Modelling neglected and underutilised crops: a systematic review of progress, challenges, and opportunities
Developing and promoting neglected and underutilised crops (NUS) is essential to building resilience and strengthening food systems. However, a lack of robust, reliable, and scalable evidence impedes the mainstreaming of NUS into policies and strategies to improve food and nutrition security. Well-calibrated and validated crop models can be useful in closing the gap by generating evidence at several spatiotemporal scales needed to inform policy and practice. We, therefore, assessed progress, opportunities, and challenges for modelling NUS using a systematic review. While several models have been calibrated for a range of NUS, few models have been applied to evaluate the growth, yield, and resource use efficiencies of NUS. The low progress in modelling NUS is due, in part, to the vast diversity found within NUS that available models cannot adequately capture. A general lack of research compounds this focus on modelling NUS, which is made even more difficult by a deficiency of robust and accurate ecophysiological data needed to parameterise crop models. Furthermore, opportunities exist for advancing crop model databases and knowledge by tapping into big data and machine learning.
Chimonyo, V. G. P.; Chibarabada, T. P.; Choruma, D. J.; Kunz, R.; Walker, S.; Massawe, F.; Modi, A. T.; Mabhaudhi, Tafadzwanashe. 2022. Modelling neglected and underutilised crops: a systematic review of progress, challenges, and opportunities. Sustainability, 14(21):13931. (Special issue: Interdisciplinary Approaches to Mainstreaming Underutilized Crops) doi: https://doi.org/10.3390/su142113931