Agricultural sciences will innovate solutions and provide food security

Photo credit: Journal of Experimental Botany

Fig. 1.

The three constraints that will be imposed on crop production in the next 40 years.

Planning for food security in a changing climate

By Bryan McKersie

in Journal of Experimental Botany (2015) 66 (12):3435-3450.

doi: 10.1093/jxb/eru547


The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and other international agencies have concluded that global crop production is at risk due to climate change, population growth, and changing food preferences. Society expects that the agricultural sciences will innovate solutions to these problems and provide food security for the foreseeable future.

My thesis is that an integrated research plan merging agronomic and genetic approaches has the greatest probability of success. I present a template for a research plan based on the lessons we have learned from the Green Revolution and from the development of genetically engineered crops that may guide us to meet this expectation.

The plan starts with a vision of how the crop management system could change, and I give a few examples of innovations that are very much in their infancy but have significant potential. The opportunities need to be conceptualized on a regional basis for each crop to provide a target for change.

The plan gives an overview of how the tools of plant biotechnology can be used to create the genetic diversity needed to implement the envisioned changes in the crop management system, using the development of drought tolerance in maize (Zea mays L.) as an example that has led recently to the commercial release of new hybrids in the USA.

The plan requires an interdisciplinary approach that integrates and coordinates research on plant biotechnology, genetics, physiology, breeding, agronomy, and cropping systems to be successful.

Need for technology to help harness water more efficiently, particularly in agriculture

Photo credit: Pixabay


Africa: World Has Not Woken Up to Water Crisis Caused By Climate Change – IPCC Head

Thomson Reuters Foundation

New Delhi — Water scarcity could lead to conflict between communities and nations as the world is still not fully aware of the water crisis many countries face as a result of climate change, the head of the U.N. panel of climate scientists warned on Tuesday.

The latest report from the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) predicts a rise in global temperature of between 0.3 and 4.8 degrees Celsius (0.5 to 8.6 Fahrenheit) by the late 21st century.

Countries such as India are likely to be hit hard by global warming, which will bring more freak weather such as droughts that will lead to serious water shortages and affect agricultural output and food security.

“Unfortunately, the world has not really woken up to the reality of what we are going to face in terms of the crises as far as water is concerned,” IPCC Chair Rajendra Pachauri told participants at a conference on water security.

“If you look at agricultural products, if you look at animal protein – the demand for which is growing – that’s highly water intensive.

At the same time, on the supply side, there are going to be several constraints. Firstly because there are going to be profound changes in the water cycle due to climate change.”

Development experts around the world have become increasingly concerned about water security in recent years.

Read the full article: allAfrica

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