Showing results for: Cereals and carbohydrate containing foods
Cereals are grasses which are cultivated for the edible components of its grain, such as rice, wheat, millet, maize and sorghum. The grains are rich in carbohydrates and provide more food energy worldwide than any other type of crop. Carbohydrates are an important component of any diet with dietary guidelines usually suggest that between 45% and 75% of dietary energy should come from carbohydrates, with the majority coming from the more complex starches. Health outcomes and nutrition are determined by the quantity consumed, the level of processing (e.g. whole grain flour is recommended rather than white) and the type (potatoes versus rice) as well as accompaniments (eg.fats, spreads, sauce). Cereals are the main staple food for the world's poorest. As diets transition, people typically eat fewer starchy staples and increase their consumption of other foods; fruits, oils, fats, sugars and animal products. Carbohydrate based foods usually have a lower carbon footprint compared to, for example, meat and dairy. Still, like most produce, they do cause an environmental impact: use of pesticides, loss of biodiversity, soil degradation and intensive water use are some of the problems associated with cereal cultivation.
This paper quantifies the economic impact of herbicide resistance developed by the weed Alopecurus myosuroides (black-grass). It finds that the annual cost of this resistance is £0.4 billion each year in England, based on lost profit from lower crop yields. The global cost of herbicide resistance could be much higher, as there are 253 known herbicide-resistant weeds.
This paper finds that replacing some rice cultivation in India with other cereals such as sorghum and millet could improve nutrient supply, decrease carbon emissions and water use, and increase the resilience of India’s food system to extreme weather events.
This briefing from the CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS) notes that demand for five cereals in sub-Saharan Africa is set to almost triple by 2050. It argues that it is possible for the region to be self-sufficient in cereals by 2050 using only the current area of cereal farmland, but that this requires significantly higher fertiliser use. To keep greenhouse gas emissions to the minimum possible will require suitable crop varieties, careful nutrient management, optimum planting densities and protection of crops against weeds, pests and diseases.
This book, edited by Mirza Hasanuzzaman, Kamrun Nahar and Mohammad Amzad Hossain, provides a comprehensive overview of the response of wheat cultivation to changing environmental conditions, including extreme temperatures, drought and ultra-violet radiation.
As agricultural production of high-yielding cereals has increased over the past half-century, production of more nutrient-rich cereals has declined. Access to food of high nutritional quality is profoundly important, especially for the 2 to 3 billion people who are undernourished, overweight, or obese or deficient in micronutrients.
Surveys show that 300 kg of edible food is wasted per person each year in Switzerland. This paper focuses on one of the foods that are wasted – potatoes – and assesses the quantity and quality of potato losses along the entire supply chain. It finds that on the way from field to fork, more than half of the potato harvest is lost.
A new paper produced by a global group of agrosystem modellers, argues that if no action is taken to adapt, the future global wheat harvest is likely to be reduced by 6 % per each degree Celsius of local temperature increase. This would correspond to 42 million tonnes of yield reduction worldwide, which equals a quarter of current global wheat trade.
The authors behind this study say that climate change has substantially increased the prospect that crop production will fail to keep up with rising demand in the next 20 years.
This is the first global study to quantify the extent to which global crop diversity has narrowed over time and how and where those changes have occurred.
This paper investigates whether current yield trajectories are adequate to achieve the production increases that many forecasts suggest are needed on existing farmland. The results indicate that the majority of global cereal crops such as rice, wheat and corn may have reached their maximum possible yields. Six statistical models were analysed to identifying the most appropriate shape of historical yield trend and the analysis makes it possible to estimate in which countries and regions yields are flat, rising, declining or plateauing.
Cassava is a "survivor" crop, able to thrive in the expected higher temperatures caused by climate change. An alliance of scientists has recently been formed to help promote cassava cultivation. The 300 scientists attending the second International Scientific Conference of the Global Cassava Partnership for the 21st Century, held in Kampala Uganda presented a new initiative called Global Cassava Modelling Consortium. The Consortium aims to help researchers share information on this increasingly important crop, to better understand the physiology of the plant and to explore avenues for protecting it from attacks.
The FAO’s 2013 report this time includes a special section on quinoa. The year 2013 has been declared “International Year of Quinoa” by the United Nations General Assembly, a tribute to a little-known agricultural product with outstanding nutritional and agronomic properties grown almost exclusively in the Andes.
This paper highlights the impacts of heat stress on yields of maize in France. It finds that while irrigation can be used to adapt to reduced rainfall, heat stress is a concern that cannot be so easily managed. It finds that assuming current climate projections, yields per hectare will need to improve by 12% between 2016 and 2035 simply to maintain current production levels.