Fewer species are available for human consumption
United Nations’ (UN) Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) said humans are now depending on fewer specifies for food, which undermines our ability to feed and nourish a growing global population.
FAO said in its first report on biodiversity in food systems that although about 6,000 plant species can be used for food, less than 200 varieties are widely eaten, and only nine make up most of the world’s total crop production.
“The loss of biodiversity for food and agriculture is seriously undermining our ability to feed and nourish an ever-growing global population,” FAO Head Jose Graziano da Silva said in a Reuters report.
“We need to use biodiversity in a sustainable way, so that we can better respond to rising climate change challenges and produce food in a way that doesn’t harm our environment,” he added.
The report further said that from insects to seagrass, crustaceans and fungi, nearly a quarter of about 4,000 wild food species are falling.
The report then suggested that global food production must become more diverse and must include species that are not widely eaten.
“Compounded by our reliance on fewer and fewer species to feed ourselves, the increasing loss of biodiversity for food and agriculture puts food security and nutrition at risk,” Graziano da Silva said.
The report further said diversification could also help fight malnutrition globally by bringing little-known but highly nutritious foods into the mainstream, like fonio, which is a small grain that is well-suited to hot climates with unpredictable weather patterns.