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Root crops is a general term commonly used for a wide variety of food plants that have an underground storage organ known as a root, tuber (rhizome), corm, or bulb. Root crops are rich in starch, and low in protein and oil. They are excellent sources of calories. Some are consumed as major staples, such as cassava, potatoes, sweet potatoes, yams, and the aroids (cocoyams). Others, such as carrots, onions, garlics, parsnips, and radishes, are used as fresh vegetables.

Historically, governments and academic centers have paid rela­ tively little attention to root crops as compared to grain crops. These crops have been regarded as inferior food, and produced and consumed only by the subsistence farmers in the developing parts of the world. In recent years, however, the tropical root crops have been "rediscovered" by the research communities and others who are concerned with the food and nutrition problems of low income people.

The tropical root crops, in general, have a great potential in meeting basic food and energy needs of the developing world, and therefore deserve to be fully explored in rural development projects and strategies. Reliable estimates suggest that annual tropical root crop production is in the range of 170 million metric tons, roughly equivalent, in calorie content, to 50 mil­ lion metric tons of grain. There is now a sharp increase in scientific research and investigation in every aspect of this crop in certain well-established research centers, such as: International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), Ibaden, Nigeria; International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT), Cali, Colombia; and International Potato Center (CIP), Lima, Peru.

Publication Details

  • Published: 1985
  • Publisher: Volunteers in Technical Assistance
  • ISBN-10: 0866192174
  • ISBN-13: 9780866192170
  • Dewey Decimal: 633.4
  • ECHO Library: 633.4 OZE