Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Bananas could replace potatoes in warming world

Bananas could replace potatoes in warming world

Climate change could lead to bananas becoming a critical source of food for millions of people, a new study has claimed.

Researchers from the CGIAR agricultural partnership said that the fruit might replace potatoes in some developing countries, the BBC reported.

The authors of the report also said that cassava and the little known cowpea plant could play increasingly important roles in agriculture, as temperatures rise and people will have to adapt to new and varied menus as traditional crops struggle.

Responding to a request from the United Nations' committee on world food security, a team of experts in the field looked at the projected effects of climate change on 22 of the world's most important agricultural commodities.

They predict that the production of world's three biggest crops in terms of calories provided - maize, rice and wheat - will decrease in many developing countries.

They also suggested that the potato that grows best in cooler climates could also suffer as temperatures increase and weather becomes more volatile.

The authors argued that these changes "could provide an opening for cultivating certain varieties of bananas" at higher altitudes, even in those places, which currently grow potatoes.

Dr Philip Thornton, one of the researchers behind the report, said that while bananas also have limiting factors, they could be a good substitute for potatoes in certain locations.

"It's not necessarily a silver bullet but there may be places where as temperatures increase, bananas might be one option that small holders could start to look at," he said.

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