Increasing Homogeneity in Global Food Supplies and Implications for Food Security

ZEF and the Global Crop Diversity Trust cordially invite you to a public lecture and panel discussion with Colin Khoury from the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT) and several other co-authors who will be discussing the findings of their recently published study.


Venue: ZEF’s conference room, Walter-Flex-Straße 3, 53113 Bonn (see map).


*) Abstract of “Increasing Homogeneity in Global Food Supplies and Implications for Food Security”

The narrowing of diversity in crop species contributing to the world’s food supplies has been considered a potential threat to food security. However, changes in this diversity have not been quantified globally. We assessed trends over the past 50 years in the richness, abundance, and composition of crop species in national food supplies worldwide. Over this period, national per capita food supplies expanded in total quantities of food calories, protein, fat, and weight, with increased proportions of those quantities sourcing from energy-dense foods. At the same time the number of measured crop commodities contributing to national food supplies increased, the relative contribution of these commodities within these supplies became more even, and the dominance of the most significant commodities decreased.


As a consequence, national food supplies worldwide became more similar in composition, correlated particularly with an increased supply of a number of globally important cereal and oil crops, and a decline of other cereal, oil, and starchy root species. The increase in homogeneity worldwide portends the establishment of a global standard food supply, which is relatively species-rich in regard to measured crops at the national level, but species-poor globally. These changes in food supplies heighten interdependence among countries in regard to availability and access to these food sources and the genetic resources supporting their production, and give further urgency to nutrition development priorities aimed at bolstering food security.


Background information:

The Global Crop Diversity Trust is an independent international organisation with a vision to secure forever the basis of a diverse and sustainable agriculture to support food security and alleviate poverty. Headquartered in Bonn, the Crop Trust provides sustainable funding to key international collections of plant genetic resources, promotes the availability of collections and information sharing, and funds technical assistance and capacity building around the globe. It also supports the Svalbard Global Seed Vault.


ZEF has been hosting the international secretariat of Global Hort since January 2014. See: ZEF's Website. Global Hort acts as a global facility for coordinated horticultural research that provides solutions towards increasing health, productivity and safety in sustainable environments, to uplift the quality of life of the poorest populations in the world.



Alma van der Veen


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