Food for the future?

  • Ann Poochareon
  • Author: Ann Poochareon
  • Posted: July 3rd, 2008 @ 10:00am
  • Tags: none

Following up on the recently published Cary Fowler Pop!Cast, I went to explore the Global Crop Diversity website — to learn more about what Fowler’s organization is doing to address our global food crisis.

Besides the fascinating information on the Doomsday Vault (as sensationally nicknamed by the media) in Svalbard, Norway, the Trust also publishes a Crop Diversity Topics newsletter, which I found very insightful, especially on the topics of the economics of food prices, and also how our current food shortage is paralleling that of the early 1970s.

Image from FAO’s Food Prices slideshow

So, while the world is pressed to increase food production, and in certain places farmers have already begun planting more crops as a response to the high prices, the Trust poignantly argues that our current food shortage will not be solved — in the long run — by simply planting more and doing what we’ve been doing. Factor in the cost of energy and water scarcity into today’s agricultural practices, and even if food prices subside, we would still have a huge conundrum: the earth’s limited resources. High food prices, while critical, are just a surface problem.

What the Trust positions itself to do for the long-term is “get agriculture ready,” by preserving crop diversity and identifying crop types that would adapt to our climate change and energy challenges. To this end, the Trust has a grant award scheme set up to support breeders who identify the genetic makeup of plants susceptible to climate change, pest problems, water scarcity, etc.

It’s one step towards restoring food security for our future, and for that, we salute the work of The Global Crop Diversity Trust.

Other related links: Food Price Crisis, Food Shortages Drive Global Prices to Record Highs, UN Food Task Force


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