Biodiversity to feed the world

When people say that the world needs more food, often they’re quoting the United Nations’ (UN’s) Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). In 2012 FAO predicted that by the middle of this century, the world’s farmers will need to produce 60% more than they produced in 2005. Really?

Ten days ago I remarked that the FAO seemed more focused on food security than on food sovereignty. I’m not the first person to notice that there seems to be a kind of fight here where there needn’t be any fight. The answer, say some, lies in biodiversity. People know how to grow, forage, eat and use a great range of plants.

In fact FAO knows this, giving us the Cordoba Declaration in 2012. Right now we’re nearly halfway through the UN’s Decade of Biodiversity.

No fight, then. Food not fight.


About argylesock

I wrote a PhD about veterinary parasitology so that's the starting point for this blog. But I'm now branching out into other areas of biology and into popular science writing. I'll write here about science that happens in landscapes, particularly farmland, and about science involving interspecific interactions. Datasets and statistics get my attention. Exactly where this blog will lead? That's a journey that I'm on and I hope you'll come with me.
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5 Responses to Biodiversity to feed the world

  1. EqFe says:

    Biodiversity is hugely important to our continued existence on this planet. Not only are we vulnerable to the fact that a small number of major crops provide much of the calories consumed on this planet, but increasingly there are a small number of varieties of those major crops being planted on a large percentage of the acreage that crop is planted in. There are only a handful of GMO corn varieties, for example, and yet the majority of the US corn crop is not GMO. For sugar beets, which I’ll grant you is not a key crop, most of the acreage planted in the us contains a single GMO variety.
    Places where traditional crops, and traditional strains of those crops are grown are real life food banks.

    • argylesock says:

      Yes indeed. I’m gestating more on this topic.

      Why do you say that sugar beet isn’t a key crop? Over here, it’s big. Not a staple food but a major cash crop. Perhaps the difference is that parts of your country have a suitable climate for sugar cane, whereas mine doesn’t.

      I didn’t know that non-GM corn remains important in the States – isn’t there more Roundup Ready and Bt?

  2. EqFe says:

    Sugar beets are not as big a crop in the US compared to other cash crops. But I think that the bigger reason I said it was not a key crop because in the US food is sweetened primarily with either HFCS or “Pure” cane sugar.
    No, that sentence on Corn was backwards, most corn is indeed GMO, mainly roundup ready.

  3. gs114 says:

    Reblogged this on gs114.

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