Planting seeds for the future of food
Green, Hilary and Broun, Pierre and Çakmak, İsmail and Condon, Liam and Fedoroff, Nina and Gonzalez-Valero, Juan and Graham, Ian and Lewis, Josette and Moloney, Maurice and Oniang'o, Ruth K. and Sanginga, Nteranya and Shewry, Peter and Roulin, Anne (2016) Planting seeds for the future of food. Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture, 96 (5). pp. 1409-1414. ISSN 0022-5142 (Print) 1097-0010 (Online)
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Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/jsfa.7554
The health and wellbeing of future generations will depend on humankind's ability to deliver sufficient nutritious food to a world population in excess of 9 billion. Feeding this many people by 2050 will require science-based solutions that address sustainable agricultural productivity and enable healthful dietary patterns in a more globally equitable way. This topic was the focus of a multi-disciplinary international conference hosted by Nestlé in June 2015, and provides the inspiration for the present article. The conference brought together a diverse range of expertise and organisations from the developing and industrialised world, all with a common interest in safeguarding the future of food. This article provides a snapshot of three of the recurring topics that were discussed during this conference: soil health, plant science and the future of farming practice. Crop plants and their cultivation are the fundamental building blocks for a food secure world. Whether these are grown for food or feed for livestock, they are the foundation of food and nutrient security. Many of the challenges for the future of food will be faced where the crops are grown—on the farm. Farmers need to plant the right crops and create the right conditions to maximise productivity (yield) and quality (e.g. nutritional content), whilst maintaining the environment, and earning a living. New advances in science and technology can provide the tools and know-how that will, together with a more entrepreneurial approach, help farmers to meet the inexorable demand for the sustainable production of nutritious foods for future generations.
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