The 29th International Horticultural Congress | Sustaining Lives, Livelihoods and Landscapes | 17-22 August 2014
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Promoting the Future of Indigenous Vegetables Worldwide

Sponsored by the ISHS Section Vegetables, Working Group Underutilized Plants and the Commission Plant Genetic Resources

Photo showing Dr Mereseini Seniloli of SPC with a “rarely” flowering and fruiting plant of slippery cabbage (known regionally also as aibika, bele, pele) (Abelmoschus manihot) (photo credit AVRDC).

The International Symposium on Indigenous Vegetables will be held in Brisbane, Australia as part of the International Horticultural Congress 17-22 August 2014 (IHC2014).

There is an urgent global need to increase agricultural systems diversification in order to improve human nutrition through better balanced diets and to achieve more resilient, profitable and sustainable small-holder production and marketing systems. Indigenous vegetables are in many cases highly nutrient-dense - both in vitamins and minerals. Thus they are powerful tools in the present battle against malnutrition and non-communicable diseases worldwide and especially in the Pacific Island communities and other locations in Africa and Asia where poor current dietary choices have led to critically high human health costs to society. In addition, owing to the comparative lack of research to date on their improvement throughout all aspects of the value chain from field to fork, investment in this area can bring much higher rates of return than in conventional staples.

We are expecting many professional germplasm specialists, breeders, agronomists, post-harvest specialists, agricultural economists, home economists and human nutritional specialists to attend this symposium. These will be drawn globally where indigenous vegetables are presently a focus of agricultural research and development attention, particularly from the Oceania-region and Pacific Island Institutions, from Australasia, from SE Asia, from South Asia, from sub-Saharan Africa, and from the Americas. They will include representatives of organizations such as SPC, the AIRCA Centers, the Diversity for Development Alliance, the CGIAR Centers, the Global Horticultural Initiative, the Horticultural CRSP universities and AVRDC – The World Vegetable Center. All other organizations are welcome to contribute, particularly those based in the Pacific.

The symposium will be held for three days, possibly including some joint sessions with the Symposium on Plant Genetic Resources for Climate Change. The symposium will begin with a keynote speech to highlight the role of indigenous vegetable for nutritional security and will make the case for the need of more investment in research and development. A total of four presentation sessions are planned in the areas of germplasm and seed systems, sustainable production, post-harvest and marketing, as well as nutrition and consumption. The symposium will be concluded with a round table discussion. With the presence of experts from different disciplines and sectors around the world, we would like to discuss and plan the best way forward on how to better mainstream indigenous vegetable, focus on which crops might best be promoted at the regional and global levels, and what are the key research gaps on which to be focused in the next decade.

Abstracts are invited on the following sessions:

  • Germplasm and seed systems
    Contributions on indigenous vegetable germplasm conservation, either ex situ or in situ, and characterization for further utilization are welcome. Papers highlighting selection from accessions which have resulted in lines with good yield and other desirable traits are encouraged. Studies detailing where seed quality, availability and lack of planting materials are issues and exemplars of how these problems have been overcome would be of wide interest.
  • Sustainable production for more resilient systems Many indigenous vegetables are said to be tolerant to biotic and abiotic stresses and that therefore they are good plant species to be included in various production systems to increase resilience against climate change, but are there successful examples? To promote the production of indigenous vegetables, cultural practices for crop, pest and soil management which are suitable for different agro-ecosystems need to be determined but has this been achieved?
  • Post-harvest and commercialization Indigenous vegetables can provide important cash income for smallholders. But from farm gate to market, what are the problems in post-harvest, processing and marketing? How can we link smallholders to markets? Are there valuable additional methods to be employed in better marketing strategies?
  • Nutrition and consumption Indigenous vegetables are often nutrient-dense. Have we fully understood their potential for helping to achieve nutritional security and are there any research results and case studies with hard data in this area? Nutritional goals can only be achieved when consumers are knowledgeable and ready to eat more indigenous vegetables. Contributions on promotional experiences of this type at community, country, regional and global levels are welcome.

Conveners

Dr. J.D.H. (Dyno) Keatinge is currently Director General of AVRDC. He is Visiting Professor of Tropical Agriculture at The University of Reading, UK. He has global expertise in crop agronomy and he has worked at a range of international agricultural research centers - ICARDA (Syria), IITA (Nigeria) and ICRISAT (India). Presently, he is Director General of AVRDC – The World Vegetable Center based in Chinese Taipei, vice-Chair of the Global Horticultural Initiative and on the Advisory Committee to the USAID HORT CRSP.

Dr Jaw-Fen Wang is Global Theme Leader for Production at AVRDC. She was appointed as Plant Pathologist by AVRDC – The World Vegetable Center in 1992. She studies vegetable diseases caused by plant pathogenic bacteria and fungi with global importance in collaboration with scientists in developing countries and advanced laboratories. Appointed as Global Theme Leader at AVRDC in 2008 she leads research with an emphasis on generating safer and sustainable vegetable production systems.

Keynote Speakers

The symposium will start with a keynote speech to highlight the role of indigenous vegetable for nutritional security and will make the case for the need of more investment on research and development. This will be delivered by Dr. Dyno Keatinge, Director General, AVRDC – The World Vegetable Center. Dr. Keatinge joined AVRDC in 2008. He is an agronomist with a Doctorate in Agriculture from Queen’s University, Belfast, Northern Ireland and is Visiting Professor of Tropical Agriculture at the University of Reading, UK. He has global expertise in crop agronomy having worked at ICARDA in Syria, Pakistan and Turkey, IITA in Nigeria and Cameroon and ICRISAT in India and several countries in sub-Saharan Africa. AVRDC has the most active research program on indigenous vegetable in the world. He will present the role of indigenous vegetable for nutritional security and set the scene for the symposium.

Keynote speaker for “Germplasm and seed systems” Dr. Mary Taylor, Taylor AgriConsult, Powys, UK.
Dr. Taylor, currently an independent consultant, has served for many years as the Genetic Resources/CePACT Manager of the Land and Resource Division of the Secretariat of the Pacific Community. She has extensive knowledge and experience on germplasm and seed systems of indigenous vegetable in the Pacific. The symposium would like to highlight the need on further utilizing indigenous vegetable in the Pacific to counteract the high non-communicable disease rate. Dr. Taylor’s presentation will consider the constraints on access to and availability of indigenous vegetable germplasm and how these can be overcome; case studies from the Pacific region will be discussed.

Keynote speaker for “Sustainable production for more resilient systems” Dr. Stephen C. Weller, Department of Horticulture and Landscape Architecture, Purdue University, USA.
Dr. Weller has extensive experience in international research, teaching and extension in pest management and cropping system development and training in Central America, Mexico, Ukraine, Uganda, China, Kenya, Zambia and Tanzania. He specializes in integrated crop and pest management production systems for vegetable crops, and is the lead U.S. PI for Honduras in the IPM CRSP-Central America. He is currently leading a project titled “Indigenous African Leafy Vegetables for Enhancing Livelihood Security of Smallholder Farmers in Kenya” as part of the USAID Horticulture CRSP Project. Dr. Weller will be presenting information on research and outreach activities related to the value-chain for African indigenous vegetables in Eastern Africa, especially on production technologies.

Keynote speaker for “Post-harvest and commercialization” Dr. Suzie Newman, NSW Department of Primary Industries, Central Coast Primary Industries Centre, Australia.
Dr. Newman has long experience in production and postharvest horticultural research, development and extension. She has led and collaborated on a number of international researches for development projects in South East Asia and Papua New Guinea. Dr. Newman is currently based in Hanoi, Vietnam managing two ACIAR (Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research) vegetable projects in Vietnam and Cambodia. She will present how to maximize the market potential of indigenous vegetables. Indigenous vegetable are perceived as novel, safe and nutritious with substantial health benefits. To exploit this commercial potential, farmers need to be able deliver a quality product to market. Current and future trends and the opportunities for small-holders to engage in this lucrative market will be presented using a Vietnamese indigenous vegetable value chain study as an example.

Keynote speaker for “Nutrition and consumption” Dr. Bruce Cogill, Nutrition and Marketing Diversity Programme, Bioversity International, Rome, Italy.
Dr. Cogill has an extensive experience in food and nutrition policy. He was Chief of Nutrition at USAID where he led the nutrition effort for the Feed the Future and the Global Health Initiative. He spearheaded the successful USAID projects titled “Food and Nutrition Technical Assistance Project (FANTA)” and “The A2Z Project on Micronutrient and Child Blindness” and USAID’s efforts in research and programming for nutrition and food security, HIV, micronutrients and in the community management of severe and moderate acute malnutrition. He has been coordinator for the UNICEF-led Global Nutrition Cluster and has worked with the Global Alliance for Improve Nutrition (GAIN) where he supported efforts to understand the role of nutrition and food to improve HIV infected individuals. He will share his view on linking local and indigenous vegetable to food and nutrition policy.

The symposium will be concluded with a round table discussion. With the presence of experts from different disciplines and sectors around the world, we would like to discuss and plan the best way forward on how to better mainstream indigenous vegetable, focus on which crops might best be promoted at the regional and global levels, and what are the key research gaps on which to be focused in the next decade. Dr. Jackie Hughes, Deputy Director General for Research at AVRDC will lead the discussion.

Scientific Committee

  • Dr. J.D.H. Keatinge (Chinese Taipei)
  • Dr Jaw-Fen Wang (Chinese Taipei)
  • Ms. Amanda Crump (USA)
  • Dr. Jacqueline Hughes (Chinese Taipei)
  • Dr. Danny Hunter (Australia)
  • Dr. Shakuntala Haraksingh Thilsted (Bangladesh)
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