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Fertile Crescent under threat from violent turmoil in the Middle East

Sep 10, 2014 17:22 IST

Fertile Crescent : ancient area of fertile soil and vital rivers in Middle East

Fertile Crescent was in news recently due to the new initiative by the UN's Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and University of Birmingham's School of Biosciences.

The initiative revealed that millions of people could in future face starvation as an indirect result of the violent turmoil in the Middle East.

Middle East has the highest concentration of wild crop plants needed to produce new food varieties. Many of these plants are endangered as a result of the civil strife.

Civil wars raging in Syria and Iraq threaten future food resources because of the crucial role the region plays as the home of the wild plants continually needed to improve genetic quality of domesticated crops.

The area is the stretching arc from the Nile to the Tigris and Euphrates encompassing Iraq, Syria and the Lebanon. The area has the greatest diversity of wild crop relatives in the world.

The two sites with the richest concentrations of wild crop relatives anywhere in the world lie within Syria, Lebanon, Jordan and Israel. The inventory indicates that, globally, about 21% of wild crop relatives face extinction.

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