International Centre for Underutilised Crops

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The International Centre for Underutilised Crops (ICUC, later renamed: Crops for the Future, CFF[1]) has been an independent nonprofit scientific research institute that investigated, coordinated and supported research programmes towards increasing the productivity and use of what are termed underutilised crops[2]crops that have a potential to be cultivated and made useful on a significantly larger scale than they have been. Founded in 1989,[3] the ICUC researched and promoted tropical, sub-tropical and temperate plants and plant-products, and operated in over 30 countries in a variety of partnership arrangements with international and local research groups, NGOs and private enterprises.[4]


The International Centre for Underutilised Crops was launched in 1989 at the University of Southampton in southern England, a concept arising out of the International Conference on New Crops for Food and Industry held in Southampton two years previously.[5] The founding director was Dr. Nazmul Haq, an academic at Southampton's Civil Engineering and the Environment research school.[6]

During the 1990s the ICUC expanded and established networks in Asia, Southern and Eastern Africa, and secured research and development funding for several defined projects from sources such as the UK's Department for International Development. In 2001 the ICUC became a partner institution of the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR), and continued to establish regional centres and cooperative partnerships with other research bodies and organisations.[7]

In 2005 the ICUC moved its headquarters from Southampton to near Colombo in Sri Lanka, in a co-hosting arrangement with the International Water Management Institute (IWMI). Among other reasons, the move sought to better align the ICUC's research activities and consultative expertise with similarly themed programmes operating in the "Global South".[8] The move saw a change in directorship, with plant physiologist Dr. Hannah Jaenicke assuming the role.[9]

In 2009, ICUC and the Global Facilitation Unit for Underutilised Species (GFU) merged to become "Crops for the Future" (CFF), a new organisation that combines the former mandates of its predecessor organisations, and engages in partnerships building on the networks established by ICUC and GFU. CFF is based in Malaysia, and is governed by a Board of Directors. CFF's current director is Dr. Michael Hermann.

See also[edit]


  1. ^
  2. ^ Also known in agricultural literature as neglected and underutilised species (NUS).
  3. ^ ICUC (2006a, p.1)
  4. ^ ICUC (2006b)
  5. ^ ICUC (2006a)
  6. ^ ICUC-IWMI (2005)
  7. ^ ICUC (2006a)
  8. ^ ICUC (2006a), ICUC-IWMI (2005)
  9. ^ "The ICUC team". International Centre for Underutilised Crops. Retrieved 2008-08-27. 


External links[edit]