CAHS’ High-Value Specialty Crops Program
The College of Agriculture and Human Sciences has developed a Specialty Crops Project to help Texas Small Farmers diversify their farm operations, improve income and their livelihoods. The CAHS Project Team led by Research Scientist Peter Ampim is evaluating ten high value and highly nutritious crops that include three small fruits, five vegetables, one root vegetable and one herb. These crops are typically not grown in Texas, but large segments of Texas’ highly diverse urban population consume them. Hence producing these crops in State will meet local demand and also provide income opportunities for farmers. The multidisciplinary CAHS project funded by the USDA-NIFA Capacity Building Grant Program is designed to train and provide as well as support farmers with the technical and practical knowledge to produce and take advantage of niche markets for these crops in Texas and beyond.
The project aligns with the Specialty Crops Competitiveness Act of 2004 which has an overall goal “to ensure an abundant and affordable supply of highly nutritious fruits, vegetables, and other specialty crops for American consumers and international markets by enhancing the competitiveness of United States-grown specialty crops, and for other purposes.”
The project Co-PIs include researchers Aruna Weerasooriya and Ming Gao, and extension educator, Billy Lawton. Oluwagbemiga Ojumu of the College of Business at PVAMU and Dania Rivera of the Department of Agro environmental Sciences at the University of Puerto Rico, Mayagüez Campus, have also partnered with the College in this collaborative effort.
Peter Ampim, Ph.D.
Research Scientist (Plant Systems)