How Crops Diversity Can Sustain Global Food Supply
Just four crops (maize, rice, wheat, and soybean) provide over 60% of the world’s food. This is a challenge now and a huge risk in the future. Can we be sure that, by themselves, a few “major” crops will nourish over 9 billion people on a warming planet? Our reliance on major crops makes our global food supply extremely vulnerable to climate change. Their failure to yield in major food-exporting regions would render large parts of the global population susceptible to food insecurity. Sayed Azam-Ali has spent his life addressing this problem. As Professor of Global Food Security at the University of Nottingham and CEO of Crops for the Future, he advocates the diversification of global agriculture to include crops that are currently underutilised but have the potential to be “crops of the future”. The rediscovery and consumption of so-called “forgotten foods” can help break the wall of food insecurity. Combined with new agricultural practices, processing methods and policies, the demand for forgotten foods can make the global food system more resilient to climate change, our diets more nutritious, and our food cultures more interesting. Furthermore, greater crop diversity allows farmers to cultivate “climate-resilient” crops that produce nutritious and marketable ingredients on landscapes that are increasingly marginal for the major species. At Falling Walls, Sayed discusses how crop diversification and forgotten foods are a true game changer and provides a glimpse into his relentless work to make humanity’s food supply more independent, resilient, and nutritious.