Policy ForumGlobal Nutrition

Metrics for land-scarce agriculture

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Science  17 Jul 2015:
Vol. 349, Issue 6245, pp. 238-240
DOI: 10.1126/science.aaa5766

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Summary

Over the past half-century, the paradigm for agricultural development has been to maximize yields through intensifying production, particularly for cereal crops (1). Increasing production of high-yielding cereals—wheat, rice, and maize—has replaced more nutrient-rich cereals, which has eroded the content of essential dietary nutrients in the world's cereal supply. New approaches are needed to produce healthy foods, rich in essential nutrients, with efficient use of land. Standard yield metrics that measure the quantity of production are inadequate to assess progress toward this goal; thus, we propose alternative metrics of nutritional yields.

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