Unexpected decrease of cereal production in half of the world nations since 1961

It is commonly claimed in the scientific literature that the world food production has highly increased since the start Green Revolution. However there are still millions of undernourished people in the world. To make a precise assessement for all countries, scientists Liu et al. reviewed the historical trends of cereal production, pesticide application and fertilizer application from 1961 to 2010. They found that cereal production in 38% of countries and yields in 47% of countries either stagnated or decreased from 1961 to 2010. Countries showing decreasing yields are mainly located in Africa, South America and West Asia.


Genetically modified crops or agriculture biodiversity?

The growing world demand for food is a major challenge for humankind. Increasing food production will be more and more difficult due to fewer arable land, less water availability, pollution, warmer climate, and land competition of food production with biofuel production and cities. As a result there is a strong on-going debate on the best strategy to keep pace with global population growth and increasing food demand. One strategy favors the use of genetically modified crops, while another focuses on agricultural diversity. The review by Jacobsen et al. places genetically modified crops far down the list of potential solutions and recommend funding in other research areas of plant science.



Food security and pesticides

The 7 billion global population should grow to 9.2 billion by 2050. This increased population will increase by 70 % the demand for food production, notably due to new dietary habits in developing countries towards high quality food such as meat and milk. Additional agricultural land is limited. More agricultural land will be used to produce biofuel or fibre instead of food. Thus, we need to grow food on even less land, with less water, using less energy, fertiliser and pesticide. Popp et al. review worldwide crop losses due to pests, and advanced methods to reduce losses using chemical and biological methods.