National Geographic : 2012 Jul
Packing a Punch Protein-rich chickpeas are grown in more than 50 countries from the Mediterranean to South Asia, so improved varieties could make a big contribution to future food needs. The legumes also enrich soil with nitrogen, so farmers can use less fertilizer. New chickpea varieties developed to grow in harsher conditions and fight off blight have made it possible for farmers in Africa and Asia to double their yields. ---Nancy Shute 8.9 7.6 3.4 2.4 2.6 1.8 164 96 111 ENERGY kcal) PROTEIN g FIBER g CHICKPEAS CORN BROWN RICE POWER PODS Chickpeas provide more than two times as much protein as corn and more than four times as much fiber as brown rice. 0 50 100 150 1961 150 million tons projected by 2015 2010 THE HUMBLE SPUD The world's top potato producer, China is pushing to develop disease-free seed potatoes and new varieties tailored to diverse climates as its population grows. BUG PROTEIN They're nutritious, plentiful, and often crunchy. Grasshoppers, rhino beetles, and termites are just some of the more than one thousand species of insects eaten around the world. Most are foraged. But as food prices rise, bug farming may become a growth industry. PHOTOS: KIRIAKO IATRIDIS TOP ; DAVID LIITTSCHWAGER LEFT ; ERIC GREGORY POWELL. GRAPHICS: JASON TREAT, NGM STAFF SOURCES: USDA; FAOSTAT; INTERNATIONAL POTATO CENTER Nutritional value, 100 grams (g), cooked Potato production in China, millions of tons NEXT | FUTURE OF FOOD Food demand is expected to rise some 70 percent by 2050. To meet the need, the next green revolution is focused on helping small farmers.