|GRAHAM ROBIN D - UNIV. OF ADELAIDE
Submitted to: International Food Policy Research Institute
Publication Type: Review Article
Publication Acceptance Date: 11/3/1994
Publication Date: N/A
Interpretive Summary: Not required.
Technical Abstract: The world's population is approaching 5.4 billion people and, at current population growth rates (1.7% or 92 million per year), will double by the year 2050. Providing adequate sustenance to this growing population will require that food production be more than doubled by the middle of the next century. Failure to meet this goal will likely mean widespread famine, civil unrest, political instability, and immense suffering for large numbers of people. Just providing enough food to meet caloric (energy) needs will not be enough. Billions of malnourished people would still endure, especially in many developing nations, unless we develop sustainable ways of producing foods that meet minimum daily nutritional requirements. Even now, "hidden hunger" (micronutrient malnutrition including Fe, I, and vitamin A) afflicts over 2 billion people worldwide. If we are to reduce this level of malnutrition while meeting the needs of a growing population, we must find ways of linking agricultural production systems to the nutritional quality of food crops. The genetics and molecular biology of plant nutrition can play an important role in developing long-term, sustainable solutions to malnutrition through plant breeding and/or genetic engineering. Generally, micronutrient quality of food crops has been ignored by both the agricultural and human nutrition communities. However, political support for linking agricultural systems to nutritional quality of food crops is growing because it is rapidly becoming a major consumer issue. Plant scientists should seize the opportunity to help provide sustainable solutions to "hidden hunger" in the world.