International Policy and Regulatory Frameworks
Edited by Rosemary Rayfuse and Nicole Weisfelt
Chapter 5: Crop disease, management and food security
We are in the midst of a global food crisis. Projected world population growth, socioeconomic protection, globalisation of agricultural markets, food pricing, biosecurity policy and the demand for environmentally sustainable advances in productivity are increasingly impacting on agriculture as a secure food source, and as a major reservoir of export income. The agricultural dimension to ensuring food security is complex, involving constant adaptations in practices to combat abiotic and biotic constraints, as well as a move in developed nations towards on-farm use of renewable energies, fluctuating food pricing and the even less predictable effects of climate change and severe weather events. Biotic epidemics have the potential to severely disrupt agricultural trade, reduce export revenue, undermine consumer confidence, threaten economically sustainable food production, and cost governments millions in integrated disease management programmes. In particular, sustainable management of plant borne diseases, that would otherwise significantly reduce or completely remove a food source, is of great concern. Plant pathogens are estimated to reduce global production of potato by 21.2 per cent wheat by 12.6 per cent maize by 11.2 per cent and rice by 12.2 per cent.
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