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Food Security

ISPP Task Force on Global Food Security

Current Issues
Is GM technology "utterly safe"?
Food Security Sessions at ICPP 2013

Abstracts (see pp 7-9)
Global Food Security: Challenge Project in South Africa
Global Food Security: Challenge Project in Ghana
Plant Disease: A Threat to Global Food Security.
Postgraduate training for plant pathologists in developing countries.
  New users start here: Welcome to the TASK FORCE ON GLOBAL FOOD SECURITY
  You are invited to explore what the Task Force (TF) does, its origins, its membership, and its plans for the future. Please read on and follow the links.
  Detailed Contents:
  The Task Force    

1999 First meeting, Bangkok, Thailand


2003 meeting, Christchurch, New Zealand


2008 meeting, Torino, Italy


2011 meeting, Darwin, Australia


2013 meeting, Beijing, China

  Challenge Programme    
  Members of the Task Force    
  Food Security Journal    

ISPP Task Force on Global Food Security


At the 7th International Congress of Plant Pathology (ICPP98), Edinburgh, August 1998, a Special Public Meeting was convened on

Global Food Security: The Role for Plant Pathology

It was addressed by five speakers including Norman Borlaug, plant pathologist and winner of the Nobel Peace Prize in 1970 for his work on food security (he died in 2009).

The Organizer, W. Clive James, provided a background brief which is presented here with content updated to 2010 (cf. 1998 version).

The enormity of the problem

During the World Food Summit in Rome in 1996, Heads of States agreed to halve the number of hungry people by 2015. Some progress has been made but there are still 1.02 billion, almost all of them in developing countries of Asia, Africa and Latin America.

Hungry children, India
Ananya Mukherjee-Reed, Revista Amauta

What are the facts about Global Food Security?

Hunger and poverty are inextricably linked and the solution does not rely on one factor, but on an interrelated complex of factors that includes population, technology, policy and social changes.

Haiti, where more than half the population live on less than $1 a day
  • World population is 6.8 billion
  • World population is increasing by 77,000,000 or 1,2% each year
  • 82% live in developing countries, where the population increases 1.4% per year
  • More than 1 billion people do not have adequate food
  • At least 1.4 billion live on less than $1.25 a day
  • Almost half the world population live on less than $2.50 a day
  • The price of food has risen dramatically: rice cost 28% more in 2008 than in 2006
  • 642 million people are suffering from chronic hunger in Asia and the Pacific; 265 million in Sub-Saharan Africa; 53 million in Latin America and the Caribbean; 42 million in the Near East and North Africa; and 15 million in developed countries.
  • Asia is home to two-thirds of the world's poor: every fifth person lives on less than $1 a day. In India, Bangladesh and Cambodia, more than 30% of people live on less than $1 a day.
  • Most poor people live in areas where the land is marginal and ecosystems are fragile

Why do diseases and pests of crops matter?

Potato blight, caused by Phytophthora infestans
Ben Hanstein, Daily Bulldog


Brown spot of rice, caused by Cochliobolus miyabeanus
Chin Khoon Min


Southern corn leaf blight of maize, caused by Cochliobolus  heterostrophus


PRESENTATIONS AT ICPP98, Edinburgh, August 1998

What are the options for managing crop diseases to improve food security?

To address this question, five distinguished scientists addressed different aspects of the issue.

These presentations were followed by a public discussion, during which Paul Teng (International Rice Research Institute, Philippines) and David Thurston (Cornell University, USA) issued the challenge to the International Society for Plant Pathology (ISPP) to


Activities of the Task Force can be followed here. They include the development of the ISPP journal: