Crop Base Tool



Our Vision: To be a world leader producing excellent, innovative research on underutilised crops that is responsive to societal demands.

CFF closely mapped its plans to the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, through world-class research that contributes to specific Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). CFF is focusing its efforts where it can achieve the greatest impact by leveraging on knowledge, capabilities and global partnerships.
This Roadmap is designed to enable sustainable long-term grown. By achieving its 2030 goals, CFF will continue to enhance its ability to develop solutions that will help transform agriculture for good.



To secure a greater role for underutilised crops in global agriculture, especially in developing regions of the world.

Through our research, provide trusted knowledge on underutilised crops.

With our partners, establish a global research community on underutilised crops.

From our outputs, deliver innovative and useful products from underutilised crops.

By our actions, develop evidence-based, sustainable applications using underutilised crops for society and environment.



The aim of CFF’s research is to enhance the development and production of currently underutilised crops, by delivering evidence, knowledge and prototypes of value-added products for public and commercial good. To further this aim, CFF will be responsive to societal demands and open to collaboration and partnerships.

Research Objectives

  • Use genetic diversity and genomics to develop viable phenotypes and genotypes of currently underutilised crop species for production in a range of cropping systems.
  • Integrate knowledge of crop type, diversity and agronomy to develop practices to optimise crop performance, quality and resource use efficiency in specific cropping systems.
  • Use a food system approach to identify the major factors influencing nutritional and other desirable qualities of underutilised crop species along the value chain and develop innovative food and non-food products for public and commercial good.
  • Develop an evidence base on underutilised crops to assess their potential contributions to the bioeconomy and food and nutritional security in current and future climates.
  • Communicate the evidence.


CFF research will focus on key societal challenges of food and nutritional security, mitigation of greenhouse gas emissions, adaptation to climate change, the sustenance of biodiversity and the development of the bioeconomy to promote human livelihoods. CFF has a food system approach that adds value along the whole food chain.


  • Jahanshiri, Ebrahim, et al. "The potential of Bambara groundnut: An analysis for the People’s Republic of China." Food and Energy Security 11.2 (2022): e358.
  • Suhari, T. A. S. T. M., et al. "Paving the way for more accurate earth system modelling in Malaysia." IOP Conference Series: Earth and Environmental Science. Vol. 1016. No. 1. IOP Publishing, 2022.
  • Wimalasiri, Eranga M., et al. "Datasets for the development of hemp (Cannabis sativa L.) as a crop for the future in tropical environments (Malaysia)." Data in Brief 40 (2022): 107807.
  • Wimalasiri, Eranga M., et al. "Crop Model Ideotyping For Agricultural Diversification." MethodsX (2021): 101420.

You can find all of our publications listed here:

Prof Peter Gregory



Prof. Peter Gregory is Emeritus Professor of Global Food Security at the University of Reading having previously been Professor of Soil Science at the same university. His role in CFF is to maintain oversight of the research activities of all research staff and to encourage research innovation.

He was Chief Executive of the Scottish Crop Research Institute from 2005 to 2011 and then of East Malling Research from 2011 to 2015. He is presently occupied in various consultancy roles and engaged with the UK agriculture and horticulture industries via his chairmanship of the Recommended List Board for the AHDB and the Science Committee of the Royal Horticultural Society. He also chairs the Advisory Committee for Novel Foods and Processes (ACNFP) for the Food Standards Agency. Prof. Gregory is also the President of the International Society of Root Research.

Dr. Sean Mayes


Secretary and Treasurer.

Following his BA in Natural Sciences (Genetics) at the University of Cambridge and PhD on the Genetic improvement of oil palm, Dr Mayes became International Group Leader, Genetics Department, University of Cambridge. He is also an Associate Professor, Crop Genetics at the University of Nottingham, United Kingdom and Honorary Professor in University of Nottingham Malaysia Campus.

Dr Mayes expertise is in quantitative and molecular crop genetics and he has worked on many crop species, but particularly oil palm, wheat and Bambara groundnut. In oil palm, he was responsible for the development of the first genetic map of oil palm and has joint research with MPOB, AAR and Sime Darby. In wheat, he was co-investigator on a programme to raise the ceiling on UK wheat yields through the introgression and assessment of novel ‘large-ear’ CIMMYT germplasm into UK pre-breeding lines. For Bambara groundnut, Dr Mayes was Coordinator (molecular) and Principle Investigator of the EU BAMLINK programme. BamYIELD will build on results from BAMLINK. He is currently a consultant to Sime Darby on oil palm genetics and to the Omani Government on date palm genetics.

Prof George Rothschild


Director and Board Member.

Professor George Rothschild is a dual British-Australian citizen with over 50 years of post-doctoral experience of research and development in low and middle income countries. He obtained a BSc (Hons) at the University of Nottingham - UK in 1959, and a PhD and DIC from the Imperial College of Science & Technology - UK in 1962. His ‘hands-on’ research spanned the first 30 years of his career (up to 1987), mostly in insect pest behaviour and ecology, and their application in integrated pest management.

Professor Rothschild’s disciplinary research interests are insect ecology, especially population regulatory mechanisms, and insect behaviour, particularly the role of semiochemicals in mediating reproduction. Since 1987, his main roles have been in directing international research for development institutions in Australia and other parts of the world, implementing and managing programmes on a broad range of agricultural and natural resource management issues, and conducting monitoring, evaluation and impact reviews for development partners/investors including ACIAR, FCDO, European Commission, FAO, IFAD and the World Bank. Professor Rothschild has also been actively engaged in advocacy for international agricultural research for development with standing and non-standing parliamentary committees in Australia and similar committees and all-party parliamentary groups in the UK.

Prof Sayed Azam-Ali



Prof. Sayed Azam-Ali was appointed as the first Chief Executive Officer of Crops For the Future (CFF) in August 2011. In 2017, he was elected as Chair of the Association of International Research and Development Centers for Agriculture (AIRCA), a nine-member alliance focussed on increasing global food security by supporting smallholder agriculture within healthy sustainable and climate-smart landscapes. Prof Azam-Ali also holds the Chair in Global Food Security at the University of Nottingham.

After his first degree in Plant Biology at the University of Wales, Prof. Azam-Ali completed his PhD in Environmental Physics at the University of Nottingham in 1983. He then worked as a plant physiologist at the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT), India, before returning to Nottingham where he became Professor of Tropical Agronomy in 2006. At Nottingham, Prof. Azam-Ali coordinated three major EU-funded Programmes on bambara groundnut and was a principal partner in two other EU programmes. He was also Principal Investigator for six UK DFiD projects. In 2008, Prof. Azam-Ali was appointed as Vice-Provost (Research and Internationalisation) at the University of Nottingham Malaysia Campus, where he successfully secured the EU funded MYEULINK programme that links major research universities in Malaysia with counterparts in Europe. He also coordinated the successful bid by the University of Nottingham to co-host CFF against stiff international competition. Prof. Azam-Ali was instrumental in the establishment of CFF as the world’s first centre dedicated to research on underutilised crops for food and non-food uses.

Prof Graham King, Southern Cross University, Australia


CFF Associate: CropStore.

Professor Graham King has over 35 years post-doctoral research and research management experience, with a widely recognized international profile in crop plant genetics, genomics and related bioinformatics and data management. He has made significant contributions to establishing genomic and experimental genetic resources, using these to resolve a wide range of phenotypic trait loci in horticultural and arable crops. He has led a range of international and national consortia, and worked closely with public and private sector breeders throughout his career. Current research interests are focused on increasing crop genetic and epigenetic diversity and adding value to information flow for human nutrition and climate adaptation. This includes recent development of the Compositional Dietary Nutrition Ontology.

Graham is Executive Director of DivSeek International Network. From 2012 to 2018 Graham was Director of Southern Cross Plant Science (SCPS) at Southern Cross University, where he is now a part-time Research Professor. He has over 180 refereed publications, and is an Honorary Professor at the University of Nottingham (UK). Gaining his Ph.D from the University of London, he has held positions at Horticulture Research International, University of Warwick and Rothamsted Research.

Dr Ebrahim Jahanshiri


CFF Associate: Head of CropBASE.

Dr. Ebrahim Jahanshiri oversees the research and development of prototype data driven solutions to support CFF’s mission in facilitating wider adoption of underutilised crops within the context of global agricultural diversification initiative.

He has a PhD in GIS and Geomatics Engineering and Masters in Precision Farming and has 10 years of experience in data science. He has been awarded 2 patents and 3 copyrights for his prototypes and decision support tools for real estate and agriculture. Dr Jahanshiri's main research interests are automated land suitability mapping, Pedometrics, crop modelling, crowd sourcing systems as well as development of ontologies and integrated systems for research data management.

Dr Jahanshiri is the CFF coordinator of H2020 project from European Union (LANDSUPPORT). He is a member of Foundation for Open Access Statistics (FOAS), Pedometrics International Union of Soil Scientists, American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers and the Open Source Geospatial Foundation (OSGeo).











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