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FOOD: World needs variety of grain options

Letter by Tyrean A. Martinson, Gig Harbor on Feb. 18, 2014 at 1:12 pm | No Comments »
February 18, 2014 2:35 pm

Re: “Mix of technologies holds promise to feed the world” (TNT, 2-16).

I agree with researcher Mark Rosegrant when he states, “The reality is that no single agricultural technology or farming practice will provide sufficient food for the world in 2050.” However, despite his statement and the study by the Food Policy Research Institute, it seems that only corn, wheat and rice are being researched.

If we want to change global farming practices and provide food for countries with different levels of drought and heat, wouldn’t it be better to look at a variety of grains?

Amaranth, quinoa and sorghum are all grains with high nutrient values. Some of these grow more easily areas where drought and heat cause crops to suffer.

Amaranth is a rich source of minerals like calcium, magnesium and copper. Quinoa is one of the most protein-rich foods we can eat. Sorghum was a staple food in Africa, but it was replaced by corn. Researchers from the University of Witwatersrand Medical School in South Africa believe that “the change of the staple diet of Black South Africans from sorghum to maize (corn) is the cause of the epidemic of squamous carcinoma of the esophagus.”

Corn, wheat and rice are not superfoods. Even with their nutritional benefits, they don’t meet all our needs. Scientists need to study alternatives so that farmers can provide healthy food for the world in 2050, and today.

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