This project reviewed barley and potato as crops, paying particular attention to resilience traits in order to assess strengths and weaknesses in relation to food security. We assessed production, distribution, trade and uses worldwide, and investigated supply chain issues for end-users.

Barley and potato are two important crops in relation to a growing world population. Compared to other cereals, barley is an inherently resilient crop with great potential for adaptation, not only to climate change, but also for new uses, particularly human food.  Potato is a critical crop in terms of food security as more than a billion people worldwide eat potato. 

Climate change is likely to affect the stability of barley yield through increased problems with waterlogging in winter and water stress in drier, warmer summers. Management strategies that only focus on maximising yield (potential) can cause over-use or inefficient use of soils – which can lead to instability in future yields.

Through genomics we have got a better understanding of the key genes and mechanisms underlying potato development, physiology, water and nutrient use efficiency and resistance to biotic and abiotic stresses. This improves our ability to adapt potato plants to withstand multiple pest, pathogens and environmental stresses as a result of climate change. This is critical to potato remaining a major food source.

The assessments were carried out using expert opinion, data from many current and recent research projects including with industry, and extensive literature reviews.