June 19, 2019
Latest News

Lack of diverse global diet takes toll on biodiversity

By Belén Delgado

Rome, May 22 (efe-epa).- The global diet is largely based on five staple crops and this is taking a toll on the wellbeing of humans and the planet, an agricultural and biodiversity expert said Wednesday.

Of the more than 6,000 species of crops that exist, rice, wheat, corn, millet and sorghum account for 50 percent of what the world's population consumes in a concentrated diet that is beginning to have an impact on the environment, according to Bioversity International, an organization that lobbies to safeguard agriculture and biodiversity.

"What we eat from our plate to an extent determines what happens with agricultural biodiversity," Juan Lucas Restrepo, director general of BI told Efe.

He added that biodiversity is suffering due to the specific and small range of foods that are consumed across the world.

"Farmers have stopped using and have lost 90 percent of the cultivated seeds they had one hundred years ago," Restrepo said.

The "green revolution", which kicked off in the 1950s, has been instrumental in transforming agricultural systems into something that is now far more homogenous.

"The obsession of agricultural policies was to feed the hungry.

"Productivity and competitivity increased by simplifying production systems, shifting towards monoculture techniques, intensifying the use of chemicals and with a considerable genetic improvement," he continued.

Hunger was somewhat diminished but other problems surfaced along the way such as a lack of micronutrients and a rise in obesity levels, which affects around two billion people.

Monoculture plantations are altering ecosystems in a worrying manner due to the ruthless deforestation of vast areas and, according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature, crop production is directly responsible for threatening six of every 10 species that are in danger of extinction.

The latest report published by the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) warned of catastrophe.

One million animal and plant species face the threat of extinction in what IPBES says is an unprecedented global decline of nature that requires urgent action.

During an event organized by the UN on Food and Agriculture last week, Costa Rica's environment minister Carlos Manuel Rodríguez said that climate change is a secondary effect of something much larger, given that what is being damaged is the system that supports life on Earth.

As part of celebrations to mark International Day for Biological Diversity on Wednesday, Restrepo is urging the global community to find a solution to the "bottleneck" agriculture finds itself in and to aim to broaden biodiversity by modifying the crops that are cultivated and animals that are farmed.

This would require a shift that would mean farming more with microorganisms that are found in the soil and plants, something that was not used in the techniques of the green revolution, despite its focus on the health of plants, he added.

"In the genetic diversity of plants, there is a large part of the solution to climate change," Restrepo continued.

He gave as an example a type of ancient and tougher wheat found in Ethiopia that works better than the commercial varieties.

His organization, which has teamed up with the International Center for Tropical Agriculture, launched 45 years ago when it started a program to safeguard agriculture by creating seed-banks and preserving traditional farming knowledge and methods.

During this time the organization has worked to preserve rocket, oregano, pistachio and farro.

Most recently it has channeled efforts to safeguard quinoa, leafy indigenous vegetables and smaller millets amongst many other highly nutritious foods.

Joyce Njoro, a technical nutrition specialist working with the International Fund for Agricultural Development, said the drive to cultivate crops that have been sidelined will improve the safety of nutrition and increase the revenues of producers whilst ensuring a healthy diet for consumers.

The biggest challenge, Njoro added, is to integrate these crops into the market. EFE-epa


News history
Red Cross gives Venezuelan hospitals mosquito nets to battle malaria

Caracas, Jun 19 (efe-epa).- The Red Cross will distribute mosquito nets to hospitals in Venezuela to counter the spread of malaria, a disaster management...

Panama's San Blas archipelago being swallowed by the sea

Maria M. Mur

Thousands protest in Nepal against controversial bill

Kathmandu, June 19 (efe-epa).- Thousands of protesters gathered in the Nepal capital on Wednesday demanding the government to scrap a controversial bill to...

High levels of trust in vaccines globally, South Asia tops list

By Clea House

10 years after Spanish missionary's death, his legacy in India lives on

By Noemí Jabois

HRW: Dominican women being denied sexual, reproductive rights

Santo Domingo, Jun 18 (efe-epa).- Teenage girls in the Dominican Republic are being denied their sexual and reproductive rights, including access to safe...

Trump threatens to quickly deport millions of undocumented immigrants

Washington DC, Jun 17 (efe-epa).- The president of the United States on Monday said that immigration enforcement authorities would begin deporting millions...

United Nations, Jun 17 (EFE).- The Earth will be home to some 9.7 billion people in 2050 and 11 billion in 2100, although the population will grow at a...

Indian doctors stage strike demanding security at hospitals

New Delhi, Jun 17 (efe-epa).- Doctors across India on Monday went on strike to protest against the lack of security after a mob attacked healthcare...

G20 agrees to create international framework to reduce marine plastic waste

Tokyo, Jun 16 (efe-epa).- Energy and environment ministers of the G20 countries on Sunday agreed on the creation of an international framework that urges...

A fragile Notre Dame Cathedral holds first Mass since devastating fire

Paris, Jun 15 (efe-epa).- Two months after being devastated by fire, Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris held its first Mass this Saturday in conditions still...

Notre Dame of Paris to hold first mass since devastating fire in April

By Catalina Guerrero

Congo Ebola outbreak not a global emergency, World Health Org. says

Geneva, Jun 14 (efe-epa).- The World Health Organization (WHO) said Friday that the Ebola outbreak blamed for more than 1,400 deaths in the Democratic...

Surfing: Panama's therapy for kids with autism

By Rogelio Adonican Osorio

Slum Manila: A portrait of urban poverty in the Philippines

By Sara Gómez Armas

Five Myanmar nationals, Thai boat captain charged with people smuggling

Bangkok, Jun 14 (efe-epa).- Five Myanmar boat crew-members and the Thai captain of the vessel found stranded on a southern Thai island with 65 Rohingya...

Sole suspect in Christchurch mosque shooting pleads not guilty on all charges

Sydney, Australia, Jun 14 (efe-epa).- The man accused of perpetrating a terror attack against two mosques in New Zealand that killed 51 people on Friday...

Venezuelans gather at Ecuador border trying to get to Peru

By Christian A. Sanchez

Hindu devotees convene for prayers at temple in the Himalayas

Kedarnath Temple is a Hindu place of worship dedicated to Lord Shiva, one of the religion’s main deities.

Fresh outbreak of Ebola kills two in Uganda after sweeping through DR Congo

Kampala, Jun 13 (efe-epa).- A grandmother in Uganda has died on Thursday, days after her five-year-old grandson and her contracted Ebola.

Community kitchen in London whips up Michelin star meals for the homeless

By Judith Mora

Slum Manila: A portrait of urban poverty in the Philippines

By Sara Gómez Armas

House committee votes to hold AG Barr, Commerce Sect. Ross in contempt

Washington, Jun 12 (efe-epa).- The House Oversight Committee on Wednesday approved a resolution to hold US Attorney General William Barr and Commerce...

Mexico to hold permanent talks on immigration with regional neighbors

Mexico City, Jun 12 (efe-epa).- Mexico will hold permanent discussions on the immigration phenomenon with Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala, according to...

I agree Welcome to news4europe.eu. We use cookies to improve your online experience. Find out more.