The Challenge of Food Security

The Challenge of Food Security

International Policy and Regulatory Frameworks

Edited by Rosemary Rayfuse and Nicole Weisfelt

This timely study addresses the pressing issue of food security through a range of interdisciplinary contributions, providing both scholarly and policy-making perspectives. It sets the discussion on food security within the little-studied context of its international legal and regulatory framework. The expert contributors explore the key issues from a development perspective and through the lens of existing governance and policy systems with a view to articulating how these systems can be made more effective in dealing with the roots of food insecurity.

Chapter 6: The contribution of plant genetic resources to food security

Bert Visser and Niels Louwaars

Subjects: development studies, law and development, environment, environmental law, law - academic, environmental law, international economic law, trade law, law and development, public international law


The World Summit on Food Security held in 2009 signalled the need for a 70 per cent increase in food production by the year 2050. To realize this ambition, production increases on a yearly basis will need to exceed recent annual yield growth by, on average, 38 per cent. The only way to achieve this goal is through sustainable intensification of available farm land. Plant breeding provides a number of opportunities to contribute to the achievement of this goal, particularly when both new technologies and participatory breeding methods that mobilize the knowledge of both scientists and farmers can be effectively used. Much scope exists for adapting crops and varieties to major challenges, such as climate change, the continuing evolution of crop diseases, and land degradation. While substantial advances in crop production are feasible, it is important to avoid a narrow focus on a few crop species and a limited genetic base for breeding programmes. In addition, a strong public research base to focus on societal needs is essential.

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