An article by Mark Kinver, BBC News.
Fewer crop species are feeding the world than 50 years ago – raising concerns about the resilience of the global food system, a study has shown.
The authors warned a loss of diversity meant more people were dependent on key crops, leaving them more exposed to harvest failures.
Higher consumption of energy-dense crops could also contribute to a global rise in heart disease and diabetes, they added.
The findings appear in PNAS journal.
“Over the past 50 years, we are seeing that diets around the world are changing and they are becoming more similar – what we call the ‘globalised diet’,” co-author Colin Khoury, a scientist from the Colombia-based International Center for Tropical Agriculture, explained.
“This diet is composed of big, major cops such as wheat, rice, potatoes and sugar.
“It also includes crops that were not important 50 years ago but have become very important now, particularly oil crops like soybean,” he told BBC News.
While wheat has long been a staple crop, it is now a key food in more than 97% of countries listed in UN data, the study showed.
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