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The key to food security in Africa lies in the treasure trove of global crop biodiversity

October 7th, 2019

Global plant diversity could be a lifeline for food security in sub-Saharan Africa, finds a new study. 

The analysis reveals that replacing some at-risk African food crops with more resilient crops from other parts of the world, as well as tapping the huge genetic diversity of crop wild relatives, could help shore up …

Environment in multiple crises – report

February 12th, 2019 / BBC, UK

Politicians and policymakers have failed to grasp the gravity of the environmental crisis facing the Earth, a report claims.

The think-tank IPPR says human impacts have reached a critical stage and threaten to destabilise society and the global economy.

Scientists warn of a potentially deadly combination of factors.

These include climate change, mass …

Plummeting insect numbers ‘threaten collapse of nature’

February 12th, 2019 / The Guardian, UK

The world’s insects are hurtling down the path to extinction, threatening a “catastrophic collapse of nature’s ecosystems”, according to the first global scientific review.

More than 40% of insect species are declining and a third are endangered, the analysis found. The rate of extinction is eight times faster than that of …

What’s wrong with bananas

November 6th, 2018 / Nautilus

Norman C. Ellstrand, distinguished professor of genetics at the University of California, Riverside where he holds the Jane S. Johnson Endowed Chair in Food and Agriculture, writes:
Of the important global crops, the banana is the most genetically uniform. A single cluster of nearly identical genotypes, the Cavendish subgroup, nearly …

We should care about food diversity

June 6th, 2017 / Daily Monitor, Uganda

B4FA Fellow, Michael Ssale writes: Modern farming systems like the use of heavy machines and herbicides offer less chance for the survival of many traditional vegetables, creeping food crops, mushrooms, root food crops, fruits, and legumes which our forefathers grew… Dependence on a handful of varieties or species increases vulnerability …

The (shrinking) garden of Earthly delights

October 31st, 2016 / Claudia Canales, B4FA

This periodic blog will discuss food security, with a specific focus on how plant genetic research might contribute to addressing the challenge of feeding a fast-growing global population in increasingly uncertain climatic conditions.
Achieving food security is a complex problem that goes far beyond just producing more food. Its realisation …

Livestock diversity crucial to ending global hunger

February 8th, 2016 / Bangkok Post, Thailand

Our livestock is increasingly being raised indoors and fed on concentrate feed that is often imported. Intensive production of chickens, pigs and dairy cows is based on a few breeds worldwide. These developments are risky, as we and future generations are losing the potential to adapt livestock production systems to …

Genetic diversity in our food systems

September 25th, 2015 / Global Plant Council

Our civilization developed with the domestication of plants for food, fiber and shelter about 10,000 years ago. Since then we have made constant improvements to these domesticated plants based on genetic diversity. It is the conservation, evaluation and utilization of this genetic diversity that will be essential for further …