Chapter 4 : The rol of wheat in global food securiy - United Kingdom : Routledge, 2018.
Wheat is the most widely cultivated cereal in the world, a staple food for 40 percent of the world's population, that contributes 20 percent of total dietary calories and proteins worldwide (Braun et al., 2010). Wheat demand has doubled since the 1980s, with most of the demand coming from developing countries, which harvest 50 percent of global wheat production annually. Consequently, wheat is at the epicenter of global food security. Tremendous gains in wheat productivity occurred in the 1960s and '70s as a direct result of the high-yielding, short-stature, disease-resistant and fertilizer-responsive wheat lines that were developed and distributed during the Green Revolution, led by Dr. Norman Borlaug that saved millions of people from starvation. Global wheat production during the first decade following the Green Revolution increased by over 4 percent with increases of over 8 percent in South Asia, East Asia, Mexico and Central America. Grain prod uction needs to double to feed a world population that is estimated to reach approximately 9 billion by 2050. Challenges impos'ed by climate change and the related abiotic (heat, drought, salinity) and biotic (pathogens, insects, weeds) stresses means that substantial efforts are needed to incorporate resistance or tolerance to abiotic and biotic stresses as well as improve gains in productivity and quality to ensure the food security of the fast-growing world population (Rosegrant et al., 1995; Solb, 2016). To be able to meet the predicted demands for wheat in the near future, farmers across the globe-and especially smallholder farmers in the developing world-are in need of a second Green Revolution. Scientists at national and international research institutions are exploring new technologies to increase the rate of genetic gain in wheat by reducing yield losses caused by biotic and abiotic stresses and mining genetic variability and diversity that can lead to better adaptation under current and future climatic conditions.
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