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Emerging Technologies for Promoting Food Security: Overcoming the World Food Crisis

Emerging Technologies for Promoting Food Security: Overcoming the World Food Crisis

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Emerging Technologies for Promoting Food Security: Overcoming the World Food Crisis

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Lançado em:
Nov 13, 2015


Emerging Technologies for Promoting Food Security: Overcoming the World Food Crisis discusses rising energy prices, increased biofuel use, water scarcity, and the rising world population, all factors that directly affect worldwide food security. The book examines the range of approaches to promoting global food security, including novel and existing agricultural and husbandry techniques for safe and sustainable food production.

It is divided into three parts beginning with an overview of food security, an analysis of key drivers of food insecurity, and nutrition and food security. Part Two examines emerging technologies for plant and animal food security, with subsequent chapters discussing topics from genetic and aquaculture technologies, pest and disease control, environmental and policy issues affecting food security, and an in-depth analysis of water management and methods to reduce post-harvest losses.

  • Provides a comprehensive overview of food security
  • Thoroughly discusses rising energy prices, increased biofuel use, water scarcity, and the rising world population, all factors that directly affect worldwide food security
  • Covers the emerging technologies for plant and animal food security
  • Analyzes the policy issues affecting food security
Lançado em:
Nov 13, 2015

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Emerging Technologies for Promoting Food Security - Elsevier Science

Emerging Technologies for Promoting Food Security

Overcoming the World Food Crisis


Chandra Madramootoo

Table of Contents

Cover image

Title page

Related Titles


List of Contributors

1. Key Drivers of Food Insecurity

1. Introduction

2. Food Prices

3. Rising Demand for Food

4. Climate Change

5. Availability of Natural Resources

6. Markets and Trade

7. Investments in the Agricultural Sector

8. Biofuel Production

9. Conclusions

Part One. Emerging Technologies for Plant and Animal Food Security

2. Emerging Genetic Technologies for Improving the Security of Food Crops

1. Introduction

2. Success Stories: The Green Revolution

3. Current Scenario: The Gene-Sequencing Revolution

4. Molecular and Genomic-Assisted Breeding

5. Genomics-Integrated Breeding Technologies

6. Implementation of Integrated Breeding Strategies for Food Security

3. Successful Technologies and Approaches Used to Develop and Manage Resistance against Crop Diseases and Pests

1. Introduction

2. Current Approaches to Increase Resistance Durability

3. Improvement of Crop Resistance with Genetic Transformation

4. Inducing Plant Defenses

5. Future Considerations

4. The Use of Technologies for Sufficient and Quality Animal-Food Production

1. Introduction

2. The Need for Animal Products

3. Improved Animal Production Through Technology

4. The Challenges Associated with Using Improved Technologies

5. Future Trends

5. Aquaculture Technologies for Food Security

1. Introduction

2. Aquaculture, Fisheries, and Related Forms of Food Production

3. Key Change Drivers

4. Intensification: Options and Implications

5. Life Stage and Technological Choices: Many Opportunities for Juveniles, Fewer for Food Fish

6. Risk Management and Biosecurity for Animal and Environmental Health

7. Species or Strain Opportunities for Genetic Gain

8. Toward Specialization or Integration: Aquaculture at a Crossroads

9. Future Trends

Part Two. Environmental and Policy Issues Affecting Food Security

6. Water Management

1. Introduction

2. Practices to Raise Water Use Efficiency (WUE)

3. Wastewater Use

4. Excess Water Management

5. Environmental Issues

6. Institutions and Governance

7. Conclusions

7. Reducing Postharvest Losses

1. Introduction

2. Handling of Fresh Fruits and Vegetables

3. Storage of Fresh Fruits and Vegetables

4. Handling and Storage of Grains and Cereals

5. Quantitative and Qualitative Losses

6. Packaging and Distribution Chain

7. Conclusions


Related Titles

Environmental Assessment and Management in the Food Industry

(ISBN 978-1-84569-552-1)

Handbook of Water and Energy Management in Food Processing

(ISBN 978-1-84569-195-0)

Handbook of Organic Food Safety and Quality

(ISBN 978-1-84569-010-6)


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List of Contributors

Stuart W. Bunting,     Bunting Aquaculture, Agriculture and Aquatic Resources Conservation Services, Glemsford, Suffolk, UK

H.-X. Chang,     Department of Crop Sciences, University of Illinois, Urbana, IL, USA

Marie-Josée Dumont,     Bioresource Engineering Department, McGill University, Ste-Anne-de-Bellevue, QC, Canada

Helen Fyles,     Faculty of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences, Macdonald Campus, McGill University, Ste-Anne-de-Bellevue, QC, Canada

G.L. Hartman

USDA-Agricultural Research Service, University of Illinois, Urbana, IL, USA

Department of Crop Sciences, University of Illinois, Urbana, IL, USA

C.B. Hill,     Agricen Sciences, LLC, Pilot Point, TX, USA

Simerjeet Kaur,     Department of Plant Science, McGill University, Ste-Anne-de-Bellevue, QC, Canada

David C. Little,     Institute of Aquaculture, University of Stirling, Stirling, UK

Chandra Madramootoo,     Faculty of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences, Macdonald Campus, McGill University, Ste-Anne-de-Bellevue, QC, Canada

Haritika Majithia,     Department of Plant Science, McGill University, Ste-Anne-de-Bellevue, QC, Canada

Valérie Orsat,     Bioresource Engineering Department, McGill University, Ste-Anne-de-Bellevue, QC, Canada

M.L. Pawlowski,     Department of Crop Sciences, University of Illinois, Urbana, IL, USA

Vijaya Raghavan,     Bioresource Engineering Department, McGill University, Ste-Anne-de-Bellevue, QC, Canada

Jaswinder Singh,     Department of Plant Science, McGill University, Ste-Anne-de-Bellevue, QC, Canada

Kevin M. Wade,     Department of Animal Science, McGill University, QC, Canada


Key Drivers of Food Insecurity

Helen Fyles,  and Chandra Madramootoo     Faculty of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences, Macdonald Campus, McGill University, Ste-Anne-de-Bellevue, QC, Canada


Global food insecurity affects 870  million people worldwide, with two-thirds found in Sub-Saharan Africa, India, and China. The key drivers of global food insecurity are food prices, rising demand for food due to population growth, and changing consumption patterns and pressure on food production rate from climate change, natural resource availability as affected by land degradation and water scarcity, biofuel production, and a lack public and private investment in infrastructure. The degree of importance of each key driver varies between countries and regions according to their unique set of physical, economic, and social circumstances.


Biofuels; Climate change; Food consumption patterns; Infrastructure; Investment; Land degradation; Population growth; Water scarcity

1. Introduction

Global food insecurity affects one in eight people or 870  million worldwide, with two-thirds of these people found in Sub-Saharan Africa, India, and China (FAO, 2013). Food insecurity is driven by multiple factors that may affect food production, availability, and stability of food supplies, as well as food prices at national, community, or household levels. The key drivers of global food insecurity are rising demand for food, climate change, natural resource availability, biofuel production, and a lack of public and private investment in infrastructure (roads, electricity, etc.), and research and development in the agricultural sector. The price of food also plays a major role in food insecurity and is directly and indirectly affected by the key drivers. The degree of importance of each key driver varies between countries or regions according to their unique set of physical, economic, and social circumstances.

2. Food Prices

When food prices rise, the world’s poorest households, which spend a large share of their income on food, are forced to reduce the quality and the quantity of food consumed. This leads to increased food insecurity at the household level (Brinkman et al., 2010). The harmful effect of sharply higher food prices at the country level is in proportion to the level of net food imports, which is currently a concern for the majority of developing countries (Valdéz and Foster, 2012). Wheat consumption has risen throughout Africa in the past two decades, and 90% of this increase has been provided by imports. This has raised the dependence of many countries on global wheat supplies and increased their vulnerability to international prices (IDRC, 2013). Food prices are directly related to agricultural input costs (fertilizers, pesticides, fuel for machinery and irrigation, transporting products to market, and food processing), which in turn are related to the price of fossil fuels. The food sector currently accounts for about 30% of the world’s total energy consumption, and cereal prices tend to follow oil prices (FAO et al., 2011). Actual or perceived worldwide grain shortages caused by adverse weather conditions also have an immediate effect on international prices.

3. Rising Demand for Food

3.1. Population Growth

Population growth drives the demand for food. Over the last 20  years, the world population has risen by 1.6  billion, and 78% of this increase was in low-income, food-deficit countries (Mazzocchi et al., 2012). The world’s population reached 7.2  billion in August 2013 and is projected to reach over 9.6  billion by 2050 (UN, 2013). For each year until 2050, farmers will try to feed an additional 40–86  million people. Amplifying this demand for food are the middle-income countries, where over 70% of the world’s population live and where the rapid growth in living standards and dietary diversity are putting increasing pressure on world food security (World Bank, 2013a).

Due to the demographic transition away from rural areas, over 50% of the world’s population currently lives in urban areas, and almost all urban population growth in the next 30  years will occur in cities of developing countries (WHO, 2014). This shift in population creates new pressures on global food security, and increased urbanization may result in the loss of productive land surrounding cities. In Indonesia, for example, about 40,000–50,000  ha per year of agricultural land is taken out of production due to urbanization (Schultz, 2011). Peri-urban areas are becoming increasingly important sources of food, but where and how this food is produced is complex (Lerner and Eakin, 2011). In order to achieve food security, a significant change may be required from smallholder farming towards food production for the urban population. This implies an increase in farm size and production of higher-value crops on land surrounding urban areas (Schultz, 2011).

3.2. Changes in Food Consumption Choices

Rising incomes, rapid urbanization, and globalization have led to improved access to a greater variety of foods and resulted in changes to food consumption patterns over the last 30  years. Changes in per capita gross national incomes (Table 1) illustrate the substantial increase in the spending power of millions of people in the middle-income countries. China in particular has seen huge gains in per capita income, which have allowed more people to expand their diet to include significant amounts of expensive items (meats, milk, and eggs), which require large amounts of feed crops to produce. Since 1980, the amount of per capita daily energy (kilocalories) coming from animal products (milk, meat, eggs) has risen by almost 300% in China, compared to only a 20% rise for vegetal products (Table 2). India saw smaller gains in energy from animal products (80%), but because these two countries account for such a large proportion of the world’s population, even small dietary shifts can have very large effects on world agricultural crop demand. The increasing share of animal products in the diet is part of a dietary transition that also includes a higher intake of fats, fish, vegetables, and fruit at the expense of cereals and tubers.

Table 1

Changes in Gross National Income (GNI)

Source: World DataBank. World Development Indicators, http://databank.worldbank.org/data.

If meat and dairy consumption continue to climb at a similar rate to the past, by 2050, the world will require an estimated additional 522  million tons of grain livestock feed. This accounts for approximately 40% of the grain produced worldwide (Ahuja, 2013; AAAP, 2012). How the increased demand for livestock products will be met—through diversion of grain crops or grazing—will have a significant influence on global food security. The average efficiency of converting feed into meat or milk is currently considerably lower than what is possible (AAAP, 2012). In addition, ruminants produce food from land otherwise unsuitable for growing crops and use plant resources that do not compete with human food. The success of future research in this field will have a great influence on how dietary shifts drive global food insecurity.

4. Climate Change

Climate change drives food security at both the global scale, where it impacts the production of internationally traded grains, and at regional or local scales, where people, often the poor and food insecure, depend heavily on local food production (Lobell and Gourdji, 2012). Higher concentrations of CO2, widespread temperature increases, rising sea levels, shrinking glaciers, shifting precipitation patterns, and greater frequency and duration of extreme weather events (droughts, floods, heat stress) are all associated with climate change (IPCC, 2007). There is a wide range of predicted impacts on crop production due to regional variations in growing season length, minimum and maximum temperatures, frequency and intensity of precipitation, and the spread of crop pests and diseases. Climate change impacts on crop yields will also vary widely with soil texture, nutrient and organic matter levels, and the ability of farmers to mitigate precipitation and temperature changes through agrochemical use, irrigation, drainage, use of different crop varieties, and altering farm management techniques such as timing of field operations and use of conservation agriculture.

Table 2

Food Supply from Vegetal and Animal Products

Source: FAOSTAT Food Balance Sheets. Updated June 2012.

4.1. Variations in Precipitation

Expected declines in crop productivity due to climate change often coincide with countries that currently have a high level of food insecurity (Wheeler and von Braun, 2013). More frequent and severe droughts are likely to exacerbate water scarcity in many parts of the world, and Sub-Saharan Africa, where 97% of the agricultural production is rain-fed, is particularly vulnerable to the consequences of changes in precipitation patterns and temperature (World Bank, 2013b). Across Africa, serious declines are expected in maize, wheat, sorghum, millet, groundnuts, and cassava production, as well as a steep decline in the extent of savanna grasslands, leading to reduced forage available for grazing animals. This will have a very negative impact on regional food security.

In South Asia, the region with the world’s largest concentration of poor people, the most important crops are rice and wheat, accounting for about 50% and 40% of crop production, respectively (World Bank, 2013b). Drought and extreme rainfall over the last 50  years in India have already reduced rain-fed rice yields by about 6%, and wheat yields have not increased in 10  years (Auffhammer et al., 2012; Lobell et al., 2012). Increasingly variable monsoon rainfall necessary to replenish groundwater in South Asia, coupled with reduced flows from glacial melting, could have very negative consequences to food security in South Asia (World Bank, 2013b). An estimation of crop production changes in South Asia to 2050 under climate change suggest that daily per capita food availability will drop from 2424 to 2241  kcal (Nelson et al., 2010).

The world’s major grain exporters—the United States, Canada, France, Australia, Argentina, and the Russian Federation—produce the majority of their grain in highly productive rain-fed conditions. Declines in water availability are projected to affect France, Australia, and parts of the Russian Federation (IPCC, 2007). This, coupled with increased heat stress described above, suggests global grain production will become more variable and unpredictable.

4.2. Predictions of Crop Yields

Projections of future crop productivity under climate change are generated by general circulation and crop growth models and are subject to uncertainty due to the necessity of models to oversimplify real-world complexity (Müller et al., 2011). Projected impacts are a balance between crop yield increases due to elevated CO2 and decreases due to rising average growing season temperatures, more frequent and higher extreme temperatures, and changes to precipitation patterns, all of which depend to some extent on the choice of crop growth and climate model (Knox et al., 2012). Pest and disease occurrence, reduction in glacial water and depletion of groundwater supply as an irrigation source, sea level rise, flooding, and the influence of modern inputs and management practices are often not accounted for in model predictions (Piao et al., 2010). With these uncertainties in mind, it is not surprising that there are wide variations in predictions of climate change effects on major grain yields and regional crop production effects (Table 3). In general, modeling results for a range of sites find that in mid- to high-latitude regions, rising CO2, moderate to medium local increases in temperature (1–3  °C), and rainfall changes, can have small beneficial impacts on crop yields (Easterling et al., 2007). In low-latitude regions, even moderate temperature increases (1–2  °C) are likely to have negative yield impacts for major cereals. In Africa, a review of model predictions suggest yield reductions of up to 40% across crop types (wheat, maize, sorghum, millet) and subregions by 2050 and beyond (Knox et al., 2012).

4.3. Effects of Rising CO2

Wheat, rice, soybeans (C3 crops) and maize (C4 crop) provide about 75% of the calories consumed worldwide either directly or indirectly (Cassman, 1999). C3 crops generally produce 20–30% more above-ground dry matter as CO2 levels rise to 550–580  ppm (expected by the late twenty-first century), even as temperatures rise to heat stress levels (Wang et al., 2012). However, recent work by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (Ainsworth, 2013) suggests that C3 crop responses to rising CO2 may be less optimistic and more complicated than previously thought; in a cooler-than-average growing season, soybean yield increased with CO2 levels as temperatures warmed, but in a warmer-than-average growing season, warming caused a significant reduction in

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