A powerhouse of innovation, this tiny country embodies the future of farming.
At Wageningen University & Research almost half the graduate students hail from abroad, from more than one hundred nations. Dêêdi Sogbohossou, a doctoral student from Benin, is developing a breeding program for the spider plant, a leafy vegetable widespread in tropical areas of the world.
It’s a nutritious but overlooked and underutilized crop, and Sogbohossou hopes to identify traits that can be bred to increase its nutritional value and yield to promote food security. The leaves and shoots are usually blanched and added to tomato, groundnut, or coconut milk sauces that are eaten with starchy porridge made from cassava, millet or corn flour.
PHOTOGRAPH BY LUCA LOCATELLI, INSTITUTE FOR NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC