In its February 12, 2010 issue, Science examines the obstacles to achieving global food security and promotes some promising solutions. News articles introduce farmers and researchers who are finding ways to boost harvests, especially in the developing world. Reviews, Perspectives, and an audio interview provide a broader context for the causes and effects of food insecurity and point to paths to ending hunger. A special podcast includes interviews about measuring food insecurity, rethinking agriculture, and reducing meat consumption. And Science Careers looks at interdisciplinary careers associated with food security. Science is making access to this special section FREE (non-subscribers require a simple registration).
Some highlights from the issue:
- Radically Rethinking Agriculture for the 21st Century. Lead author Nina Fedoroff, science and technology advisor to U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, contends that a greater acceptance of genetically modified (GM) crops in agriculture will help bolster global food security as the world faces population growth and the potential effects of climate change.
- African Green Revolution Needn’t Be a Mirage. 2009 World Food Prize Winner and Purdue professor Gebisa Ejeta notes that while Africa may have missed out on the scientific breakthroughs that revolutionized agriculture in Asia, an African Green Revolution can be realized through a combination of locally developed and locally relevant technologies, strengthened human and institutional capacity, and supportive national policy and leadership.
- Measuring Food Insecurity. Cornell Professor Chris Barrett examines why food insecurity indicators that estimate prevalence rates and patterns remain tenuous.
- Smart Investments in Sustainable Food Production: Revisiting Mixed Crop-Livestock Systems. Lead author Mario Herrero, of the International Livestock Research Institute, reports that small farms that combine crop and livestock production supply most food staples consumed in developing countries – 41 percent of maize, 86 percent of rice and 74 percent of millet. In order to realize the untapped potential of these mixed crop/livestock systems, the authors advocate solutions such as investing in drylands, which are currently not deemed as prime agriculture lands, or by enhancing livestock productivity through improved dual-purpose crops which are specifically bred not just to give maximum grain yield, but also optimal residue quality for animal feed.