Increasing homogeneity in global food supplies and the implications for food security

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America vol. 111 no. 11 March 18, 2014 Colin K. Khoury,  4001–4006

This study provides evidence of change in the relative importance of different crop plants in national food supplies worldwide over the past 50 years. Within a global trend of increased overall quantities of food calories, protein, fat, and weight, and increased proportions of those quantities sourcing from energy-dense foods, national food supplies diversified in regard to contributing measured crop commodities. As a consequence, national food supplies globally have become increasingly similar in composition, based upon a suite of truly global crop plants. The growth in reliance worldwide on these crops heightens interdependence among countries in their food supplies, plant genetic resources, and nutritional priorities.

Or put another way — by Jeremy Cherfas (Eat this Podcast) “about 94 plant species. . . largely feed the world. To be more precise, according to the analysis of Colin and his colleagues, we can now say that 50 crops, or 94 species, contribute to 90% of food supplies at national level.”

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