Food and Agriculture: Root Crops

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Tropical and subtropical countries have climatic conditions which are unfavourable for the production of wheat. These countries are therefore heavily dependent on wheat imports to provide staple food products for their populations (FAO; Byerlee, 1987 1-2). In 1960 the FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations) began a Composite Flour Programme aimed at empowering developing nations with the technology to improve their country’s food security. Composite flour is a mixture of flours from cereals and root tubers. Flour from ground legumes such as soya bean may also be added to increase the protein content of the composite flour. Wheat is often the cereal incorporated in the mixture but cereals such as maize, rice, buckwheat and millet can also be utilized (Popper, 2006). Root crops are the edible energy–rich underground plant structures developed from modified roots. While tuber crops are those crops in which the edible carbohydrate – rich storage organs develop wholly or partly from underground stems (Okigbo 1989). Root crops and tuber crops are important in Sub Saharan Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean. Some of the major root tubers crops grown are cassava, yams, sweet potatoes and taro (dasheen). Flour made from the root crops can be partially substituted for wheat flour in the production of bread, cakes and pastries (Arenillo et al, 2012; Mongi et al, 2011; Okorie and Onyeneke, 2012;Rangel et al, 2011; Njintang et al 2008). Colocasia esculenta (L.) originated in the tropical region that spans from India to Indonesia and is now widely grown in Africa, Asia, the Pacific Region and the Caribbean (Matthews 2004, 55-71). The root crop is commonly known as dashen in the Caribbean. It was originally bro... ... middle of paper ... ... 2013. Titus, Pathleen, and Bradley Georges. 2013. Caribbean Publication #15 - HQ/032/12 Policies and developmental initiatives required to strengthen the Roots and Tubers (RT) and Protected Agriculture (PA) Industries in the. Trinidad: CARDI. Assessed November 28, 2013. Tobago News. 2013. “Tobago Blue Food Festival 2013: Celebrating 15 Years.” The Tobago News, October 20. Accessed November 22, 2013. Popper, Lutz, ed. 2006. Future of Flour: A Compendium of Flour Improvement. Christchurch: AgriMedia. Assessed November 11, 2013.
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