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Last Updated: Tuesday, 27 March 2007, 14:28 GMT 15:28 UK
Feeding the World
First broadcast March 2007

Hands holding corn

This BBC World Service series investigates the growing but often under-reported challenges facing the world's food supply.

Global Warming, soil erosion and a world population that is set to grow by a further two and half billion in the next 30 years, are just some of the pressures that could undermine the current state of relative abundance.

The BBC's World Affairs correspondent Mark Doyle assesses which outcome will prevail and the factors that will decide it. He discovers what policies need to be put in place now to ensure the world can feed itself in the future.

Part One: Growing Pains

The first programme in the series begins by charting the recent history of food production, the so-called "Green Revolution" of the 1960s and 70s, that transformed Asian and Latin American crop yields in particular.

Today in India some of the less-sustainable technologies that made that revolution possible, like heavy use of pesticides and deep-well irrigation, are beginning to take their toll.

According to the UN, India could soon become a net grain importer for the first time in decades, partly owing to its growing affluence and consumption patterns.

And with the increasingly apparent effects of climate change, and with global grain reserves at their lowest level in thirty years, some are suggesting that the world's food supply could be in for a shock - an event that could have consequences for us all.

Series Producer: Ed Butler

See also:

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