Yes, I know it’s Tuesday again.
But this time I hope I have got rid of my PC bugs, and things like posting can get back to normal.
In this blog we often look at things like food waste, pollution and contamination of crops, etc; but what about the more global aspect of food, in particular diversity.
Crop diversity decline ‘threatens food security’
Fewer crop species are feeding the world than 50 years ago – raising concerns about the resilience of the global food system, a study has shown.
The authors warned a loss of diversity meant more people were dependent on key crops, leaving them more exposed to harvest failures.
Higher consumption of energy-dense crops could also contribute to a global rise in heart disease and diabetes, they added.
The study appears in the journal PNAS.
“Over the past 50 years, we are seeing that diets around the world are changing and they are becoming more similar – what we call the ‘globalised diet’,” co-author Colin Khoury, a scientist from the Colombia-based International Center for Tropical Agriculture, explained.
“This diet is composed of big, major cops such as wheat, rice, potatoes and sugar.
“It also includes crops that were not important 50 years ago but have become very important now, particularly oil crops like soybean,” he told BBC News.
While wheat has long been a staple crop, it is now a key food in more than 97% of countries listed in UN data, the study showed.
And from relative obscurity, soybean had become “significant” in the diets of almost three-quarters of nations.
He added that while these food crops played a major role in tackling global hunger, the decline in crop diversity in the globalised diet limited the ability to supplement the energy-dense part of the diet with nutrient-rich foods.
Amid the crops recording a decline in recent decades were millets, rye, yams, sweet potatoes and cassava.
The study by an international team of scientists also found that the homogenisation of the global diet could be helping accelerate the rise in non-communicable diseases – such as diabetes and heart disease – which are becoming an increasing problem worldwide.
Crop failure fears
Fellow co-author Luigi Guarino, from the Global Crop Diversity Trust, added: “Another danger of a more homogeneous global food basket is that it makes agriculture more vulnerable to major threats like drought, insect pests and diseases, which are likely to become worse in many parts of the world as a result of climate change.
“As the global population rises and the pressure increases on our global food system, so does our dependence on the global crops and production system that feeds us.
“The price of failure of any of these crops will become very high,” he warned.