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NewsThe food of the future... a major turning point in favor of...

The food of the future… a major turning point in favor of “unknown cultures”


This is highlighted by a report from the Royal Botanic Gardens (Kew), a non-departmental public body in the UK under the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, a research and education institution in botany of international importance. In a report published on its website this month, the authority notes that:

Of more than 7,000 edible plants in the world, only 417 are food crops. The lack of diverse diets is a challenge for the world’s population. Just 3 cultivated plants are the staple food for over 4 billion people. Q scientists shed light on future foods that can diversify diets and address global food shortages.

Our food is in danger

The report states that “our food is in danger”, as it faces various risks; From changing land use, pests and diseases to climate change, a change in temperature of just 1-2 degrees threatens to put an end to many of our favorite daily foods.

Cairo climate change consultant, Maher Aziz, comments in exclusive statements on the “Sky News Arabia Economy” website, on the agriculture sector’s links to climate change and adaptation efforts in this context, saying:

The agricultural sector in general is one of the most important sectors affected by climate change. There are huge adaptation measures that the sector is witnessing all over the world, depending on the nature of the weather which differs from country to country. In places where temperatures are rising, research centers are making huge efforts to develop crops that are resistant to high temperatures. Similarly, in places where the salinity of the land is increasing, there are also efforts to develop crops that cope with salinity, and other efforts to develop crops that are resistant to the various effects of climate change.

In this context, the climate change expert points out that specialized research centers and universities play a major role in how to adapt to the effects of climate change in terms of achieving the least possible negative consequences of the crisis. on food production and all crops, whether for human food or fodder as well as industrial production, with its utmost importance linked to human life.

Aziz points out that some countries in the world have managed to achieve crops that are resistant to drought or water shortage, crops that are resistant to high temperatures, others that are resistant to frost, crops that are resistant to strong winds and many other ideas in the agricultural sector to adapt, and to cope with all the changing conditions in any form and in any way, so as not to affect agricultural production.

In response to a question on “To what extent can climate change contribute to modifying habitual eating habits?” And in light of studies that spoke of the disappearance of certain crops and foodstuffs in the future, the climate change consultant says: Certainly there are changes, but work is underway to be within its minimum limits , like mixing flour with corn flour. in areas facing a wheat growing problem due to climate change, for example. For example, adding: “There are expected changes in dietary habits, but work is underway to ensure they are within the limits of human acceptance of them, without a major change in the basic patterns that a person finds himself unable to adapt to.”

A group of cultures imposes itself

Additionally, the list (Royal Botanic Gardens) included a variety of crops and ingredients that may pervade our food systems in the future and plants that may appear on our dishes by 2050. These are:

Wild coffee: Researchers have finally discovered that a rare type of wild coffee from Upper West Africa, known as Sierra Leone coffee, can withstand temperatures much hotter than the climate. Fonio: A herbaceous species native to the savannahs of West Africa, it tolerates drought and its small grains are used to make porridge, couscous and even drinks. And it contains a high percentage of iron, calcium and several amino acids, as well as B vitamins, as recent research has shown. Aloe vera: There are over 1,500 species of aloe vera, some of which are edible. These species include the prickly pear. False Banana: Another crop that has the potential to boost long-term sustainable food production. This close relative of the banana is commonly grown in Ethiopia. The list of plants that could appear in our diet by 2050 also includes: Murama beans, seaweed, wild rice, Akkoub, pandanus and spinach.

adaptation procedures

For his part, the professor of agricultural economics in Cairo, Dr. Jamal Siam, points out in statements exclusive to the site “Sky News Arabia Economy” that there is a set of variables supported by the efforts and procedures of “adaptation “to climate change, closely linked to the agricultural sector in the world, in terms of dependence on crops and not on others, and therefore to change food habits in the future in favor of these crops.

He points out that the situation differs depending on the region itself, as not all countries face the same challenges and repercussions (with the same form and impact) related to climate change “climate smart” by adopting a composition crops and agricultural practices to the measurement of variables.

It refers to the impact of rising temperatures on the cultivation of certain crops, in favor of relying on crops capable of coping with climatic stress in this way, as well as the effect of high salinity and drought in some countries on the modification of the agricultural model in favor of certain crops capable of tolerating salinity.

In addition to this, “the development of new strains” able to withstand the different climatic conditions that occur in any country, for example with regard to “sugar cane” and its cultivation in the future will be affected. by the possible decrease in coastal rains, then the salinity of the soil, and it is therefore possible to work on different strains and agricultural models to reduce the evaporation process. The list includes many other crops such as rice for example.

Foods that increase emissions!

A report published by the United Nations mentions in the context of the last group of plants whose production causes climate change, as food goes through several stages of growth, processing, transport, distribution, preparation, consumption and sometimes of elimination.

Each of these steps generates greenhouse gases that trap the sun’s heat and contribute to climate change. More than a third of man-made greenhouse gas emissions are food-related.

“Reducing emissions from the food sector requires changes at all stages, from producers to consumers,” the report says. Rely on plant-rich diets, where appropriate, with more plant-based protein (such as beans, chickpeas, lentils, nuts, and grains), fewer animal foods (meat and dairy products) and less saturated fat (butter, milk, cheese, meat, coconut oil and palm oil) can lead to a significant reduction in the amount of greenhouse gas emissions, compared to dietary habits prevailing in most industrialized countries.

influence in many ways

For his part, John Riley, senior lecturer and co-director of the joint program on science and policy for global change at the Center for Environmental Policy Research at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, said in statements exclusive to “Economy Sky News Arabia” : “Climate change is likely to affect agricultural and animal production” in several ways”, explaining that:

  • To the same extent that people depend on local production, they may need to consider different crops or depend more on importing traditional foods from elsewhere.

There are also local adaptations, including methods of irrigation and cultivation at somewhat different times of the year.

  • Either use different types of crops that may be more suitable.

Agronomists are also developing more resistant varieties.

  • We are likely to expect more crop failures and weather damage.

He points out that “tropical and subtropical agriculture may be more vulnerable as temperatures are already near critical thresholds for crops.”

The Energy, Environment and Agriculture Economist points out that “there have been many studies on the main cereals (rice, wheat, corn and soybeans), but the results are very variables”.

He adds: “Heat stress is also known to affect poultry and livestock, and affects productivity, but there are no large-scale studies on how climate change may increase this threat. In addition, few studies have been conducted on fruits, vegetables. and a variety of other cultures.

He concludes his interview with “Sky News Arabia Economy”, saying: “Because current climates are very different around the world and the effects of climate change differ from place to place, it is difficult to generalize about potential impacts through studies in a few countries Pests and diseases are likely to increase and weather conditions may affect field operations (planting and harvesting) and food transport.

eating habits

Additionally, a professor at the School of Environmental Design and Rural Development at Canada’s University of Guelph, Wayne Caldwell, said in exclusive statements to “Sky News Arabia Economy” that climate change will affect our eating habits, like follows:

  • Certain crops will not be feasible in certain areas (referring to areas affected by the effects of climate change and directly affecting agricultural crops, such as drought and high levels of salinity, unlike the effects of high temperatures, etc.)
  • Other crops will have to change (ie change the mode of cultivation by developing new varieties capable of coping with climate change).

In addition, some areas will lose productivity.

The professor of planning and rural development and member of the Council of the “green belt” of the Ministry of Municipal Affairs of Canada, refers to an earlier map prepared by the United Nations which identifies areas of increased productivity and areas of declining productivity, and for what is causing fundamental changes in the world.

The United Nations had mentioned in a report that the exacerbation of climate change due to the increase in greenhouse gas emissions, soil pollution and crop failure. Inadequate nutrient inputs deprive plants of existing nutrients in other parts of the world, leading to lower yields and micronutrient deficiencies in crops.

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