"A decline in the diversity of farmed plants and livestock breeds is gathering pace, threatening future food supplies for the world's growing population, the head of a new United Nations panel on biodiversity said on Monday."
"Preserving neglected animal breeds and plants was necessary as they could have genes resistant to future diseases or to shifts in the climate to warmer temperatures, more droughts or downpours, Zakri Abdul Hamid said.
'The loss of biodiversity is happening faster and everywhere, even among farm animals,' Zakri told a conference of 450 experts in Trondheim, central Norway, in his first speech as founding chair of the U.N. biodiversity panel.
Many traditional breeds of cows, sheep or goats have fallen out of favor, often because they yield less meat or milk than new breeds. Globalization also means that people's food preferences narrow down to fewer plants."
Alister Doyle reports for Reuters May 28, 2013.