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FAO Stresses Importance of Neglected Crops to Tackle Climate and Food Security Challenges

FAO10 December 2012: Addressing a seminar on "Crops for the 21st Century," José Graziano da Silva, Director General of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN (FAO), described the importance of conserving crop diversity, noting that approximately 7,000 plant species have been consumed as food throughout human history, and that many of these species are disappearing.

Da Silva underscored the role of neglected crops in responding to food security and adapting to climate change. According to FAO, the majority of calories consumed around the work come from rice, maize, wheat and potatoes. The Director-General called for attention to production challenges through sustainable intensification of agriculture, as well as attention to sustainable food consumption, underscoring that almost 870 million people are hungry, and even more are overweight or obese.

The seminar also saw the start of the International Year of Quinoa (2013). Quinoa has high nutritional value and is adaptable to many conditions.

The Seminar on Crops for the 21st Century is taking place in Cordova, Spain, from 10-13 December 2012. The meeting is being co-organized by partners including FAO, the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), and Bioversity International. Bioversity International is a research center of the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR). [FAO Press Release] [Meeting Website]