Plant breeding saves water of 22 million swimming pools
June 5th was World Environment Day. Research shows: breeding contributes to agriculture yields & crop exports, and helps to decrease water use and CO2 emission.
Effects on yield and exports of potatoes:
An extra 10 million tons of potatoes every year are grown by EU farmers thanks to potato breeding over the past 15 years. That’s more than the annual potato output of the whole of Poland, and means the EU can export potatoes instead of importing them.
Today’s European potato harvests would be 20% lower and 7% more expensive for consumers without the last 15 years of plant breeding advances. And 60% of the growth in potato harvests can be attributed to plant breeding.
Effects on CO2:
Without plant breeding, Europe would need an extra 19 million hectares of farm land to produce the same amount of food. Turning 19 million hectares of forests, wetlands and other habitats into farmland would release 3.4 bn tons of CO2. Annualised, that’s the same as all the greenhouse gas emissions from traffic in Germany, or the annual CO2 emissions of a country like the Netherlands.
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