Jun 15th 2015

Future Food Production: Crops (edX)

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How to feed the world without depleting our planet’s reserves? Learn the basics of crop production.

Feeding nine billion in 2050 without exhausting the planetary reserves is perhaps the greatest challenge mankind has ever faced. This course will examine the principles of production ecology and the ‘availability pillar’ of global food security that lie at the heart of food production. They can be applied to both crops and animal production. This course on the basics of crop production will discuss why yields in some parts of the world are lagging behind and identify the agro-ecological drivers that shape the wide diversity of production systems.

Furthermore, key issues relating to closing of yield gaps and how these link to different visions of sustainability will be explored.

This online course will be of great interest to international students and those with varied educational backgrounds, both professionally and culturally, to enrich their views and action perspectives related to global food security and food systems. Prof. Ken E. Giller will introduce you to crop production and underlying bio-physical principles in order to identify constraining factors in yield formation. He will explain how to assess yield gaps at the level of fields and production systems around the world, contributing to efficient resource management. Wageningen University and Research, through its unique systems-based approach to food systems, adds the phase of primary production to the broad context of global food security.

What you'll learn:

- Value the main issues related to global food production and consumption and the regional differences between developed and developing countries.

- Understand how food crop production can be influenced by changing the availability of water and nutrients and by measures suppressing pests, diseases and weeds.

- Identify the processes related to food crop production that cause major environmental problems and evaluate measures to solve and prevent those problems.

- Assess yield gaps of food crops in different geographical regions.

- Judge innovations in food crop production on their merits for the rural population in the different geographical regions.