Conservation of Under-Utilized Vegetable Species

Food Security and Underutilized Crop Species

Due to the commercialization of few vegetables and other crop species the entire country is mainly depend on handful of crop species neglecting large number of vegetables, fruits and other crop species with high nutritional and medicinal values which were grown traditionally in the past, resulting hundreds of hundreds these valuable crop species are critically endangered and facing the state of speedy disappearing.

Presently in Sri Lanka man of these underutilized vegetables and other crop species face extinction or severe genetic loss, but detailed information is lacking. For most of the endangered vegetables and other crop species no conservation action has been taken. There is not even a complete inventory of these underutilized valuable plants, much of the knowledge on their use is held by traditional societies, whose very existence is now under threat. Little of this information has been recorded in a systematic manner.


Besides the identification and selection of these underutilized plants for use in health services and increase the nutritional status of the people, there is the potential that these plants hold as an resources bank for address the issues relating to the food security, upgrading the nutritional status of the community and socio-economic development of rural communities in Sri Lanka.

Conservation Strategy

Recently to facilitate the conservation of these underutilized vegetables and other crop species Nagenahiru
initiated a project. The main components of this project is as follows,

  1. Identification and collecting live samples of neglected and underutilized crop species found in Sabaragamuwa, UVa and in the Southern province of Sri Lanka.
  2. With the collaboration of experts in traditional medicine identification, collecting locally available data and knowledge on the medicinal and nutritional values of these plant species and documentation of the findings.
  3. Establishment of a one acre Plant arboretum for neglected and underutilized vegetables, fruits, and other crop species, and promote studies, research, and multiplication for the benefit of future generations.
  4. Conducting awareness creation and educational workshops on the medicinal and nutritional values of identified underutilized species.
  5. Conducting field research and studies to identify the most suitable techniques for the growing of these plant species.
  6. Introduction of identified underutilized vegetables and other crop species to the rural home gardens and facilitate the community contribution for the conservation of such crop species.