond the Val D’Andorre community.

It is to be noted that a lack of awareness of these old food crops by consumers has created a poor demand on the market. The project will also support various initiatives to create awareness for conservation and interests in using and consuming these crops. 

Mr Guerrero said the Val D’Andorre farmers’ are calling on members of the public who have rare plants or crops to let them know so they can arrange to have samples collected.

“At the end of the project we hope to see more interest from consumers in the old and rare food crops. We want to see them being grown on farms and home gardens,” said Mr Guerrero.

Among these plants and crops are Spanish Tamarind (Vavang), Areal Yam (Ponm edwar), Surinam cherry (Rousay), Jambrossa (Zanbroza), Bilimbelle (Bilenbel), Yam (Kanbar).

Mr Guerrero said it is expected that the plant samples will be ready to be sold to the public by the International World Food Day in October. He noted that for now they will try to have some ready to take part in any forthcoming shows.