Securing tomorrow’s food
Promoting the sustainable use of farm animal genetic resources. Information for action


Abstract

The twentieth century has witnessed spectacular advances in many areas, including agriculture and medicine. The consequences have been both positive and negative: extended human life spans, increased food production and other achievements stand against a staggering growth in population, widespread environmental degradation and the fact that about 826 million people, or about 13% of the world’s population, still go hungry. The development of high-performing livestock and poultry breeds has no doubt greatly contributed to the increase of food production, especially in temperate climates. But their indiscriminate export into tropical countries has often ended in failure, as the animals cannot stand the heat, need optimal inputs and readily succumb to disease. To overcome these weaknesses, the ongoing approach is the widespread promotion of crossbreeding high-yielding breeds with hardy and welladapted local animals. The price of this and other developments is high: local breeds are disappearing at a rate of two breeds a week. This has far-reaching consequences, not only for our generation but also for the generations to come.

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