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Publication | 30 March 2021

How to do: Crop selection for diet quality and resilience

Global Food and Nutrition Security

Agricultural biodiversity (agrobiodiversity) is a strategic asset to fight food and nutrition insecurity, climate change vulnerability, and poverty. The wealth of food crops is estimated at 5,000 species (Kew Royal Botanic Gardens 2016) but global food systems are increasingly dominated by just three crops—rice, maize, and wheat—which altogether make up more than 50% of human plant-based caloric intake and cover 40% of arable land globally (FAOSTAT 2013). The diversity of livestock in agricultural systems is also in dramatic decline (Yaro et al. 2016). Modern agricultural practices, uniformity in agricultural markets, and changing lifestyles are causing the disappearance of crop and livestock diversity from production and food systems.