Could Australia’s floral emblem hold answers for a hungry world?

Aboriginal people have been eating wattleseed for generations.  There are many paintings that tell us about gathering and storing wattleseed, now with scientific proof that wattleseed holds many health benefits, the work being done in Africa shows it might hold a lot more answers to feeding and nourishing the hungry.

... While there are a few species of acacia that are native to Africa, the trees are slow growing and their seeds are spiny and toxic with high levels of cyanide. In the Australian species of acacia, the cyanide levels are low and other toxins can be removed through a simple roasting process ...

Could Australia's floral emblem hold answers for a hungry world?

Image: Children in Niger holding foods made with acacia such as fura (soup), pancakes and acacia seeds in cous cous with onions and other vegetables. (Mariana Chokaa/World Vision)

As food security becomes an increasing challenge into the future, experts believe indigenous foods may hold the key to feeding hungry nations. Australia's acacias, commonly known as wattles, are leading the charge. Cathy Pryor reports.

Australian wattle trees, or acacias, were first introduced to Africa more than three decades ago in a bid to increase soil nutrients and stave off erosion. Over the years they stood tall, thriving in a common climate. What was less known was the seeds they bore could also be an important food source for a hungry continent.
In the midst of the famine that gripped parts of the continent in the 1980s, the irony could not have been more bitter. It took a forestry worker visiting from Australia to ask a simple question: did the villagers know that the seeds on these trees had been eaten by indigenous Australians for millennia?

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