Friday, February 15, 2008

Food , Glorious Food

Over the last century about 75% of the world's crop varieties have been lost, data from the UN Food and Agriculture Organization suggests.

UN researchers say that we now rely on just three crops: wheat, rice and maize. The fact that poorer nations are almost twice as dependent on these cereals as richer nations has led to the question: are we now too reliant on too few crops?

"First of all, I think the environment is going to be more unpredictable," Sayed Azam-Ali, professor of tropical agronomy at the University of Nottingham, UK, tells the Television Trust for the Environment's Earth Report programme. "So we need crops that are going to be safe," he said. "We can't rely on importing and moving crops around the world indefinitely. I think we have to be more reliant on locally sourced food."

The demand for relatively few crops has left experts worried that traditional knowledge of how to harvest millet will die out; something they have called "cultural erosion". Researchers believe the high nutritional value and its resilience means millet offers a more secure future for farmers, rather than growing cash crops and buying cheap rice to eat.

Mixing minor crops, such as millet, into the major farming system could be the future for food, locally and globally.

1 comment:

John: said...

75% of known crop varieties gone! Jeez, what a damning indictment on the system we live in!! Give these bastards in power enough time and there'll be only one foodstuff - soylent green.