Learn about Agriculture

snapAG

What are GMOs and are they okay to eat? What does organic farming look like? How are animals like chickens or cattle raised? snapAG is a series of resources that invite students to explore the hot topics affecting the agriculture industry today. Topics range from organics, biotechnology, GMOs, livestock, and more.

Explore what’s trending in agriculture in Canada by browsing the topics below.

Plant Breeding and Food Security

Plant Breeding and Food Security

Summary:  The 1996 World Food Summit states that food security "exists when all people, at all times, have physical and economic access to sufficient, safe and nutritious food to meet their dietary needs and food preferences for an active and healthy life." How can plant breeding contribute to food security?

Why research must continue

Plant breeders must constantly develop and improve new varieties because conditions always change.  Pests, disease and climate change threaten crops.  New, more nutritious crops are needed.  A growing population demands we grow 25 to 70 percent more food on the same amount of land by 2050 - and to do it with the least harm possible to ecosystems and wildlands.

What was the Green Revolution?

In the mid 20th century, countries faced starvation because they couldn't grow enough food or afford to buy it elsewhere.  Plant breeders developed wheat and rice with shorter, thicker stalks with larger seed heads.  Varieties were developed for different conditions around the world.  Researchers developed synthetic fertilizers and herbicides to control weeks.  Food production soared.

A leader of this "Green Revolution" was American plant scientist Norman Borlaug.  With proper fertilizers and care, the dwarf varieties he developed for Mexican farmers delivered six times the yield, helping to make that country self-sufficient in wheat.

References

References:

Agriculture and food security: fifth anniversary (editorial, Agriculture and Food Security, 2017)

An overview of agriculture, nutrition and fortification, supplementation and biofortification: Golden Rice as an example for enhancing micronutrient intake (Agriculture and Food Security, 2017)

Golden Rice: instructions for use (Agriculture and Food Security, 2017)

The State of Food Insecurity in the World (FAO, 2015)

What is Food Security? (World Food Programme)

The Beginning of the Green Revolution (University of Minnesota)

Agriculture in 2050: Recalibrating Targets for Sustainable Intensification (BioScience – Oxford Academic)

World Population Clock (US Census Bureau)

World hunger again on the rise, driven by conflict and climate change, new UN report says (World Health Organization)

Green Revolution (Encyclopaedia Britannica)

Haber-Bosch process (synthetic fertilizer) (Encyclopaedia Britannica)

History of Pesticide Use (International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry)

Triticale (Encyclopaedia Brittanica)

Sub1A is an ethylene-response-factor-like gene that confers submergence tolerance to rice (Nature)

Submergence Tolerant Rice: SUB1’s Journey from Landrace to Modern Cultivar (Rice)

Increasing food security (International Rice Research Institute) and Nature (journal paper).

Staple foods: What do people eat? (FAO)

Facts & Figures on Food and Biodiversity (IDRC)

 

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