Article written by guest writer Kecia Lynn
What's the Latest Development?
A report released by the CGIAR agricultural partnership in response to a United Nations request predicts that, due to climate change, the production of wheat, potatoes, and other common crops will decrease in many parts of the world, providing a possible opening for the cultivation of plants like bananas, plantains and cassava. As the global temperature warms, certain varieties of bananas could grow in some locations where potatoes grow now. Cassava is also considered a good choice because of its ability to withstand different climate stressors. Another hardy plant, the cowpea, is already seen as an alternative to more temperature-sensitive soybeans.
What's the Big Idea?
Although wheat is still at the top of the grain production list, in the developing world it's being pushed out in favor of other crops, making it more susceptible to climate change. Cowpea production is increasing in parts of Africa, along with the raising of smaller livestock such as goat. Researchers note that shifts such as these have always taken place in response to various biological and other events, and that people's diets will adjust accordingly. One cites rice as an example: "Two decades ago there was almost no rice consumption in certain areas of Africa, now there is. People have changed because of the pricing: it's easier to get, it's easier to cook."
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