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The Future of Food: Seeds of Resilience

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Published: Tue, 01 Aug 2017

Agriculture: Food for Life

Number of words: 537

Writer’s name: Kush Upadhyay

Address: 1127 Meredith Way, Folsom, CA 95630

Phone number: 9165009613

Date of birth: 04/21/1999

School name: Vista Del Lago High School

Grade: 4.0

I referred to a paper titled “The Future of Food: Seeds of Resilience” published by “Global Alliance for the Future of Food” in September 2016. The publication for focused on several aspects of improving the agro industry.

Global Alliance believes that diverse and robust seed systems are central to sustainable food systems that are renewable, healthy and interconnected. They understand the urgency for supporting farmer managed seed systems in order to enhance seed diversity.

Bettina Haussmann, who works across Mali, Burkina Faso, and Niger with the Collaborative Crop Research Program, talks about women’s important role in agricultural biodiversity and the link to nutrition: “Working specifically with women farmers to cultivate and maintain local crop and varietal diversity could be a chance to (re-) link agriculture with nutrition, to improve dietary diversity in rural families and to achieve desired nutritional results and the reduction of malnutrition and hidden hunger.”

Bettina Haussmann discuss about the link between daily value of agricultural biodiversity and its preservation: “By valuing specific crops and varieties as healthy food and possibly creating a local value chain and local markets, farmers can be encouraged to add these crops and varieties to their existing portfolio, for improving family nutrition and also for income generation purposes.”

Jean-Louis Pham of Agropolis Fondation describes how community based seed systems are diverse and complex entities: “There is a diversity of seed systems because of the diversity of eco-geographical and economic conditions, of the crop reproductive biology, of cultural factors, etc. Between yam seed systems in Benin and the rice seed systems in the Philippines, differences are huge, even though one can reasonably attempt to describe them with a single theoretical framework. It results from this diversity and complexity over space and time that ways to sustain, protect, and strengthen community based seed systems will have to be diverse, tailored and adaptive. In a sense, there is no ‘best way’ to protect and strengthen community based seed systems-there are ways which are appropriate or not depending on the situation.

Bettina Haussmann suggests we move to a more systems-oriented approach to breeding, where the different functions of a crop or cultivar in the production system are considered and improved/optimized. She writes: “Such an approach actually includes a paradigm shift from promoting just a few ‘best-bet’ varieties to promotion of functional diversity via the development of a portfolio of ‘”best-fit'” varieties (varieties that are specifically adapted to different contexts, functions and needs). To enable this, a paradigm shift is needed from considering farmers just as ‘beneficiaries’ and passive ‘adopters’ to considering farmers as real partners who inform and advise the crop improvement process.”

I would like to conclude the information gained through the publication by referring to the idea that emerges from the compendium, strengthening agricultural biodiversity requires action at the local, regional, national and international levels. The earnestness is clear. Horticultural biodiversity is the key to the eventual fate of food and our planet. The contributors boost upon the significance of supporting group based seed system, and suggest that contributors, governments, analysts, and common society associations adjust their needs to this objective. The Global Alliance for the Future of Food is stressing the significance of farming biodiversity to sustainable food frameworks.

Referring the Authors

BETTINA HAUSSMANN is the West Africa Liaison Scientist to the McKnight Foundation Collaborative Crop Research Program, and is based at the University of Hohenheim in Stuttgart, Germany. Haussmann’s past work at the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) Sahelian Centre in Niamey, Niger, resulted in a regionally coordinated strategy for pearl millet improvement in West Africa.

JEAN-LOUIS PHAM is a plant geneticist with Institut de recherche pour le développement (IRD), a French interdisciplinary research organization focused on rural issues in Africa, the Mediterranean, Latin America and Asia. Pham has a wealth of field experience in West Africa and the Philippines and is the author of dozens of peer reviewed research papers. He is


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