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Agricultural Biodiversity Is Essential for a Sustainable Improvement in Food and Nutrition Security
Emile A. Frison,Jeremy Cherfas,Toby Hodgkin
Sustainability , 2011, DOI: 10.3390/su3010238
Abstract: Agricultural biodiversity has hitherto been valued almost exclusively as a source of traits that can be used in scientific breeding programs to improve the productivity of crop varieties and livestock breeds. We argue that it can make a far greater contribution to increased productivity. In particular, a wider deployment of agricultural biodiversity is an essential component in the sustainable delivery of a more secure food supply. Diversity of kingdoms, species and genepools can increase the productivity of farming systems in a range of growing conditions, and more diverse farming systems are also generally more resilient in the face of perturbations, thus enhancing food security. Diversity can maintain and increase soil fertility and mitigate the impact of pests and diseases. Diversity of diet, founded on diverse farming systems, delivers better nutrition and greater health, with additional benefits for human productivity and livelihoods. Agricultural biodiversity will also be absolutely essential to cope with the predicted impacts of climate change, not simply as a source of traits but as the underpinnings of more resilient farm ecosystems. Many of the benefits of agricultural biodiversity are manifested at different ecological and human scales, and cut across political divisions, requiring a cross-sectoral approach to reassess the role of agricultural biodiversity in sustainable and secure food production.
Food Security in the New Millennium-I: The Role of Agricultural Biodiversity  [PDF]
S. Farooq,F. Azam
Pakistan Journal of Biological Sciences , 2002,
Abstract: This paper describes the concept of agricultural biodiversity and its importance in present and future food security. Some facts and figures are being presented in order to apprise the reader about the state of agricultural biodiversity in this country and elsewhere. The term agricultural biodiversity has been elaborated at length with special reference to the type of biodiversity available in Pakistan. The importance of biodiversity has been discussed in relation to its role in value addition to commercial crops in the form of resistance against pests and diseases. Its contribution, to human foodstuff, removal of genetic vulnerability and food security has also been discussed in detail. How agro-biodiversity has been utilized in crop production programmes and how rapidly it is being eroded, has also been described. Emphasis has been made on the conservation (both in situ and ex situ) of sites rich in agro-biodiversity along with its characterization and utilization in order to enhance its present status and to create new biodiversity to meet the future demand of crop improvement especially for tolerance to abiotic stresses.
The Role of Biodiversity in Food Security and Nutrition: A Potato Cultivar Case Study  [PDF]
Carmen van Niekerk, Hettie Sch?nfeldt, Nicolette Hall, Beulah Pretorius
Food and Nutrition Sciences (FNS) , 2016, DOI: 10.4236/fns.2016.75039
Abstract: Biodiversity is considered a critical measure of the agricultural health of the world. Not only does increased biodiversity contribute to nutrient production and consumption, but it acts as a safeguard against food shortages due to pests and diseases by spreading the risk. Biodiversity can improve dietary diversity in such a way to ultimately contribute to improved food and nutrition security. As a result biodiversity is often highlighted in global discussions related to food and nutrition security. Potatoes (Solanum tuberosum L.) are highly biodiverse food crops, with more than 4000 different cultivars grown globally. The crop is sometimes considered as part of the vegetable component of food baskets, but it is mainly added to meals as a starch because potatoes have a high starch content and are thus high in energy. However, significant differences in the nutritional content (including micronutrient composition) of different potato cultivars have been reported in many countries. It is therefore proposed that specific cultivars could potentially contribute more to critical nutrients required in the diet of countries at risk of malnutrition. The nutritional profile (macronutrients and minerals) of 11 potato cultivars cultivated in sub-Saharan Africa was determined and the contribution which these different potatoes could make to the diet, and consequently to food and nutrition security, is discussed. The results showed that significant differences are found in the nutritional content between the different cultivars. Significant differences (p < 0.001) were found in macronutrients such as protein and fat as well as micronutrients such as copper, phosphorus and potassium. These results indicate the potentially beneficial role which a biodiverse range of crops such as potatoes, could play in the food and nutrition security of developing countries.
Livelihoods diversifications and implications on food security and poverty levels in the Maasai plains: The case of Simanjiro district, Northern Tanzania
PZ Yanda, C William
African Journal of Environmental Science and Technology , 2010,
Abstract: This paper presents findings of a study that examined livelihood strategies that have evolved in the pastoral area and whether these strategies help the people in alleviating their poverty while ensuring food security. Participatory rural appraisal and wealth ranking exercise were used for data collection, while descriptive statistics was used for the data analysis. The findings show three wealth categories in the three villages studied; the Arkasisi/Altajiri; Menati/Dorpu and Oltoroboni/Lepai; as the rich (high class people), moderately rich (middle class people) and the poor (low class people) respectively. The wealth groups are dynamic as they try to maintain their status and or increase it, while those at the lower categories make deliberate attempts to join the wealthier on the wealth spectrum. The pastoralists strategically diversify their livelihoods through engaging in agriculture, charcoal selling, retail shops and restaurants and trading in minerals. However, resources accrued from these activities are re-invested in livestock. The study suggests that poverty alleviation efforts should target the people as perceived by the people themselves.
Ecosystem Management: Tomorrow’s Approach to Enhancing Food Security under a Changing Climate  [PDF]
Richard Tingem Munang,Ibrahim Thiaw,Mike Rivington
Sustainability , 2011, DOI: 10.3390/su3070937
Abstract: This paper argues that a sustainable ecosystem management approach is vital to ensure the delivery of essential ‘life support’ ecosystem services and must be mainstreamed into societal conscience, political thinking and economic processes. Feeding the world at a time of climate change, environmental degradation, increasing human population and demand for finite resources requires sustainable ecosystem management and equitable governance. Ecosystem degradation undermines food production and the availability of clean water, hence threatening human health, livelihoods and ultimately societal stability. Degradation also increases the vulnerability of populations to the consequences of natural disasters and climate change impacts. With 10 million people dying from hunger each year, the linkages between ecosystems and food security are important to recognize. Though we all depend on ecosystems for our food and water, about seventy per cent of the estimated 1.1 billion people in poverty around the world live in rural areas and depend directly on the productivity of ecosystems for their livelihoods. Healthy ecosystems provide a diverse range of food sources and support entire agricultural systems, but their value to food security and sustainable livelihoods are often undervalued or ignored. There is an urgent need for increased financial investment for integrating ecosystem management with food security and poverty alleviation priorities. As the world’s leaders worked towards a new international climate change agenda in Cancun, Mexico, 29 November–10 December 2010 (UNFCCC COP16), it was clear that without a deep and decisive post-2012 agreement and major concerted effort to reduce the food crisis, the Millennium Development Goals will not be attained. Political commitment at the highest level will be needed to raise the profile of ecosystems on the global food agenda. It is recommended that full recognition and promotion be given of the linkages between healthy, protected ecosystems and global food security; that sufficient resources be allocated for improved ecosystem valuation, protection, management and restoration; and that ecosystem management be integrated in climate change and food security portfolios. We will not be able to feed the world and eradicate extreme poverty, if we do not protect our valuable ecosystems and biodiversity.
Back to Basics: The Role of Indigenous Knowledge Systems (Iks) in Agro-biodiversity and Household Food Security in the Smallholder Agriculture Sector: The Case of Chipinge (Zimbabwe)
Crescentia Madebwe,Victor Madebwe,Jacquiline Kabeta
Pakistan Journal of Social Sciences , 2012,
Abstract: The paper uses a synthesis of data collected using household questionnaires and Focus Group Discussion (FGD) to examine the role of Indigenous Knowledge Systems (IKS) in agro-biodiversity and household food security in the smallholder agriculture sector. Period analysis showed that between 1994 and 2002, there was a decline in agro-biodiversity of over 50%. An inverse relationship was observed between farm size and agro-biodiversity. Older farmers (50 years and above), grew more crop types and crop varieties compared to younger farmers (30 years and below). Gender differentials in levels of agro-biodiversity conservation at farm level were observed with female-headed households growing more types and varieties of crops compared to male-headed households.
Quantifying Biodiversity for Building Resilience for Food Security in Urban Landscapes: Getting Down to Business  [cached]
?sa Jansson,Steven Polasky
Ecology and Society , 2010,
Abstract: A steady stream of ecosystem services is essential for human welfare and survival, and it has been convincingly shown that these flows are being eroded. Compelling theoretical knowledge about essential connections between ecosystem service generation, biodiversity, and resilience in social-ecological systems already exists; however, we still, to a great extent, lack spatially explicit quantitative assessments for translating this theoretical knowledge into practice. We propose an approach for measuring the change in flow and resilience of a regulating ecosystem service on a landscape scale over time when the landscape is exposed to both land use change due to urban expansion, and change in a large-scale economic driver. Our results quantitatively show that there can be a substantial decrease in resilience due to negative effects on response diversity without detecting any major decrease in ecosystem service generation over time, thus generating a sense of false security and sustainability.
Welcome to Agriculture & Food Security
Malcolm Elliott, Molly Jahn, Magdy Madkour
Agriculture & Food Security , 2012, DOI: 10.1186/2048-7010-1-1
Abstract: 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
Livelihood Vulnerability and Food Security among Upland Ethnic Minorities in Northern Vietnam
Christine Bonnin,Sarah Turner
Kasarinlan : Philippine Journal of Third World Studies , 2011,
Abstract: For the Socialist Republic of Vietnam, national food self-sufficiency is a core concern. The state focuses on rice production and output levels for local and overseas markets, endorsing the adoption of hybrid rice seeds through numerous development initiatives. Yet, this approach overlooks an important group of rice producers and consumers in Vietnam: highland ethnic minorities. Fluctuations in global grain demand mean little for their daily coping mechanisms and near-subsistence livelihoods, but food security is an ongoing preoccupation for their households. In this research note, we take an actor-oriented livelihood approach to examine food security among ethnic minorities—namely, Hmong and Yao—in Lào Cai province, northern Vietnam. Arguing that the everyday, subjective experiences of upland minority groups have been ignored, we examine how these groups have reacted to the introduction of hybrid seeds, their negotiations with the state over its use, and their trials and tribulations along the way.
Sustainable Food Production Systems and Food Security: Economic and Environmental Imperatives in Yam Cultivation in Trelawny, Jamaica
Clinton Beckford,Donovan Campbell,David Barker
Sustainability , 2011, DOI: 10.3390/su3030541
Abstract: Members of the genus Dioscorea, food yams, were introduced to Jamaica from Africa during the slave era and have remained a staple in local diets and national cuisine. Yam cultivation has also been an important economic activity providing employment for thousands of rural Jamaicans. Until the 1960s yams were grown for local use by subsistence growers for home consumption or by commercial growers for sale in local produce markets. Since then, however, yam has also grown to become an important export crop. With its value added potential virtually untouched, this crop possesses intriguing possibilities from the standpoint of food security and rural livelihoods in yam growing areas of Jamaica. At the same time there are concerns about the ecological and economic sustainability of yam farming under current conditions. In this paper we will analyze the sustainability of yam cultivation and consider concrete strategies for increasing the environmental sustainability and enhancing its contribution to food security.
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