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Monday 4 April Feeding the World #2 of 2

As the world’s population grows and the climate challenges our ability to grow crops, how can agriculture provide enough food? Can we get more from our current food crops for less?
Scientists and farmers alike have been increasingly haunted by the environmental effects of high-intensity farming over the last half century. There is now an urgent need to be more mindful of the landscape and our finite ecological resources.
Professor Kathy Willis, science director of Kew Gardens, looks at how we can breed better-adapted and more efficient crops. Rice is a staple food for more than half the world’s population. To maintain this in the face of population growth and land-loss to urbanisation, rice yields will have to increase by over 50% by 2050. Kathy Willis examines an ambitious plan to turbocharge photosynthesis in rice – improving the way it captures sunlight, to produce sugar and oxygen from carbon dioxide and water in hotter dryer climates.
New technology to imaging plant roots below ground is also having a profound impact on plant root architecture that breeding programmes hope to capitalise on in order to improve any crop’s ability to forage for water and nutrients. But can we achieve the necessary varieties in time? Should we re-evaluate some of the highly resilient crops we have tended to undervalue such as sorghum and cassava? (BBCWS)
 

Tuesday 5 April  South Korea: The Silent Cultural Superpower - #1 of 2

From movies and TV to K-Pop, South Korean culture manages to punch far above its weight – across East Asia, and beyond. But how did this happen, and why is it so important to Koreans? Rana Mitter investigates. In episode one Rana finds out how, as it has become richer and freer, South Korean culture has been turning to face the pains of the past. He hears from movie directors, historians and novelists about how Korean culture has confronted the country’s bitter experience of colonisation, civil war and dictatorship. And he explores how this has given many South Koreans a strong desire to see their small country thrive, despite being sandwiched between two giants: China and Japan.

 

Wednesday 6 April  What Should we Teach Our Kids?

 

What will the world economy look like 30 years from now? And, how should we be preparing British schoolchildren today to find employment in it? Robert Peston travels to three cutting edge schools that claim to provide the way forwards for secondary education. Should the focus be on languages and cultural knowledge for an increasingly globalised world? Should we be striving to create more of the engineers and programmers that so many employers are crying out for? Or, with the unstoppable march of the robots gobbling up ever more human jobs, should we be preparing kids with the social skills to be future entrepreneurs, employing their own personal fleets of automatons? Or, is a traditional academic education the answer. Robert Peston poses these questions to a host of educators, analysts and business.
 

Thursday 7 April   Food and Nostalgia

Manuela Saragosa explores the power food has to evoke memory and how memory impacts the food we eat.Jamie Oliver’s mentor – Italian chef Gennaro Contaldo – cooks up a batch of his most nostalgic dish, his mama’s pasta, and tell us why he prepares it when he is feeling down.A neurologist explains why food and smells have such a powerful impact on our brains. And, find out why ‘brand nostalgia’ is a marketing dream when it comes to getting people to part with their cash.From Tokyo to Moscow via Nairobi we hear stories about your favourite comfort foods and meet the company using nostalgia to help people with dementia regain their appetites. Finally, we travel down under to find out why a humble collection of children’s birthday cake recipes has been dubbed ‘the greatest Australian book ever published.’
 http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p03n87sm