World Bank and AFDB to Support Nigeria,other with $47.5b on Climate Change

Nigeria and other African countries will benefit from the World Bank and the African Development Bank funding. They are about to commit $47.5bn by 2025 to help African countries tackle the effects of climate change.

Despite contributing four per cent of the global greenhouse-gas emissions, more than 65 per cent of Africa’s population is directly impacted by climate change, according to the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa.

 It said considering Africa’s high vulnerability despite contributing the least to climate change, the AfDB had successfully raised its adaptation finance from less than 30 per cent of total climate finance to parity with mitigation in 2018.

Adesina said, “The required level of financing is only feasible with the direct involvement of the entire financial sector. Consequently, the bank launched the African Financial Alliance for Climate Change to link all stock exchanges, pension and sovereign wealth funds, central banks and other financial institutions of Africa to mobilise and incentivise the shift of their portfolios towards low carbon and climate resilient investments.”

He said it was not good enough to simply ask countries to stay away from polluting technologies.

“We have to be proactive in exploring alternatives. We will, therefore, be launching the ‘green baseload’ facility under the Sustainable Energy Fund for Africa, to provide concessional finance and technical assistance to support the penetration and scale-up of renewable energy, to provide affordable and reliable renewable energy baseload,” Adesina added.

According to the statement, several donors, including Canada, Denmark, Germany, Norway, Italy, the United Kingdom and United States Agency for International Development have indicated their interest in the instrument, which will also help to replace coal.

It said the AfDB had played a critical role in building Africa’s clean energy capacities, adding that the bank’s last investment in a coal project was 10 years ago.

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CBN Governor Seeks Support for Cotton Producers

 The Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Godwin Emefiele, is seeking financial support from the Apex bank for cotton producers at a single digit rate, he stated this at a meeting with cotton producers in Abuja.

Mr Emefiele used the opportunity to warn commercial banks and Bureau the Change operators to desist from giving importers of textile material access to foreign exchange.

According to him, the restriction will help revive the nation’s cotton industry.

He noted that textile companies in the country operate below 20 per cent of their production capacities and its workforce now at 20,000, describing the intervention by the CBN as timely.

He said the CBN will help the sector to contribute to the nation’s socio-economic development.

Nigeria had about 180 textile mills in the early 70s and 80s which provided jobs for over 450,000 people but now the textile mills have closed down, many have lost their jobs and the nation now depends on importation of textiles to meet its growing need for clothing.

With the policies of the Buhari-led government this will change with the support from the CBN.

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Nigeria Economic Outlook

The growing importance of services has bolstered growth in the economy. The sector accounts for about half of GDP, dwarfing the 10% from oil and 22% from agriculture. Real GDP growth was an estimated 1.9% in 2018, reflecting a recovery in services and industry— particularly mining, quarrying, and manufacturing. The recovery benefited from greater availability of foreign exchange. Growth in agriculture was lackluster, due partly to clashes between farmers and herders coupled with flooding in key middle-belt regions and continued insurgency in the northeast.

On the macroeconomic front, the delay by parliament in approving the 2018 budget affected implementation and increased fiscal uncertainty by pushing the bulk of spending to the second half of the year. But thanks to oil revenues, a value added tax on luxury items, and a tax amnesty, the fiscal deficit narrowed in 2018, financed mainly by public debt.

By June 2018, the stock of public debt stood at $73.2 billion, up from $71.0 billion in 2017, representing 17.5% of GDP. Despite the increase, Nigeria remained at moderate risk of debt distress. In November 2018, the government issued a Eurobond of $2.9 billion, which reflects its new debt management strategy of prioritizing foreign debt to mitigate the high financing costs of domestic borrowing. Furthermore, relatively strong oil receipts solidified the current account surplus to an estimated 3.7% and bolstered improvements in the terms of trade by about 13% in 2018 alone.

Real GDP is projected to grow by 2.3% in 2019 and 2.4% in 2020 as implementation of the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan gains pace. However, the slide in oil prices from late 2018 coupled with an output cut imposed by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries poses a downside risk to the economic outlook. Parliament’s approval of the 8.83 trillion naira 2019 “budget of continuity” may also be delayed due to presidential elections scheduled for February 2019.

Tailwinds and headwinds

The outlook depends on the pace of implementing the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan, which anchors Nigeria’s industrialization by establishing industrial clusters and staple crop processing zones to give firms a competitive edge through access to raw materials, skilled labor, technology, and materials.

The Power Sector Reform Program, if effectively implemented, could attract private investment. It targets 10 gigawatts of operational capacity by 2020. But Nigeria needs to reorient its federal budget, currently dominated by recurrent spending, toward more capital expenditure and accumulating savings to sustain social spending.

The federal government has made strides with institutional and governance reforms, including implementation of the Integrated Financial Management and Information System and the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System. The enactment of the Secured Transactions in Movable Assets Act 2017 has institutionalized and widened coverage of collateral to stimulate lending to small and medium enterprises. Although Nigeria has a relatively low debt-to-GDP ratio, there is need for fiscal prudence to avoid a debt trap, especially as global interest rates start to rise. Therefore, contraction of new external debt should balance spending needs with capacity to improve the economy’s competitiveness and stimulate growth.

Nigeria accounts for nearly 20% of continental GDP and about 75% of the West Africa economy. Despite this dominance, its exports to rest of Africa are estimated at 12.7%, and only 3.7% of total trade is within the Economic Community of West African States. Nigeria has yet to ratify the Continental Free Trade Agreement, pending the outcome of broad consultations with captains of industry and other stakeholders.

Source: Africa Economic Outlook AEO 2019

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Nigeria Overtakes Egypt In Rice Production

Nigeria has overtaken Egypt as the largest rice producer in Africa, Director-General,Africa Rice Center, Benin Republic, Dr Harold Roy-Macauley has said .

Roy-Macauley, told The Nation that Nigeria is now the largest rice producer at 4 million tonnes a year.

Egypt was producing 4.3 tonnes annually but production has reduction by almost 40 percent this year, attributed to the Egyptian government decision to limit cultivated to preserve water resources.

Nigeria has overtaken Egypt as the largest rice producer in Africa, Director-General,Africa Rice Center, Benin Republic, Dr Harold Roy-Macauley has said .

Roy-Macauley, told The Nation that Nigeria is now the largest rice producer at 4 million tonnes a year.

Egypt was producing 4.3 tonnes annually but production has reduction by almost 40 percent this year, attributed to the Egyptian government decision to limit cultivated to preserve water resources.

Egypt rice cultivation requires about 1.8 billion metres of water in evaporation, transpiration and irrigation each year.

Africa produces an average of 14.6 million tonnes of rough rice annually.

He said there were efforts to increase overall rice production in Africa but expressed doubts that it will curb rice importation as population has increased across the continent.

He said consumers are looking for rice that safe and certified.

To meet expectations, he said his centre is ready to partner with Nigeria and other governments in Africa to train farmers, extension officers and exporters on best practice’s in cultivation and post- harvest care and to understand market requirements.

Roy- Macauley stressed the African rice value chain needs to be better integrated and be capable of competing with imported rice in terms of quality.

He added that the goal to achieving rice self- sufficiency is not just about on farm assistance but also involves introducing rice varieties that fit the diverse African agro-ecologies, improve irrigation facilities and disseminate rice growing techniques to farmers.

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AFDB Reforested Kenya Forests

Between 1980 and 2000, Kenya lost nearly 50% of its forest cover. Some 300,000 hectares of forest were destroyed due to intensive logging, charcoal production and large-scale clearance of wooded areas for tea plantations.

Symbolic of this destruction is the Mau Forest, at 273,000 hectares the largest forested area in Kenya with a seven-lake drainage basin covering more than 69,000 km2, from which one quarter of its canopy had disappeared, threatening the survival not only of millions of wildebeest and thousands of gazelles and buffaloes migrating through Kenya and Tanzania, but also of riparian communities.

But, thanks to implementation of the Green Zones Development Support Project, with US$38.8 million in funding from the African Development Bank, more than 14,000 hectares of forest were replanted between 2007 and 2016, in order to stem this deadly trend.

Years of overexploitation of forest resources without respect for ecosystems had left bare the hills around Joseph Kimani’s house. Deforestation had even caused a local river in the Rift Valley to choke up. On these cleared areas threatened by drought and famine, Kimani, a community manager aged around 50, found himself up against the wall, just like neighbours — farmers and loggers –  living near the Mau Forest.

Massive deforestation was followed by more frequent flooding, while the rivers shrunk  to a trickle during the dry season. It looked like the end for any kind of agriculture. “It was very difficult. We didn’t have enough money to get us out of it,” said Ann Ruto, a farmer from the village of Simotwet, in the Rift Valley.

This was a critical situation that not only imperilled thousands of animal and plant species and the indigenous population, but also aroused concerns about the economic future of Kenya, since vital sectors, including agriculture, tourism and energy depend on the natural environment.

The details of reforestation projects are:

  • US$38.8 million contribution from African Development Bank
  • 14,300 hectares rewooded between 2007 and 2016
  • 3,000 sustainable jobs created in communities bordering forests
  • 17,100 households (40% headed by women) have seen their incomes increase.
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Farmers Must Protect their Animals from Plastic Consumption

Cattle farmers need to protect their stocks from consumption of plastic materials and other dangerous objects because it results into huge financial loses.

The dairy and cattle farmers are responsible for the cows welfare, after milking and grazing them,they are allowed the cows scavenge or find food available in dumps of debris lying in the urban areas.

Cows are usually seen on the roadsides eating away the plastic bags and their contents in search of food items. The ingested polythene hinders the process of fermentation and mixing of contents leading to indigestion. They also obstruct the orifice between reticulum and omasum. Plastic bags cannot be digested or passed as such through faeces by an animal and stay permanently in the gut causing pain and death.

Globally, billions of dollars are post annually by cattle farmers to ingestion of hard plastic, nylon, broken needle, wire, nails etc.

There is no symptoms that reveal that they have invested waste but only seen at the point of slaughter in the abattoir and cows that are severely affected suffer weight loss, low milk production, poor appetite and fever.

Robin Hood a french environmental protection NGO reported that over 60,000 cow suffer from tumors and infection caused by accumulation of waste in their rumens.

The following are the effects of plastic and polythene ingestion to cows:

  • Immunosuppression:

Cows with polythenes in their stomach also suffer from immunosuppression which is as a result of perpetual discomfort the their systems leading to increased sensitivity to various infections particularly of haemorrhagic septicemia.

  • Rumen Impaction:

Rumen is impacted  as a result of large quantities of polythene bags/plastics in rumen accumulated over a period of time which results into rumenatony and decrease in rumen motility.

  • Indigestion:

Plastic materials and polythene do not degrade in rumen/reticulum causing blockage in the orifice and. affects the rumen microflora leading to indigestion of feed.    . The blockage come as a result of ruminal movements thereby trapping feed in between polythenes which becomes tight due to ruminal movements.

  • Gas Accumulation in the GIT

Plastics/Polythene injestion can cause accumulation of gases in rumen which can lead to bloat or tympany which becomes fatal, if the gases are not properly removed. It can lead to dyspnoea and death.

  • Inflammation of the Rumen

Formation of stones in digestive tract and around polythenes may also be observed and the hard mass may hinder food passage causing pain and inflammation of rumen.

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China to Improve Agric Reform to Boost the Rural Areas

China will deepen reforms of its agriculture sector to promote its rural economy, the government said in its first policy statement of 2019, as it seeks to bolster growth and offset trade challenges.

Beijing’s statement, released late on Tuesday, comes after the world’s second-largest economy saw its weakest growth in 28 years in 2018 and remains entangled in a trade war with Washington.

“Under the complicated situation of increasing downward pressure on the economy and profound changes in the external environment, it is of special importance to do a good job in agriculture and rural areas,” the government said in the document issued by the State Council and published by official news agency Xinhua.

Known as the “No 1 document”, this year’s policy reiterated a rural rejuvenation strategy first laid out in 2017 to improve income levels and living standards in China’s countryside.

It also highlighted a plan to boost domestic soybean production but did not offer further details.

Known as the “No 1 document”, this year’s policy reiterated a rural rejuvenation strategy first laid out in 2017 to improve income levels and living standards in China’s countryside.

It also highlighted a plan to boost domestic soybean production but did not offer further details.

Industry analysts said on Wednesday they were eagerly awaiting further details to assess the impact of the plan, which had already been flagged by Agriculture Minister Han Changfu earlier this month.

China has been overhauling its crop structure in recent years, reducing support for corn after stocks ballooned, and seeking to promote more planting of oilseeds that it mostly imports.

That goal has become increasingly important since a trade war with the United States, which led China to slap tariffs on soybean imports, tightening domestic supplies.

Han has previously urged authorities in China’s northeast to support soybean production through subsidies and called for rotating of soybeans with other crops including corn and wheat.

Beijing also aims to support the production of rapeseed in the Yangtze River Basin, according to the document.

A farmer picks tea leaves in Mianxian county, Shaanxi province. Beijing’s policy document reiterated a strategy to improve income levels and living standards in China’s countryside. Photo: XinhuaA farmer picks tea leaves in Mianxian county, Shaanxi province. Beijing’s policy document reiterated a strategy to improve income levels and living standards in China’s countryside. Photo: Xinhua

China to deepen reforms of agriculture sector to boost rural areas

  • Policy statement outlines broad goals including plan to revive domestic soybean production
Topic |  Food and agriculture

China will deepen reforms of its agriculture sector to promote its rural economy, the government said in its first policy statement of 2019, as it seeks to bolster growth and offset trade challenges.

Beijing’s statement, released late on Tuesday, comes after the world’s second-largest economy saw its weakest growth in 28 years in 2018 and remains entangled in a trade war with Washington.

“Under the complicated situation of increasing downward pressure on the economy and profound changes in the external environment, it is of special importance to do a good job in agriculture and rural areas,” the government said in the document issued by the State Council and published by official news agency Xinhua.

The biggest winners in Shenzhen, ‘China’s Silicon Valley’? Pig and chicken farmers

Known as the “No 1 document”, this year’s policy reiterated a rural rejuvenation strategy first laid out in 2017 to improve income levels and living standards in China’s countryside.

It also highlighted a plan to boost domestic soybean production but did not offer further details.

Chinese President Xi Jinping visits a farm in northeastern Heilongjiang province during an inspection tour in September. Photo: Xinhua via AP
Chinese President Xi Jinping visits a farm in northeastern Heilongjiang province during an inspection tour in September. Photo: Xinhua via AP

Industry analysts said on Wednesday they were eagerly awaiting further details to assess the impact of the plan, which had already been flagged by Agriculture Minister Han Changfu earlier this month.

China has been overhauling its crop structure in recent years, reducing support for corn after stocks ballooned, and seeking to promote more planting of oilseeds that it mostly imports.

That goal has become increasingly important since a trade war with the United States, which led China to slap tariffs on soybean imports, tightening domestic supplies.

Han has previously urged authorities in China’s northeast to support soybean production through subsidies and called for rotating of soybeans with other crops including corn and wheat.

Beijing also aims to support the production of rapeseed in the Yangtze River Basin, according to the document.

The garlic case that foreshadowed the US-China trade war

As in previous years, it also called for stable grain production, but also an increase in imports of agriculture products where there are shortages in the domestic market.

“The focus now is on retaining production capacity, in the form of high quality farmland, and using the international market to make up production shortfalls,” said Even Rogers Pay, an agriculture analyst at China Policy, a Beijing-based consultancy.

The reference to imports is positive for trade partners like the United States, said Cherry Zhang, analyst with Shanghai JC Intelligence, who said it raised the likelihood that China will buy more US agriculture products.

A farmer picks tea leaves in Mianxian county, Shaanxi province. Beijing’s policy document reiterated a strategy to improve income levels and living standards in China’s countryside. Photo: XinhuaA farmer picks tea leaves in Mianxian county, Shaanxi province. Beijing’s policy document reiterated a strategy to improve income levels and living standards in China’s countryside. Photo: Xinhua

China to deepen reforms of agriculture sector to boost rural areas

  • Policy statement outlines broad goals including plan to revive domestic soybean production
Topic |  Food and agriculture

China will deepen reforms of its agriculture sector to promote its rural economy, the government said in its first policy statement of 2019, as it seeks to bolster growth and offset trade challenges.

Beijing’s statement, released late on Tuesday, comes after the world’s second-largest economy saw its weakest growth in 28 years in 2018 and remains entangled in a trade war with Washington.

“Under the complicated situation of increasing downward pressure on the economy and profound changes in the external environment, it is of special importance to do a good job in agriculture and rural areas,” the government said in the document issued by the State Council and published by official news agency Xinhua.

The biggest winners in Shenzhen, ‘China’s Silicon Valley’? Pig and chicken farmers

Known as the “No 1 document”, this year’s policy reiterated a rural rejuvenation strategy first laid out in 2017 to improve income levels and living standards in China’s countryside.

It also highlighted a plan to boost domestic soybean production but did not offer further details.

Chinese President Xi Jinping visits a farm in northeastern Heilongjiang province during an inspection tour in September. Photo: Xinhua via AP
Chinese President Xi Jinping visits a farm in northeastern Heilongjiang province during an inspection tour in September. Photo: Xinhua via AP

Industry analysts said on Wednesday they were eagerly awaiting further details to assess the impact of the plan, which had already been flagged by Agriculture Minister Han Changfu earlier this month.

China has been overhauling its crop structure in recent years, reducing support for corn after stocks ballooned, and seeking to promote more planting of oilseeds that it mostly imports.

That goal has become increasingly important since a trade war with the United States, which led China to slap tariffs on soybean imports, tightening domestic supplies.

Han has previously urged authorities in China’s northeast to support soybean production through subsidies and called for rotating of soybeans with other crops including corn and wheat.

Beijing also aims to support the production of rapeseed in the Yangtze River Basin, according to the document.

The garlic case that foreshadowed the US-China trade war

As in previous years, it also called for stable grain production, but also an increase in imports of agriculture products where there are shortages in the domestic market.

“The focus now is on retaining production capacity, in the form of high quality farmland, and using the international market to make up production shortfalls,” said Even Rogers Pay, an agriculture analyst at China Policy, a Beijing-based consultancy.

The reference to imports is positive for trade partners like the United States, said Cherry Zhang, analyst with Shanghai JC Intelligence, who said it raised the likelihood that China will buy more US agriculture products.

China’s DJI turns its eye to enterprise uses like agriculture after conquering global commercial drone market

Shares of Chinese livestock companies, along with pig and poultry breeders, rose on Wednesday following the release of the policy paper.

The document also outlines plans to accelerate development of a new farm subsidy policy system and further crack down on the smuggling of agriculture products.

Additionally, the government said it plans to strengthen the monitoring and control of African swine fever outbreaks, after more than 100 cases were reported in China since August.

Other plans include continuing to tackle rural pollution and promoting recycling of agricultural waste such as manure and agricultural film.

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World Bank Centre Established to Improve Agric and Combat Climate Change

A world class agricultural research outfit has been established on 17th February, 2019 it’s named Centre of Excellence in Agriculture and Sustainable Development, CEADESE, at the Federal University of Abeokuta, FUNAAB, which is primarily to address the dangers posed by climate change, strengthen human and material capacity for agricultural development.

The director of the Centre, Professor Olukayode Akinyemi while taking guests and media round a new set of facilities at the centre headquarters in Abeokuta said that since it’s establishment in 2013 as one of the two of it’s kind on the continent.

Since then the establishment has been striving to ensure excellence in Agricultural research and quality student output remained on the front burner of the World Bank facility the capacity building programme of CEADESE involves introducing new postgraduate curricula leading to Master and Doctoral Degrees in Agricultural Development and Sustainable Environment in response to specific productivity challenges, short-term skill acquisition for industry stakeholders, specialized workshops and to introduce internships during post-graduate studies.”
CEADESE offers courses in Livestock Science and Sustainable Development, Agricultural Economic and Environmental Policy, Crop and Pasture Production, Food Processing and Value Addition and Environmental Systems and Agriculture.

CEADESE has agreements of partnership with a number of institutions including International Institute of Tropical Agriculture, National Centre for Agricultural Mechanisation, Aborny Calavy, INRAM, Cotonou, Benin Republic and CERSA, University of Lome, Togo.

Akinyemi revealed that due to the continental outlook of CEADESE international students are taking advantage of the opportunity to acquire innovative research experience that will ultimately lead to sustainable agricultural practices to combat the menace of climate change and improve agricultural output in Africa.

He also said, ” the research facility is not for Nigeria and Nigerians only, international students pursuing different academic specialisations and they are performing excellently.

CEADESE standard and facilities comply with best global practices.

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5 Steps to Successful Tilapia Farming

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Tilapia is an omnivorous animal because it will eat diets of both animal and plant origin.

Compared to other fish species tilapia breeds easily, ease of cultivation and it can grow in ponds or tanks if water at optimal levels of warmth is maintained.

Tilapia farming can be done in brackish or salt water and also in pond or cage systems.

Experience has shown that farmers prefer to keep only male tilapia in the grow out stage because it’s efficient and grow bigger and are more time and energy while female tilapia waste energy and doesn’t grow fast.

The five productive factors that must be considered to be successful in tilapia farming:

  • Source for good fingerlings and fish feed  Sourcing fingerlings from a reputable hatchery and using of good fish feed give farmers the best results. Tilapia is highly prolific, so it breeds easily and this usually lead to overcrowding leading to stunted growth due to competition for food and space. Farmers are advised to cultivate male fingerlings grows almost twice as fast as females. so stock more males.
  • Good Spacing  spacing can make or mar the success of achieving efficient weight gain in tilapia farming. The recommended rate is five fingerlings in a pond per metre squared and all thing being equal fingerlings will reach maturity in six to eight months.
  • The pond site

The pond site should soil type that has a good retention ability and ability to supply fresh water. It must be at at least 0.7 metreswater.

The pond should not be sited in an area prone to flood in order to prevent dirty water from entering the pond and and pond should be in a slopy area to make draining easier.Water optimal temperature required for a tilapia pond is between 25 – 35 degrees Celsius, in order to achieve this farmers can line up pond with black plastic wrap to retain heat.

The pond should be located in an area with sufficient sunlight to stimulate algae growth.

  • Water Source

Fish pond must have access to a consistent source of clean water like boreholes, well, rivers, streams, lakes or water dams.

Good quality water is important for fish production. Water must be clean to keep the water fresh and reduce incidences of disease

  •  Good Management and Biosecurity     

Farmers must manage their stocks and environment properly. It’s important to control predators,parasites and diseases Tilapia ponds must be fed with good quality feed at all times and filled with clean water to control parasites and diseases.

The farm environment should be clean of bushes,use a wire net fence around and over the pond, and the inlet and outlet pipes must be properly covered to prevent predators from accessing the pond. Cover your inlets and outlets to keep out predators and insects.

Farmers who want to do tilapia farming profitably must adhere strictly to doing it efficiently, it’s also imperatthe to consult an experienced vet or expert if there’s a need to use medication.

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Research Shows Few Crops Dominating Globally

University of Toronto study shows that globally we’re growing more of the same kinds of crops, and this presents major challenges for agricultural sustainability on a global scale.

The study, done by an international team of researchers led by U of T assistant professor Adam Martin, used data from the U.N.’s Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) to look at which crops were grown where on large-scale industrial farmlands from 1961 to 2014.

They found that within regions crop diversity has actually increased — in North America for example, 93 different crops are now grown compared to 80 back in the 1960s. The problem, Martin says, is that on a global scale we’re now seeing more of the same kinds of crops being grown on much larger scales.

In other words, large industrial-sized farms in all over the world are beginning to look the same.

“What we’re seeing is large monocultures of crops that are commercially valuable being grown in greater numbers around the world,” says Martin, who is an ecologist in the Department of Physical and Environmental Sciences at U of T Scarborough.

“So large industrial farms are often growing one crop species, which are usually just a single genotype, across thousands of hectares of land.”

Soybeans, wheat, rice and corn are prime examples. These four crops alone occupy just shy of 50 per cent of the world’s entire agricultural lands, while the remaining 152 crops cover the rest.

It’s widely assumed that the biggest change in global agricultural diversity took part during the so-called Columbia exchange of the 15th and 16th centuries where commercially important plant species were being transported to different parts of the world.

But the authors found that in the 1980s there was a massive increase in global crop diversity as different types of crops were being grown in new places on an industrial scale for the first time. By the 1990s that diversity flattened out, and what’s happened since is that diversity across regions began to decline.

The lack of genetic diversity within individual crops is pretty obvious, says Martin. For example, in North America, six individual genotypes comprise about 50 per cent of all maize (corn) crops.

This decline in global crop diversity is an issue for a number of reasons. For one, it affects regional food sovereignty. “If regional crop diversity is threatened, it really cuts into people’s ability to eat or afford food that is culturally significant to them,” says Martin.

There is also an ecological issue; think potato famine, but on a global scale. Martin says if there’s increasing dominance by a few genetic lineages of crops, then the global agricultural system becomes increasingly susceptible to pests or diseases.

He points to a deadly fungus that continues to devastate banana plantations around the world as an example.

He hopes to apply the same global-scale analysis to look at national patterns of crop diversity as a next step for the research. Martin adds that there’s a policy angle to consider, since government decisions that favour growing certain kinds of crops may contribute to a lack of diversity.

“It will be important to look at what governments are doing to promote more different types of crops being grown, or at a policy-level, are they favouring farms to grow certain types of cash crops,” he says.

The study, which is published in the journal PLOS ONE, received funding from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC)

Story Source:

University of Toronto.

By Don Campbell.

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