Climate Change and the Prospect of Famine

Department: 
The Global Environment
Teaser: 

"As global warming puts stresses on farmers feeding a growing world population, financing to develop new crop varieties and new techniques has been slow to materialize."

Source: 

NYT > Environment Download time: Jun 5 2011 9:03 AM ET

CIUDAD OBREGÓN, Mexico — The dun wheat field spreading out at Ravi P. Singh's feet offered a possible clue to human destiny. Baked by a desert sun and deliberately starved of water, the plants were parched and nearly dead.

Dr. Singh, a wheat breeder, grabbed seed heads that should have been plump with the staff of life. His practiced fingers found empty husks.

"You're not going to feed the people with that," he said.

But then, over in Plot 88, his eyes settled on a healthier plant, one that had managed to thrive in spite of the drought, producing plump kernels of wheat. "This is beautiful!" he shouted as wheat beards rustled in the wind.

Hope in a stalk of grain: It is a hope the world needs these days, for the great agricultural system that feeds the human race is in trouble.…

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