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Crops For the Future (CFF): an overview of research efforts in the adoption of underutilised species

Gregory, Peter J.; Mayes, Sean; Hui, Chai Hui; Jahanshiri, Ebrahim; Julkifle, Advina; Kuppusamy, Giva; Kuan, Ho Wai; Lin, Tan Xin; Massawe, Festo; Suhairi, T. A. S. T. M.; Azam-Ali, Sayed N.


Peter J. Gregory

Associate Professor

Chai Hui Hui

Ebrahim Jahanshiri

Advina Julkifle

Giva Kuppusamy

Ho Wai Kuan

Tan Xin Lin

Festo Massawe

T. A. S. T. M. Suhairi

Sayed N. Azam-Ali


Main conclusion Crops For the Future (CFF), as an entity, has established a broad range of research activities to promote the improvement and adoption of currently underutilised crops. Abstract This paper summarises selected research activities at Crops For the Future (CFF) in pursuit of its mission 'to develop solutions for diversifying future agriculture using underutilised crops'. CFF is a research company focussed on the improvement of underutilised crops, so that they might be grown and consumed more widely with benefits to human food and nutritional security; its founding guarantors were the Government of Malaysia and the University of Nottingham. From its base in Malaysia, it engages in research around the world with a focus on species and system diversification. CFF has adopted a food system approach that adds value by delivering prototype food, feed and knowledge products. Bambara groundnut (Vigna subterranea) was adopted as an exemplar crop around which to develop CFF's food system approach with emphasis on the short-day photoperiod requirement for pod-filling and the hard-to-cook trait. Selective breeding has allowed the development of lines that are less susceptible to photoperiod but also provided a range of tools and approaches that are now being exploited in other crops such as winged bean (Psophocarpus tetragonolobus), amaranth (Amaranthus spp.), mor-inga (Moringa oleifera) and proso (Panicum miliaceum) and foxtail (Setaria italica) millets. CFF has developed and tested new food products and demonstrated that several crops can be used as feed for black soldier fly which can, in turn, be used to feed fish thereby reducing the need for fishmeal. Information about underutilised crops is widely dispersed; so, a major effort has been made to develop a knowledge base that can be interrogated and used to answer practical questions about potential exploitation of plant and nutritional characteristics. Future research will build on the success with Bambara groundnut and include topics such as urban agriculture, rural development and diversification, and the development of novel foods. CFF's remit and research objectives


Gregory, P. J., Mayes, S., Hui, C. H., Jahanshiri, E., Julkifle, A., Kuppusamy, G., …Azam-Ali, S. N. (2019). Crops For the Future (CFF): an overview of research efforts in the adoption of underutilised species. Planta, 250(3), 979-988.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Apr 30, 2019
Online Publication Date Jun 27, 2019
Publication Date Jun 27, 2019
Deposit Date Jul 5, 2019
Publicly Available Date Jul 9, 2019
Journal Planta
Print ISSN 0032-0935
Electronic ISSN 1432-2048
Publisher Springer Verlag
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 250
Issue 3
Pages 979-988
Keywords Plant Science; Genetics
Public URL
Publisher URL


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