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Abstract, Tropical and Subtropical Agroecosystems, 2003

Mucuna pruriens performs well as a green manure/cover crop (GMCC) but has been poorly adopted because it lacks – or is perceived to lack – uses as a food and feed. The latter perception has persisted despite its extensive utilization as a feed in the early 20th century and its consumption as a minor food crop in numerous countries in Africa and Asia. This paper briefly reviews research on the crop during the past 100 years and recounts the experiences of the 1980s and 1990s that inspired the current efforts to increase its utilization as a food and feed. The importance improving Mucuna’s potential as a food and feed was identified in a number of fora during the 1990s, including the GMCC Exploration Project of the Rockefeller Foundation. An April 2000 workshop “Mucuna as a Food and Feed: Current Uses and the Way Forward” led to the development of the project “Increasing Mucuna’s Potential as a Food and Feed” to which this workshop is marking an end.