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Welcome to Agriculture & Food Security

DOI: 10.1186/2048-7010-1-1

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Norman Borlaug (1914–2009) was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1970 for initiating the Green Revolution in agriculture which increased agricultural production so successfully as to enable some one billion people, who would otherwise have died from starvation, to thrive. That said, it must be noted that in his Nobel Peace Prize Acceptance Speech (December the 11th, 1970) [1], he observed that:“The green revolution has won a temporary success in man’s war against hunger and deprivation; it has given man a breathing space. If fully implemented, the revolution can provide sufficient food for sustenance during the next three decades. But the frightening power of human reproduction must also be curbed; otherwise the success of the green revolution will be ephemeral only.” The harsh reality of this warning was recognised in the early part of 2008 when the price of wheat and maize doubled and that of rice tripled, leading to food riots in 20 countries.The Editors bring diverse perspectives to the challenge Norman Borlaug and his generation left in the wake of the Green Revolution, but several points are inescapably clear. There is broad agreement that food security is a goal of paramount importance in the 21st century, and that food and food systems are critically important to humans far beyond the physical survival they provide. A sharp focus on productivity of familiar crops will continue to be essential using all technical and conceptual approaches that make sense to increase yields, improve crop and livestock efficiencies and overall agricultural systems outputs, and improve outcomes in all dimensions including livelihoods and human health.And as Norman Borlaug warned, humankind’s numbers continue to increase so rapidly that, according to the United Nations’ demographers, the world’s population reached seven billion at the end of October, 2011 [2]. The UN FAO estimated that, in 2010, more than a billion people went to bed hungry or starving every night [3]. Indeed, thi


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