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Thought for food

According to United Nations predictions, the world population will grow from the current 6.78Bn to top 9Bn in 2050.

Population growth and movement combined with climate change, changing consumption patterns and competing demands for land make continuing to feed the global population a huge, complex problem.

Bioscience is contributing to long term food security in a wide range of ways from developing more nutritious crops to defending animals and plants from pests and disease.

 

Bioscience is helping to feed the world

Plants use chemical signals to repel pest species and attract beneficial insects such as pollinators. Scientists are making use of this to develop companion “push-pull” planting schemes to manage pests. In push-pull planting a plant which repels the pest is planted with the crop (the push) and a crop that attracts the pest is planted round the borders of the plot (the pull). This way, the pest is lured away from the crop into the trap plant where they can easily be controlled.

Push-pull planting has helped over 3000 farmers in Eastern Africa increasing cereal production as much as five-fold.

By studying the ecological interactions and chemicals involved in the processes of attraction and repulsion, scientists are continuing to develop better planting strategies.

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