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The first Green Revolution In 1940’s plant geneticists, began using traditional methods of cross-breeding to create plants with desirable traits Larger,

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Presentation on theme: "The first Green Revolution In 1940’s plant geneticists, began using traditional methods of cross-breeding to create plants with desirable traits Larger,"— Presentation transcript:

1 The first Green Revolution In 1940’s plant geneticists, began using traditional methods of cross-breeding to create plants with desirable traits Larger, more nutritious seeds, fruit and/or for resistance to pest and disease Focused chiefly on wheat, corn, and rice Norman Borlaug

2 The first Green Revolution Wheat variety obtained from Japan after World War 2 Up through the 1960’s, wheat varieties were bred semi-dwarfism with resistance to common diseases like rust fungus with.

3 The first Green Revolution Semi-dwarfism Shorter, stronger stems boosted grain yield from increased fertilization inputs With smaller stem and leaves, more allocation of growth and biomass to seed Shorter stem would stay upright with heavier loads of edible seed

4 Successes As a result of the Green Revolution in the 1960's, 70's and 80's, crop yields soared in India, China and Latin America. One billion deaths from starvation averted Lower food prices globally Where food remained scarce in these countries, may have been the result of politics and planning not lack of food

5 Reasons for successes Driven by nitrogen fertilizers, and rise in planting densities. Newer varieties did not yield more grain per plant, but greater planting density yields more grain per field. Newer varieties tolerated stresses associated with increased planting density Initial advances were achieved without knowledge of the molecular mechanisms responsible for the improvements in plant growth and productivity.

6 The Green Revolution is ongoing

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10 Side effects of successes of Green Revolution Uneven development: not all countries and farmers benefited equally Displacement of small farmers Increased dependency of small farmers on global markets Dependency upon fossil fuels Increased pesticide use Changes in crop diversity and plant nutritional content

11 Uneven development Crop yields average 1,500 pounds of cereals per acre in Africa compared with 2,300 pounds in India and 4,900 pounds in China in Africa lagged in part because of Diversity of crops for breeding Lack of elite germplasm to initiate breeding Political instability and the lack of infrastructure. Green Revolution breeding targeted only certain crops that grow in rich soils with ample access to water. Plants for marginal lands not targeted Asking many African farmers to invest in Green Revolution technology meant asking them to invest in fragile plants in a harsh landscape.

12 African independence (1960s- 1970s)

13 Displacement of small farmers Monoculture export crops grown on plantations replaced diverse types of traditional agriculture Food crops replaced by export products. Land became concentrated with large landholders who can afford land and the cost of inputs Subsequent neoliberal economics and free trade forced small farmers to participate in global markets often to their detriment.

14 Haber process of fertilizer production Greater dependency on fossil fuels Increased dependency upon Irrigation Fossil fuels for tractors, production of chemical inputs (pesticides), and for fertilizer production

15 Price of food tied to price of fuel

16 Increased pesticide use

17 Changes in plants and their foods Loss of nutritional content

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20 Loss of genetic diversity Uniformity in genetic makeup increases susceptibility to disease On average, across all crops grown in the US. over 90% of the varieties grown 100 years ago are no longer in commercial production or maintained in major seed storage facilities. In 1903, US seed catalogs listed 408 pea varieties; only 25 can be found now (a 95% decrease) and by 1970, just two pea varieties comprised 96% of the US commercial crop. Nine varieties of wheat occupy half of all the wheat land in the US. Citrus greening Fusarium wilt

21 Loss of genetic diversity On average, across all crops grown in the US. over 90% of the varieties grown 100 years ago are no longer in commercial production or maintained in major seed storage facilities. In 1903, US seed catalogs listed 408 pea varieties; only 25 can be found now (a 95% decrease) and by 1970, just two pea varieties comprised 96% of the US commercial crop. Nine varieties of wheat occupy half of all the wheat land in the US.

22 Loss of genetic diversity A landrace is a local variety of a domesticated animal or plant species which has developed largely by adaptation to the natural and cultural environment in which it lives. More genetically and phenotypically (physically) diverse than formal breeds. Analogous to heirloom varietals

23 In India farmers have planted 30,000 different varieties of rice over the past 50 years, with the varieties grown in a region closely matched to its soils, climate and so forth. With the advent of green revolution varieties, this has changed. It is estimated that 75% of all rice fields in India were planted to just 10 varieties in 2005.

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28 Feeding 11 billion people by 2100? Over the past half-century, human population has doubled but food production has more than kept pace Fraction of people with insufficient food has declined dramatically, from 60% in 1960 to about 15% in 2010 Nonetheless, 1 billion people remain chronically underfed and another 2 billion suffer from micronutrient deficiencies. Need a doubling of crop production between 2005 and 2050 Is it imperative, then, to accelerate increases in agricultural production?

29 A second Green Revolution powered by biotechnology?

30 Challenges to the next Green Revolution Must meet the needs of small-scale farmers and rural populations Must feed a much larger urban population Greater number of urban residents than urban for first time in history. Dependent upon who controls remaining suitable agricultural land Land grabbing in the tropics Must balance agricultural demands with conservation and associated human rights The tropical agriculture time bomb Climate unpredictability due to rising CO2 levels Degree to which GMO foods are accepted

31 Meeting the needs of food producers

32 Fair trade Commodity chain identification to insure that fair and equitable local advantages accrue in a global marketplace Example: coffee Con: Fair trade can become commodified and an exclusionary mechanism

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34 Feeding a large urban population Dhaka

35 Urban agriculture

36 Vertical agriculture and indoor farming

37 Control of remaining suitable agricultural land

38 Land grabbing

39 The tropical time bomb Increasing global food demand, including from Africa, which has an emerging middle class from Ghana and Nigeria down to Angola Remaining arable land is found in tropics Major expansion and intensification of tropical agriculture, especially in Sub- Saharan Africa and South America. May result in augmented loss and alteration of tropical old-growth forests and semi-arid environments; May intensify conflicts between food production and nature conservation.

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42 Increasing CO2 threatens human nutrition Percentage change of nutrients at elevated levels of CO2

43 To GMO or not to GMO?


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