Compendium of forgotten foods in Africa: A companion publication for Integrating Africa’s forgotten foods for better nutrition

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations has launched a new Compendium of forgotten foods in Africa which is a first-of-its-kind comprehensive collection of 100 African forgotten food crops. Also referred to as neglected, underutilized or orphan crops, these species offer valuable benefits, including nutrition and diet diversification, while supporting resilient, climate-smart agriculture but they are at risk of being lost as foods such as maize, rice and wheat dominate African diets. The compendium list includes details on each crop's botanical classification, agroecological suitability, agronomic requirements, traditional and medicinal uses, value-added prospects and nutritional content. Among the entries are: African locust beans, African nightshade, baobab, Bambara nut, bush mango, cassava, fonio, marula, moringa, teff and tigernut. Produced by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO)'s Regional Office for Africa with the Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa (FARA), the Compendium is a direct response to the UN Food Systems Summit and the Call for Collective Action in the Global Manifesto on Forgotten Foods. Embracing both agricultural heritage and innovation can transform agrifood systems across Africa. By cataloguing these forgotten or underutilized crops, traditional knowledge is being honoured in the push to unlock the potential for better nutrition, sustainable agriculture, and resilience against the climate crisis. In a joint foreword to the publication, FAO Assistant Director-General and Regional Representative for Africa Abebe Haile-Gabriel and FARA Executive Director Aggrey Agumya urged the mainstreaming of forgotten foods into African agrifood systems.