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The author collecting medicinal plants with local Indian guide, in southern Suriname.
and research priorities, which excluded lesser-known species. This overreliance on a few species was maintained even after independence, since developing countries had to depend on preexisting markets and technicians trained in temperate countries (NRC, 1975).
Many currently underexploited tropical species will become common sights in the produce sections of our supermarkets during the next decade. Because those species are often best known to aboriginal or peasant peoples, they have often been stigmatized as slave foods in their country of origin. This has impeded the development of these crops, which often tend to be robust, productive, self-reliant, free of indigestible compounds with relatively high nutritive value, and suitable for growing in some sort of agricultural system.
The demand for tropical cuisine continues to grow in this country. The Los Angeles area is said to have more than 200 Thai restaurants, and Mexican fast-food outlets have become a $1.6 billion industry (Vietmeyer, 1986a). Even a short walk down M Street in Washington, D.C., will take you past Chinese, Vietnamese, Thai, Filipino, Mexican, Central American, and South American restaurants. Kiwi fruit from China was not introduced into this country until 1962, yet last year they were purchased by more than 10 million Americans. Furthermore, do-