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Former legislator gives update on global trade at FPAA convention

TUBAC, AZ — Jim Kolbe, a national leader supporting global trade, spoke Oct. 30 on that topic during an educational session at the Fresh Produce Association of the Americas 45th annual convention.

From 1985 until 2003, Kolbe was a Republican member of the U.S. House of Representatives for Arizona’s 5th congressional district. He introduced unsuccessful legislation for a U.S.-Mexican Free Trade Agreement two years before the North American Free Trade Agreement, which also involved Canada, passed by an easy margin in 1993.kolbeFormer U.S. Rep. Jim Kolbe (R-AZ) chats with Andy Tobin, president of the Arizona Senate. Kolbe had just given a presentation on global trade at the 45th annual Convention & Golf Tournament of the Fresh Produce Association of the Americas.

Since his first term, Kolbe has served in many related capacities, always favoring free trade. He is currently the Senior Transatlantic Fellow for the German Marshall Fund and is the co-chairman of the Arizona Transportation & Trade Corridor Alliance.

Kolbe opened his remarks by noting that in an ideal world, all countries would have one standard trade agreement. But, he said, the World Trade Organization involves 160 countries and having all members agree on anything is “almost impossible.”

He added that countries that do have free trade agreements are 16 times more likely to buy and sell with one another. Some of the strength of that statistic is attributable to close geographic proximity, such as what exists with Mexico, the United States and Canada within NAFTA. But he said there are other success stories for non-contiguous trade partners.

Kolbe noted that of the globe’s top 20 or 25 trading counties, Americans have the most negative attitude toward free trade. He said that only 20 percent of Americans believe that global trade creates jobs, while 60 percent believe global trade will cost American jobs and 20 percent are unsure.

“Produce growers know it creates jobs,” he added. But because of public perception, “it is an uphill battle” to promote free trade within the United States.

The two presidents Bush and Bill Clinton all “understood the value of free trade,” he said, explaining this partly relates to George W. Bush and Clinton having both served as governors, which is a position that causes political leaders to especially appreciate the value of trade to building an economy.

Kolbe said that President Obama, coming from a role of “community organizer and law professor,” who is “beholden to labor unions … doesn’t see trade in the same light.”

Still, the president was warm toward the passage of the Transpacific Partnership and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership. In campaigning, Obama indicated he would ask for Trade Promotion Authority (once called “Fast Track” trade authority.) But Kolbe said that the day after Obama’s inauguration, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid indicated that the Senate would never grant Trade Promotion Authority. The topic was dropped by the Obama administration.

With the Transatlantic treaty, “the United States, which is with largest market in the world, would, with the Europeans, dictate standards for the rest of the world. If we don’t do this, China will take the lead. We would rather take the lead.”

Speaking in Tubac a few days before Election Day, Kolbe stressed the importance of these matters. Interestingly, a CNN report on Nov. 5 indicated that these treaties and supportive work may be revisited, with the shift toward Republican leadership.

In the question-and-answer session following Kolbe’s formal remarks, Kolbe was asked how he saw the future of the world.

Kolbe said he is basically an optimist, but he is concerned about the future in both the economic and political realms. Economically, he said, Europe is facing a decline. Japan is looking at another recession and fast growth in India and Brazil has stalled. Kolbe said the Chinese economy is also slowing. He does believe the United States economy is growing, so he is hopeful that power will continue and can raise the economic strength of our trading partners.

Kolbe is also concerned politically. The aggressive terrorist ISIS activity in Syria and Iraq first brought a war-weary American reaction disfavoring U.S. boots on the ground.

But Kolbe believes that Americans are turning their attitude to recognize that the United States is simply bound to its role as protector of the world. He said it may be inevitable that the American military must again step in to try and make things right.

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Salt-loving plants may be key to global efforts for sustainable food production

Farmland is vanishing in part because the salinity in the soil is rising as a result of climate change and other human-made phenomena. In an Opinion piece publishing in the Cell Press journal Trends in Plant Sciences, researchers propose a new concept for breeding salt- tolerant plants as a way to contribute to global efforts for sustainable food production.

“We suggest that we should learn from nature and do what halophytes, or naturally salt-loving plants, are doing: taking up salt but depositing it in a safe place — external balloon-like structures called salt bladders,” says co-senior author Prof. Sergey Shabala, of the University of Tasmania, in Australia. “This strategy has never been targeted by breeders and, therefore, could add a new and very promising dimension to breeding salinity-tolerant crops.”

Soil salinity is claiming about 3 hectares, or 7.4 acres, of usable land from conventional crop farming every minute. This costs the agricultural sector many billions of dollars each year and jeopardizes the ability to meet the target of feeding 9.3 billion people by 2050. Unfortunately, decades of plant breeding for salinity tolerance have not resulted in a major breakthrough that might allow us to resolve this issue.

Dr. Shabala and his colleagues note that recent research on salt bladders creates the exciting possibility of modifying genes in traditional crops such as wheat or rice to allow them to develop salt bladders without a major impact on their growth and yield. “We know already about the key genes required to grow trichomes, or outgrowths of a plant. If we learn to activate those that trigger the developmental shift from an ordinary trichome to a salt bladder, one may be able to grow external salt depots on any crop,” says co-senior author Prof. Rainer Hedrich, of the Institute for Molecular Plant Physiology and Biophysics, in Würzburg, Germany.

They are confident that researchers have all of the tools needed to identify the molecular transporters involved in salt loading within salt bladders as well as the developmental switches that are involved.

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The above story is based on materials provided by Cell Press. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.

Agriculture and Food News — ScienceDaily

WHO Study Measures Global Burden of Listeria

In 2010, Listeria monocytogenes was estimated to infect 23,150 people worldwide. It killed 5,463 of them, or 23.6 percent, according to a new study by European researchers in the World Health Organization (WHO) published in The Lancet Infectious Diseases.

The researchers say that an urgent effort is needed to fill in information on Listeria infections in developing countries, as countries accounting for 48 percent of the world’s population do not report Listeria illnesses.

The study, ”The Global Burden of Listeriosis: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis” aimed to be the first of its kind to estimate the global numbers of illnesses, deaths, and disability-adjusted life-years due to Listeria infections.

While not as common as foodborne pathogens such as Salmonella and E. coli, Listeria is one of the most deadly and adaptable bacteria found in food. Unlike those pathogens, Listeria can grow at refrigeration temperatures and in low-moisture environments.

Of those who fell ill with Listeria in 2010, 20.7 percent were pregnant women. The bacteria affect pregnant women at disproportionate rates and can cause severe complications with pregnancies, including stillbirth and miscarriage.

Among the pregnant women who suffered Listeria infections, 14.9 percent of the infections resulted in infant fatality.

Other populations especially susceptible to Listeria infections include the elderly, immunocompromised individuals, and children. While the bacteria often just cause mild gastrointestinal illness in healthy adults, they can lead to severe, life-threatening illness in anyone with a weakened or developing immune system.

Most Listeria cases are reported in high-income countries, while cases are much more likely to go unreported in developing countries. Because of its high hospitalization rate in the U.S., it’s the third most costly foodborne pathogen, behind Clostridium botulinum (botulism) and Vibrio vulnificus.

The researchers found that Listeria caused the highest burden on quality of life in Latin American regions. The least affected region was Eastern Europe, stretching from Poland to Turkey. Other highly affected areas included Southeast Asia, Africa, Polynesia and India.

The researchers note that Listeria causes significantly fewer deaths worldwide than Salmonella Typhi (216,500 annual deaths) or non-typhoidal Salmonella (155,000), but it does cause a far higher rate of death.

The effort to quantify the global burden of Listeria will enable Listeriosis to be an included disease in WHO’s international prioritization exercises. But because nearly half of the world’s population resides in countries where Listeria isn’t reported, there’s still significant uncertainty about the exact burden the bacteria pose worldwide.

In 2011, cantaloupe contaminated with Listeria infected at least 147 people in the U.S. and killed at least 33, making it one of the deadliest foodborne illness outbreaks in U.S. history. A Listeria outbreak in Denmark this year killed at least 15 people and sickened 38.

Common sources of Listeria in the U.S. include ready-to-eat lunch deli meats, hot dogs, meat spreads, unpasteurized dairy, smoked seafood and raw sprouts.

Food Safety News

Global Format Innovation: What does the future look like?

We had the opportunity to speak on this topic recently at the FMI Energy and Store Design Conference that was held in St. Louis. Our lofty goal, share best practices in innovation from around the world that are changing food retail. A tough job.
In order to make some sense of it all, we developed seven key themes for retailers to be thinking about in the coming years, including:

Hyperlocal. In multiple countries around the world, local has been taken to new extremes, with dedicated formats springing up that focus on procurement from local farms and providers with extreme traceability. Local has become hyper-local and offers great opportunities to talk about freshness and being an integral part of the community.

Foodservice Mashup. New formats are seamlessly blending foodservice components along with their traditional food offerings. Many of these are happening right within the context of a department (An oyster bar near seafood or a wine bar in the wine department).

Experiential Retailing. Retailers continue to up the quotient on using the store as a stage, using visible production areas and stunning visual merchandising to create special moments throughout the store.

Specialization. Stores that sell only fresh produce or treat chocolate or coffee as a artisanal product demonstrate that specialization is alive and well.

Customization and Crowdsourcing. Retailing has become a two way dialogue with the end consumer. Customers can create their own blends of cereal, decorate their own cakes in a bakery or decide which items go on sale (and for how much of a discount) by having a stronger voice in the decision making process.

Small is the New Big. While small stores have been a struggle in the U.S., there is significant evidence of success elsewhere in the world. It is all about setting expectations for the customer and there are great examples of this happening elsewhere and continued efforts underway in the U.S.

New Ways to Reach Consumers. There are multiple innovations in creatively reaching a customer, from food trucks and vending machines to innovative click and collect models.

These are just a few examples of the types of innovations that will ultimately transform food retail. Steve Jobs once said that “Innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower.” What innovation is in your pipeline? And is your company a leader or a follower?



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The future of global agriculture may include new land, fewer harvests

Climate change may expand suitable cropland, particularly in the Northern high latitudes, but tropical regions may becoming decreasingly suitable, according to a study published September 17, 2014 in the open-access journal PLOS ONE by Florian Zabel from Ludwig Maximilians University, Germany and colleagues.

Most of the Earth’s accessible agricultural land are already under cultivation. Ecological factors such as climate, soil quality, water supply and topography determine the suitability of land for agriculture. Climate change may impact global agriculture, but some regions may benefit from it. In a new study, researchers focused on the probable impact of climate change on the supply of land suitable for the cultivation of the 16 major food and energy crops worldwide, including staples such as maize, rice, soybeans and wheat. They simulated the impact of climate change on agricultural production over the course of the 21st century and found that two-thirds of all land potentially suitable for agricultural use is already under cultivation.

The results indicate that climate change may expand the supply of cropland in the high latitudes of the Northern hemisphere, including Canada, Russia, China, over the next 100 years. However, in the absence of adaptation measures such as increased irrigation, the simulation projects a significant loss of suitable agricultural land in Mediterranean regions and in parts of Sub-Saharan Africa. The land suitable for agricultural would be about 54 million km2 — and of this, 91% is already under cultivation. “Much of the additional area is, however, at best only moderately suited to agricultural use, so the proportion of highly fertile land used for crop production will decrease,” says Zabel. Moreover, in the tropical regions of Brazil, Asia and Central Africa, climate change will significantly reduce the chance of obtaining multiple harvests per year.

“In the context of current projections, which predict that the demand for food will double by the year 2050 as the result of population increase, our results are quite alarming. In addition, one must consider the prospect of increased pressure on land resources for the cultivation of forage crops and animal feed owing to rising demand for meat, and the expansion of land use for the production of bioenergy,” says Zabel.

Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by PLOS. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.

Agriculture and Food News — ScienceDaily

All Lemon to start global lemon campaign

All Lemon to start global lemon campaign

The largest exporter of lemons in Argentina, ALL LEMON, is putting the finishing touches on a wide-ranging campaign that seeks to educate the world about all aspects of lemons. The campaign, which will be accompanied by a regularly updated website, will not be limited to the ALL LEMON brand or to any particular geographic region.

“The concept is to promote lemons to the world,” explained Martina Delacroix of ALL LEMON. “We’ll talk about all varieties that come from all lemon-growing regions, and we’ll explain where lemons come from and where they go, what times of year they’re grown and when they’re available.” Beyond the many aspects of lemon as a food commodity, the promotion will also include information that will hit home for many consumers, like how to pick the best lemon and how to use lemons to do laundry or clean the house.

“The most important thing is that we won’t just talk about it to Argentina,” said Delacroix. “We want to talk to the whole world.” She added that they’re working with companies and associations across the world to provide a regular stream of content for the interactive website that will be a part of the promotion. The site will go live in October and it will be updated weekly.

While the promotions arm of ALL LEMON is in the midst of a robust year, the production side of things has found it a tougher go. Like all growers in the Tucumán region of Argentina, the 16 growers that make up ALL LEMON have seen some of the lowest yields in recent years. The reason was a severe freeze that occurred in the winter of 2013 followed by a drought in spring. Exports for 2014 are expected to reach only 145,000 tons, which is 45 percent less than what ALL LEMON exported the previous year.

“Our volumes are about half what they were last year,” said Martijn Hazeu. “Many of the trees also died, and it takes about three or four years for them to grow back.” For that reason, lemon exports will likely not reach pre-freeze level for at least a few years. Argentina’s main export market is Europe, and because of the recent Russian ban on European fruit, the European lemons that were destined for Russia will likely make up for any shortfalls a short Argentine season may have brought. That Argentina has a short crop also means that they won’t be able to take advantage of the gap in the Russian market left by embargoed European fruit – it’s more likely South African fruit will fill that. It’s more likely that ALL LEMON will go after new markets, as they’ve done in Asia.

“The Asian market is very smart,” said Delacroix. “That’s why they like ALL LEMON. They like us because we bring more value, and they are always looking for more value. Though there are 16 companies that are all competing against one another, those companies have been able to come together for the past five years and produce high-quality fruit. That’s the advantage that we have, that we all have one face. Clients demand our fruit because they know what they’ll get when they get a box from us.”

Publication date: 9/12/2014
Author: Carlos Nunez / Sander Bruins Slot
Copyright: www.freshplaza.com


FreshPlaza.com

All Lemon to start global lemon campaign

All Lemon to start global lemon campaign

The largest exporter of lemons in Argentina, ALL LEMON, is putting the finishing touches on a wide-ranging campaign that seeks to educate the world about all aspects of lemons. The campaign, which will be accompanied by a regularly updated website, will not be limited to the ALL LEMON brand or to any particular geographic region.

“The concept is to promote lemons to the world,” explained Martina Delacroix of ALL LEMON. “We’ll talk about all varieties that come from all lemon-growing regions, and we’ll explain where lemons come from and where they go, what times of year they’re grown and when they’re available.” Beyond the many aspects of lemon as a food commodity, the promotion will also include information that will hit home for many consumers, like how to pick the best lemon and how to use lemons to do laundry or clean the house.

“The most important thing is that we won’t just talk about it to Argentina,” said Delacroix. “We want to talk to the whole world.” She added that they’re working with companies and associations across the world to provide a regular stream of content for the interactive website that will be a part of the promotion. The site will go live in October and it will be updated weekly.

While the promotions arm of ALL LEMON is in the midst of a robust year, the production side of things has found it a tougher go. Like all growers in the Tucumán region of Argentina, the 16 growers that make up ALL LEMON have seen some of the lowest yields in recent years. The reason was a severe freeze that occurred in the winter of 2013 followed by a drought in spring. Exports for 2014 are expected to reach only 145,000 tons, which is 45 percent less than what ALL LEMON exported the previous year.

“Our volumes are about half what they were last year,” said Martijn Hazeu. “Many of the trees also died, and it takes about three or four years for them to grow back.” For that reason, lemon exports will likely not reach pre-freeze level for at least a few years. Argentina’s main export market is Europe, and because of the recent Russian ban on European fruit, the European lemons that were destined for Russia will likely make up for any shortfalls a short Argentine season may have brought. That Argentina has a short crop also means that they won’t be able to take advantage of the gap in the Russian market left by embargoed European fruit – it’s more likely South African fruit will fill that. It’s more likely that ALL LEMON will go after new markets, as they’ve done in Asia.

“The Asian market is very smart,” said Delacroix. “That’s why they like ALL LEMON. They like us because we bring more value, and they are always looking for more value. Though there are 16 companies that are all competing against one another, those companies have been able to come together for the past five years and produce high-quality fruit. That’s the advantage that we have, that we all have one face. Clients demand our fruit because they know what they’ll get when they get a box from us.”

Publication date: 9/12/2014
Author: Carlos Nunez / Sander Bruins Slot
Copyright: www.freshplaza.com


FreshPlaza.com

Climate-smart agriculture requires three-pronged global research agenda

Faced with climate change and diminishing opportunities to expand productive agricultural acreage, the world needs to invest in a global research agenda addressing farm and food systems, landscape and regional issues and institutional and policy matters if it is to meet the growing worldwide demand for food, fiber and fuel, suggests an international team of researchers.

In a paper appearing online in the journal Agriculture and Food Security, the authors summarize the findings of the second international Climate Smart Agriculture conference held in March 2013 at UC Davis.

“Climate-smart agriculture has become a global policy initiative for economic development, poverty reduction and food security,” says lead author Kerri Steenwerth, a U.S. Department of Agriculture soil scientist and adjunct professor in the UC Davis Department of Viticulture and Enology.

“It makes sense for farmers, consumers and food businesses because it is focused on the long-term sustainability of supply chains, and applies both to farmers’ fields and to the natural landscape,” she said.

The objectives recommended in the new paper set the stage for a stronger emphasis on moving knowledge into action and involving researchers in helping communities and societies to change and adapt.

Steenwerth has posted a blog entry about the paper on the Biomed Central blog. The blog and the paper were supported by the UC Davis College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.

A third global science conference on Climate-Smart Agriculture is scheduled to be held March 16-18, 2015 in Montpellier, France.

Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of California – Davis. The original article was written by Andy Fell. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.

Agriculture and Food News — ScienceDaily

Changing global diets is vital to reducing climate change

Healthier diets and reducing food waste are part of a combination of solutions needed to ensure food security and avoid dangerous climate change, say the team behind a new study.

A new study, published today in Nature Climate Change, suggests that — if current trends continue — food production alone will reach, if not exceed, the global targets for total greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in 2050.

The study’s authors say we should all think carefully about the food we choose and its environmental impact. A shift to healthier diets across the world is just one of a number of actions that need to be taken to avoid dangerous climate change and ensure there is enough food for all.

As populations rise and global tastes shift towards meat-heavy Western diets, increasing agricultural yields will not meet projected food demands of what is expected to be 9.6 billion people — making it necessary to bring more land into cultivation.

This will come at a high price, warn the authors, as the deforestation will increase carbon emissions as well as biodiversity loss, and increased livestock production will raise methane levels. They argue that current food demand trends must change through reducing waste and encouraging balanced diets.

If we maintain ‘business as usual’, say the authors, then by 2050 cropland will have expanded by 42% and fertiliser use increased sharply by 45% over 2009 levels. A further tenth of the world’s pristine tropical forests would disappear over the next 35 years.

The study shows that increased deforestation, fertilizer use and livestock methane emissions are likely to cause GHG from food production to increase by almost 80%. This will put emissions from food production alone roughly equal to the target greenhouse gas emissions in 2050 for the entire global economy.

The study’s authors write that halving the amount of food waste and managing demand for particularly environmentally-damaging food products by changing global diets should be key aims that, if achieved, might mitigate some of the greenhouse gases causing climate change.

“There are basic laws of biophysics that we cannot evade,” said lead researcher Bojana Bajzelj from the University of Cambridge’s Department of Engineering, who authored the study with colleagues from Cambridge’s departments of Geography and Plant Sciences as well as the University of Aberdeen’s Institute of Biological and Environmental Sciences.

“The average efficiency of livestock converting plant feed to meat is less than 3%, and as we eat more meat, more arable cultivation is turned over to producing feedstock for animals that provide meat for humans. The losses at each stage are large, and as humans globally eat more and more meat, conversion from plants to food becomes less and less efficient, driving agricultural expansion and land cover conversion, and releasing more greenhouse gases. Agricultural practices are not necessarily at fault here — but our choice of food is,” said Bajzelj.

“It is imperative to find ways to achieve global food security without expanding crop or pastureland. Food production is a main driver of biodiversity loss and a large contributor to climate change and pollution, so our food choices matter.”

The team analysed evidence such as land use, land suitability and agricultural biomass data to create a robust model that compares different scenarios for 2050, including scenarios based on maintaining current trends.

One scenario investigated by the team is on the supply side: the closing of ‘yield gaps’. Gaps between crop yields achieved in ‘best practice’ farming and the actual average yields exist all over the world, but are widest in developing countries — particularly in Sub-Saharan Africa. The researchers say that closing these gaps through sustainable intensification of farming should be actively pursued.

But even with the yield gaps closed, projected food demand will still require additional land — so the impact on GHG emissions and biodiversity remains. Bajzelj points out that higher yields will also require more mineral fertiliser use and increased water demand for irrigation.

Food waste, another scenario analysed by the team, occurs at all stages in the food chain. In developing countries, poor storage and transportation cause waste; in the west, wasteful consumption is rife. “The latter is in many ways worse because the wasted food products have already undergone various transformations that require input of other resources, especially energy,” said Bajzelj.

Yield gap closure alone still showed a greenhouse gas increase of just over 40% by 2050. Closing yield gaps and halving food waste still showed a small increase of 2% in greenhouse gas emissions. When healthy diets were added, the model suggests that all three measures combined result in agricultural GHG levels almost halving from their 2009 level — dropping 48%.

“Western diets are increasingly characterised by excessive consumption of food, including that of emission-intensive meat and dairy products. We tested a scenario where all countries were assumed to achieve an average balanced diet — without excessive consumption of sugars, fats, and meat products. This significantly reduced the pressures on the environment even further,” said the team.

The ‘average’ balanced diet used in the study is a relatively achievable goal for most. For example, the figures included two 85g portions of red meat and five eggs per week, as well as a portion of poultry a day.

“This is not a radical vegetarian argument; it is an argument about eating meat in sensible amounts as part of healthy, balanced diets,” said Cambridge co-author Prof Keith Richards. “Managing the demand better, for example by focusing on health education, would bring double benefits — maintaining healthy populations, and greatly reducing critical pressures on the environment.”

Co-author Prof Pete Smith from the University of Aberdeen said: “unless we make some serious changes in food consumption trends, we would have to completely de-carbonise the energy and industry sectors to stay within emissions budgets that avoid dangerous climate change. That is practically impossible — so, as well as encouraging sustainable agriculture, we need to re-think what we eat.”

“Cutting food waste and moderating meat consumption in more balanced diets, are the essential ‘no-regrets’ options,” added Bajzelj.

Agriculture and Food News — ScienceDaily

Charting the global invasion of crop pests

Many of the world’s most important crop-producing countries will be fully saturated with pests by the middle of the century if current trends continue, according to a new study led by the University of Exeter.

More than one-in-ten pest types can already be found in around half the countries that grow their host crops. If this spread advances at its current rate, scientists fear that a significant proportion of global crop-producing countries will be overwhelmed by pests within the next 30 years.

Crop pests include fungi, bacteria, viruses, insects, nematodes, viroids and oomycetes. The research, published in the journal Global Ecology and Biogeography, describes the patterns and trends in their spread, using global databases to investigate the factors that influence the number of countries reached by pests and the number of pests in each country.

Dr Dan Bebber of Biosciences at the University of Exeter said: “If crop pests continue to spread at current rates, many of the world’s biggest crop producing nations will be inundated by the middle of the Century, posing a grave threat to global food security.”

The study identifies the pests likely to be the most invasive in coming years, including: three species of tropical root knot nematode whose larvae infect the roots of thousands of different plant species; Blumeria graminis, a fungus that causes powdery mildew on wheat and other cereals; and the Citrus tristeza virus (given its name meaning ‘sadness’ in Portuguese and Spanish by farmers in the 1930s) which had reached 105 of 145 countries growing citrus by 2000.

Fungi lead the worldwide invasion of crops and are the most widely dispersed group, despite having the narrowest range of hosts.

The study looked at the current distributions of 1,901 crop pests and pathogens and historical observations of a further 424 species. Significant use was made of historical CABI records, which document crop pests and diseases around the world from 1822 to the present day.

Dr Timothy Holmes, Head of Technical Solutions at CABI’s Plantwise knowledge bank, said: “By unlocking the potential to understand the distribution of crop pests and diseases, we’re moving one step closer to protecting our ability to feed a growing global population. The hope is to turn data into positive action.”

It supports the view of previous studies that climate change is likely to significantly affect pest pressure on agriculture, with the warming Earth having a clear influence on the distribution of crop pests.

The authors also describe the global game of cat-and-mouse as crops are introduced to pest free regions and briefly thrive, before their pursuers catch up with them.

Professor Sarah Gurr of Biosciences the University of Exeter added: “New, virulent variants of pests are constantly evolving. Their emergence is favoured by increased pest population sizes and their rapid life-cycles, which force diversified selection and heralds the appearance of new aggressive genotypes. There is hope if robust plant protection strategies and biosecurity measures are implemented, particularly in the developing world where knowledge is scant. Whether such precautions can slow or stop this process remains to be seen.”

Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Exeter. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.

Agriculture and Food News — ScienceDaily