Getting past that 75%

China has lost 90% of the wheat varieties it had 60 years ago. The US has lost over 90% of the fruit tree and vegetable varieties it had at the start of the 20th century. Mexico has lost 80% of its corn varieties, India 90% of its rice varieties. In Spain, the number of melon varieties has gone down from nearly 400 in the early 1970s to a dozen.

What, not 75%? Anyway, too bad there are no references, but the Indian figure may come from the sources we discussed a while back. And of course “lost” is too dramatic. Some varieties may no longer be grown by farmers, but could still be in genebanks. But it is good to see a trope that’s well past its sell-by date being avoided for once.

3 Replies to “Getting past that 75%”

  1. Might be useful to consult this paper in terms of loss of genetic diversity:
    Ford-Lloyd, B.V., D. Brar, G.S. Khush, M.T. Jackson & P.S. Virk, 2008. Genetic erosion over time of rice landrace agrobiodiversity. Plant Genetic Resources: Characterization and Utilization 7(2), 163-168.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *