ROME, June 7 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Britain's Prince
Charles called on Wednesday for greater diversity in crop
planting to feed a growing population in the face of global
Access to a large pool of genetic information held by
different plant varieties is key for scientists, who are racing
to find crops capable of tolerating increasingly high
temperatures, water shortages and dry conditions.
Three quarters of the world's plant genetic diversity has
been lost since the 1900s, as farmers shift from local varieties
to genetically uniform, high-yielding crop breeds, according to
the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).
Speaking in a video message in support of an international
lobby group, Food Forever, Charles said the trend to grow fewer
varieties was "profoundly alarming".
"With a reduced pool of genetic diversity at our disposal,
it will become more difficult to produce abundant, tasty and
nutritious food to feed an unsustainably growing population,"
said the heir to the British throne, who has long been a vocal
About 75 percent of the world's food is generated from only
12 plants and five animal species, according to the FAO.
Food Forever is a partnership of organisations and advocates
working to safeguard agricultural biodiversity. It was set up by
the Netherlands and international NGO Crop Trust, of which
Charles - a keen plantsman - is a patron.
(Reporting by Umberto Bacchi @UmbertoBacchi, Editing by Lyndsay
Griffiths. Please credit the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the
charitable arm of Thomson Reuters, that covers humanitarian
news, women's rights, trafficking, property rights, climate
change and resilience. Visit news.trust.org)