Crop biodiversity: ‘Under appreciated’ weapon in fight to end hunger

Screen Shot at PM

[Editor’s note: Mohamed Bakarr is Lead Environmental Specialist at the Global Environment Facility. Kevin Pixley is the Director of the Genetic Resources program at the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center.]

We need to use all the tools at our disposal to make a world free from hunger a reality, but one major ally isn’t getting the global attention it deserves: crop plant biodiversity.

Crop plant biodiversity is the term used to describe all the genetic resources for any crop plant – either growing today or previously collected. This biodiversity has hardy traits such as disease resistances and heat tolerance built in. Over thousands of years, farmers worldwide have evolved a diverse array of food crops based on these traits. Plant breeders have used these genetic resources for decades to breed food crops more resilient to shocks and stresses, ensuring food and nutritional security for ever-growing numbers of people.

But our biodiversity habitats, where these genetic resources are naturally found, are shrinking. Global plant and animal biodiversity declined 30 percent between 1990 and 2007, twice as much in tropical regions. We cannot afford to let this continue.

New crop varieties … often improve yield, making existing farmland more productive and reducing the need to clear more land for agriculture. This conserves more area for biodiversity habitats and reduces the greenhouse gas emissions associated with deforestation. This has been a major priority of initiatives such as the Global Environment Facility’s new programme on fostering sustainability and resilience for food security in 12 countries across sub-Saharan Africa, which we believe could mitigate 20 million tonnes of carbon.

The GLP aggregated and excerpted this blog/article to reflect the diversity of news, opinion, and analysis. Read full, original post: Crop biodiversity: The key to ending hunger

Outbreak Daily Digest
Biotech Facts & Fallacies
Talking Biotech
Genetics Unzipped
Video: Test everyone – Slovakia goes its own way to control COVID

Video: Test everyone – Slovakia goes its own way to control COVID

As Europe sees record coronavirus cases and deaths, Slovakia is testing its entire adult population. WSJ's Drew Hinshaw explains how ...
mag insects image superjumbo v

Disaster interrupted: Which farming system better preserves insect populations: Organic or conventional?

A three-year run of fragmentary Armageddon-like studies had primed the journalism pumps and settled the media framing about the future ...
dead bee desolate city

Are we facing an ‘Insect Apocalypse’ caused by ‘intensive, industrial’ farming and agricultural chemicals? The media say yes; Science says ‘no’

The media call it the “Insect Apocalypse”. In the past three years, the phrase has become an accepted truth of ...
globalmethanebudget globalcarbonproject cropped x

Infographic: Cows cause climate change? Agriculture scientist says ‘belching bovines’ get too much blame

A recent interview by Caroline Stocks, a UK journalist who writes about food, agriculture and the environment, of air quality ...
organic hillside sweet corn x

Organic v conventional using GMOs: Which is the more sustainable farming?

Many consumers spend more for organic food to avoid genetically modified products in part because they believe that “industrial agriculture” ...
benjamin franklin x

Are most GMO safety studies funded by industry?

The assertion that biotech companies do the research and the government just signs off on it is false ...

Environmental Working Group: EWG challenges safety of GMOs, food pesticide residues

Known by some as the "Environmental Worrying Group," EWG lobbies for tighter GMO legislation and famously puts out annual "dirty dozen" list of fruits and ...
m hansen

Michael Hansen: Architect of Consumers Union ongoing anti-GMO campaign

Michael K. Hansen (born 1956) is thought by critics to be the prime mover behind the ongoing campaign against agricultural biotechnology at Consumer Reports. He is an ...
News on human & agricultural genetics and biotechnology delivered to your inbox.
Optional. Mail on special occasions.
Send this to a friend