International Policy and Regulatory Frameworks
Edited by Rosemary Rayfuse and Nicole Weisfelt
Chapter 6: The contribution of plant genetic resources to food security
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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