Food Crops for the Future
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CTA. 1989. Food Crops for the Future. Spore 20. CTA, Wageningen, The Netherlands.
Permanent link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10568/45053
Trudge C. 1987. Food Crops for the Future. ISBN 0 63115082 X Available at UKL 9.95 from: Basil Blackwell Inc 108 Cowley Road Oxford OX4 1JF UK
The world could be fed', runs the last line in Food Crops for the Future. This is the positive message expressed throughout this book which looks at the problems surrounding the mammoth task of feeding the ten billion people expected to be inhabiting the earth in 50 years' time. In order to feed the world's population, an artificial selection of plants will have to supplement or replace a <<natural>> selection. Crops will have to be raised under unfavourable conditions such as areas of semi-desert and on salt-laden soils and a certain degree of manipulation of plants will be needed to achieve this. Today, some 750 million people live in the semi-arid tropics where rainfall is low. Increasing food produchon here will not depend on high inputs, but more on the research and improvement of locally-grown crops. Included in the blanket term < improvement>> are such qualities as increased resistance to pests and diseases, more responsiveness to local growing practices and environmental conditions, and raising of yields and quality of produce. The book looks at the possibilities of converting edible plants into food crops, including those such as the winged bean, which have hitherto remained virtually unexploited. The author also includes an historical analysis and survey of common food plants and a readable and easily understood introduction to genetics and plant breeding. Other topics which will play an important role in determining how successful future food production will be, such as nitrogen fixation and the problems of genetic conservation, gene banks and patenting dilemmas are all well explained. Although the overriding message from the book is a positive one, the sobering realities of the situation are starkly exposed. The solutions to the food problem are indeed available, but they are expensive. The guidance of the customer, or the tastes or orders of those who can afford to pay, will determine which food crops will be developed. In short, it will take a fulI and global cooperative effort to ensure that millions of people throughout the world do not go hungry 50 years from now, as they do today. Suggestions as to how this cooperahon will be achieved are the only major items missing from the pages of this book. . Trudge C. 1987. Food Crops for the Future. ISBN 0 63115082 X Available at UKL 9.95 from: Basil Blackwell Inc 108 Cowley Road Oxford OX4 1JF UK