The United Nations’ (UN) Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO) has called for an increase in plant species used for food, whilst pushing for ratifications of the 2001 International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources.


In a note to its governing conference, in Rome, the FAO said: “Despite its crucial importance for the survival of humanity, agricultural biodiversity is in ever-greater danger.”


It noted that of the estimated 7,000 to 8,000 species used in 10,000 years of agriculture, only 150 are cultivated today and four – wheat, maize, rice and potato – account for more than half of plant-based food calories.


The treaty commits governments to promoting food plant sustainable production. Seven more ratifications are needed for it to come into force.

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