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Can crop science really help us to produce more better quality food while reducing the world-wide environmental footprint of agriculture?

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article

Published
Article number9299
<mark>Journal publication date</mark>2/03/2020
<mark>Journal</mark>Frontiers of Agricultural Science and Engineering
Issue number1
Volume7
Number of pages17
Pages (from-to)27-44
Publication StatusPublished
Early online date17/01/20
<mark>Original language</mark>English

Abstract

This paper reviews recent developments in crop science that can be the basis of a revolution in the global food system but it is also emphasized that such a revolution requires more than changes in food production and supply. We must more effectively feed a growing global population with a healthy diet while also defining and delivering the kinds of sustainable food systems that will minimise damage to our planet. There are exciting new developments in crop production biology but much existing crop science can be exploited to increase yields with the aid of a knowledge exchange (KE) framework requiring the use of new technology now available to most people across the globe. We discuss novel approaches at both the plant and the crop level that will enhance nutrient and water productivity and we also outline ways in which energy use and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions can be reduced and labor shortages combatted. Exploitation of new biology and new engineering opportunities will require development of public-private partnerships and collaborations across the disciplines to allow us to move effectively from discovery science to practical application. It is also important that consumers contribute to the debate over proposed changes to food and farming and so effective KE mechanisms are required between all relevant communities.