The author, an eminent British ecologist, recently installed as president of the Rockefeller Foundation, has written a dense, fact-filled book on the world's capacity to feed its growing population and cut malnutrition in half by 2015, as called for by the World Food Summit of 1996. The book underlines the complexities of agriculture in the tropics, where most undernourished people live, especially compared with those in temperate latitudes. It also emphasizes that reducing malnutrition requires not only adequate world food supplies, but practical access to food by poor people, either through their own efforts or through sources of income adequate to make purchases on the world market. The author concludes that a new green revolution is possible, thanks to discoveries in molecular and cellular biology and to the development of modern ecology. But the focus of effort must go considerably beyond rice, wheat, and corn. New research must cover many more local ecologies of tropical products.
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