ECHO Development Notes (EDN) EDN Issue #135
Biofortified crops: What are they, how do they work and why should we grow them?
The cheers and challenges of Conservation Agriculture programs
Echoes from our Network: Woman and Agriculture feedback from Joel Matthews
From ECHO's Seed Bank: Gac - A colorful and health-promoting fruit
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Articles in this Issue
Dr. Brian Hilton
Dr. Brian Hilton researched and promoted biofortified crops for over 20 years. Brian worked as part of a team testing the first orange sweet potato varieties in Mozambique in 2002. He has 25 years of experience working with farmers in Indonesia, Chad and Mozambique. Brian now works with World Vision Australia, coordinating World Vision’s biofortification networks with CGIAR institutions that are breeding biofortified crops and with HarvestPlus whose mandate is to reach 1 billion people with biofortified foods by 2030.
Angela Boss and Stephan Lutz, summarized by ECHO staff
Angela Boss and Stephan Lutz, both working with World Renew, spoke at ECHO’s November 2015 International Agriculture Conference about Conservation Agriculture (CA). CA is an ecological, resource-saving approach to farming in which soils are maintained through the application of three main principles: 1) minimum tillage; 2) permanent organic soil cover; and 3) diversification of crop species.
Joel Matthews, professor of Engineering Technology at Diablo Valley College, shared some comments after reading EDN 134. “Thank you for your excellent and timely article on women's agricultural participation in EDN 134. I have a few comments that I would like to share.
Perennial leafy greens, such as moringa and chaya, have been featured quite extensively in EDN. Here we focus on the bright orange-to-red fruit of a tropical vining plant called gac (Momordica cochinchinensis). Belonging to the Cucurbitaceae family, other names for gac are cochin gourd, spiny bitter cucumber, and sweet gourd. Gac fruit has a mild flavor. Like moringa, it can be consumed in a variety of ways; it can be eaten fresh, cooked, or as a powder. Incorporated into traditional foods, gac adds both color and nutrition.