"Return to Resistance: Breeding Crops to Reduce Pesticide
Dependence", a new book by Raoul A. Robinson, explains how groups of
farmers can work together to breed crops with effective, durable resistance
to all locally important pests and diseases. Writing with engaging candor,
Dr. Robinson analyzes crop breeding's successes and shortcomings, and
explains the new techniques of breeding food crops with this inherited
immunity-technically termed "horizontal resistance."
Breeding crops with horizontal resistance promises to solve the
problem of crop parasites, which currently destroy about one-fifth of all
crop production worldwide, despite extravagant use of crop protection
chemicals. Properly utilized, horizontal resistance could provide us with a
largely pest-free agriculture, one which is largely pesticide-free as well.
"We are approaching the biologic limits of what this planet can
support," cautions the 1990 recipient of the World Food Prize, John S.
Niederhauser, Ph.D. "Only by implementing some of the basic concepts that
have been advanced and publicized by Dr. Robinson, can an increasing world
population be fed, while preserving our natural resources and the quality
of our environment."
Horizontal resistance breeding has been largely ignored in this
century due to the popularity and apparent successes of the Mendelian
geneticists. However the colossal, unrecognized failure of modern crops is
their extreme susceptiblity to pests and diseases, and the consequent
necessity to spray them repeatedly with pesticides. We have come to accept
exposure to pesticides in our food as a necessary evil.
This ground-breaking work provides stimulating discussion of the
pitfalls of classical plant breeding and the green revolution, case
histories of crops which have been successfully bred to overcome blights
and insects, and how to organize plant breeding clubs. The book also
features a detailed encyclopedia of plant breeding techniques.
"This well written book presents in a simplified form the highly
complex subject of breeding plants for resistance to their parasites,"
comments Dr. Luigi Chiarappa, Former Chief of Plant Protection Services for
the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).
Raoul A. Robinson is a Canadian/British plant scientist with more
than forty years of wide-ranging global experience in crop improvement for
both commercial and subsistence agriculture. Over the course of his
adventurous and productive career, Dr. Robinson has concentrated most
intensively on maize, potatoes, beans, and coffee. In addition, he has
worked with cotton, tomatoes, dates, wheat, alfalfa, cocoa, cassava,
coconut, tobacco, taro, sweet potato, vanilla, black pepper, and other
crops. He is the author of hundreds of publications, including the books
Plant Pathosystems, Host Management in Plant Pathosystems, and two others
in preparation. The International Development Research Centre, a Canadian
government agency, is co-publishing a Canadian edition of the title.
"Return to Resistance" includes many tables, a glossary, lists of
resource groups & organizations, and a bibliography. The 500-page book
sells for $29.95, softcover. To order, send a check for the cover price
plus $4.00 shipping & handling (Californians please add 7.25% sales tax) or
order by MasterCard or Visa via Email or telephone:
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603 Fourth Street
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Free review copies are available to editors or journalists wishing to
review the book for publication. Please send mail (snail or E) to agAccess
for review information and a copy of the book if you are interested.