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Citation Information

Type Journal Article - Food Security
Title Managing the biological environment to promote and sustain crop productivity and quality
Volume 6
Issue 2
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2014
Page numbers 169-186
URL https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Fenton_Beed/publication/260797405_Managing_the_biological_envir​onment_to_promote_and_sustain_crop_productivity_and_quality/links/0a85e532d69ad9d8df000000.pdf
Global crop production needs to double by 2050 in
order to meet demands from rising populations, diet shifts and
biofuels. Production must increase through more efficient use
of currently available arable land to prevent encroachment on
land that otherwise provides vital services to the earth and its
people (i.e. through increased biodiversity and reduced carbon
emissions). Significant improvements can be realised through
enhanced management of critical diseases of crops that are
pivotal to food security and income generation. To achieve
this, the dynamic and complex interactions between crops and
beneficial or antagonistic organisms that characterise the biological
environment, must be understood. For Sub-Saharan
Africa (SSA) a crop healthcare system is required that encompasses
national responsibility and regional cooperation, and
which harnesses global excellence in terms of the knowledge
and methods that are available for implementation. This system
would be able to control crop diseases in a pre-emptive
and cost efficient manner and avoid the current scenario of
belatedly combating largescale epidemics. Components
would include: risk assessment to predict impacts on food
and feed value chains; targeted surveillance; fit-for-purpose
diagnostics; control intervention packages; extension mechanisms;
and enabling policy environments. Each component
would be refined, based on practical feedback and results from
research targeted to address knowledge gaps. Specific examples
are presented for viruses of cassava, viral and bacterial diseases
of banana, stem rust of wheat and a new viral disease complex
of maize. Finally, the links among disease control and improved
crop quality, consumer health and safe trade are discussed
through biological control interventions for aflatoxin in SSA.

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