Global warming requires global policy change and sustainable agricultural practices
Updated: Nov 24, 2021
Rice, wheat and corn account for most of the world’s caloric intake.
Each of these three extremely important cereals is already produced in amounts exceeding half a billion tons every year. To meet the global demand for food by the growing population, cereal crops will have to yield 1.5 percent more food every year
World's rising population—now predicted by the United Nations to reach 10.1 billion by century's end—has been fed thanks to rising yields of all these crops during the past century.
Healthy soils are a pre-requisite to achieve the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals
Biotic and abiotic environmental stresses, such as plant pathogens, sudden fluctuations in temperature, drought, soil salinity and toxic metal pollution, impair crop productivity and lead to significant losses in agricultural yield worldwide.
According to FAO, salinization. Saline or sodic soils occur naturally, and are home to valuable ecosystems, including a range of plants that have adapted to the salty conditions. In total, there are more than 833 million hectares of salt-affected soils around the globe, or 8.7 per cent of the planet. Most of them can be found in naturally arid or semi-arid environments in Africa, Asia and Latin America.
Most researchers agree that global warming is irreversible over a short period and requires global policy change and sustainable agricultural practices for a long period to mitigate and reverse the environmental damage.
Environmental stress including salinity can cause about 50% of production losses. This problem is further compounded with a drastic reduction in the amount of fertile and arable land available to grow these crops, which is expected to continue to decrease into the future due to current agricultural practices.
3.5 billion people according to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) – depend on rice for a living, this fall in yields could be fatal for global food sovereignty. Asia would be the hardest hit, but the losses would be felt around the globe, with rice accounting for around 20 per cent of the total calories consumed worldwide.
Wheat is more sensitive to salinity that hampers the growth and development of plant, leads to low productivity or even complete crop failure under extreme severity of salinity.
At the current rate of sensitivity, climate change models indicate that corn yields could decline as much as 15% over the next 50 years. However, if sensitivity of these plants continues to increase as well, losses could amount to as much as 30%.
"We must find alternative crops that can be adapted and cultivated despite the global warming phenomenon. Concurrently, these crops should also be able to release less greenhouse gases, must be less resource-intensive, and be rich in major and minor nutrients required for our well-being. Millets are cereal crops that have many of the desirable attributes mentioned above when compared to other major crops. Pearl millet, being a climate-resilient crop, which is important to minimize the adverse effects of climate change and has the potential to increase income and food security of farming communities in arid regions" explained DR. ARVIND KAPUR, managing director at ACSEN HYVEG.
2023 is the International Year of Millets
Pearl millet is the sixth most important cereal crop. The FAO calls on all stakeholders to provide support to “activities aimed at raising awareness of and directing policy attention to the nutritional and health benefits of millet consumption"
In the search for climate resilient solutions, millets could be the crucial link in the sustainable food supply chain.
Pearl millet is planted on 14 million hectares in Africa and 14 million hectares in Asia.
Global production of its grain reaches 10 million tons a year. At least 500 million people depend on pearl millet for their daily nutrition.
Millets has high nutritional value, grown mainly in dry zones of Asia and Africa. These include sorghum (or great millet), pearl millet, finger millet, proso millet, foxtail millet, teff and other smaller varietals.
Estimates show that more than 90 million people in Africa and Asia depend on millets in their diets.
Salt stress reduces the ability of plants to take up water and this quickly causes reductions in growth rate. Salinity is one of the main factor in reducing crop yields.
Salicrop's technology is enhancing and improving seed performance, in stress conditions, allowing greater efficacy and functionality to be delivered directly by the seed to increase farming yields to feed the world’s growing population