CXC English A exam: Past paper type summary writing question 20

Here is a CXC CSEC past paper type summary writing question.

This is the type of question that appears in SECTION A of the CXC CSEC English A exam


(Suggested time: 35 minutes)

You MUST answer the question in this section

Read the following extract carefully and then write a summary in NOT MORE THAN 120 words. Your summary must be in continuous prose, in paragraph form, and, as far as possible, IN YOUR OWN WORDS. If you exceed the word limit, only the first 120 words will be read and assessed.

As seeds get better, much of the world's soil is getting worse and people are going hungry. Scientists say if they can get the world out of the economically triggered global food crisis, better soil will be at the root of the solution. Soils around the world are deteriorating with about one-fifth of the world's cropland considered degraded in some manner. The poor quality has cut production by about one-sixth. Some scientists consider it a slow motion disaster. In sub-Saharan Africa, nearly 1 million square miles of cropland have shown a "consistent significant decline", according to a March 2008 report.

A generation ago, through better types of plants, Earth's food production exploded in what was then called "green evolution". Some people thought the problem of feeding the world was solved and moved on. However, developing these new "magic seeds" was the easy part. The crucial element, fertile soil, was missing. "The first thing to do is to have good soil," said Hans Herren, winner of the World Food Prize. "Even the best seeds can't do anything in sand and gravel."

The cause of the current global food crisis is mostly based on market forces, speculation and hoarding. But beyond the economics lie droughts and floods, plant diseases and pests, and all too often, poor soil. Soil and water issues "have been taken for granted", said soil scientist Rattan Lal. "It is a problem that is not going to be solved. It's going to get worse before it gets better."

The current crisis could have been avoided "if we, the world, had promoted fertilizer in Africa and we have known for ages it works," said Pedro Sanchez, Columbia University tropical agricultural director. In that way, the problem with soil is a prime example of a larger failing of agricultural science.

The staples of modern agricultural scientific techniques include irrigation, crop rotation, reduced tilling, use of fertilizers and improved seeds. "Fixing soil just isn't exciting enough to interest governments and charities," commented the leading researcher at the International Rice Research Institute, where they have been trying to pinpoint the right combination of nitrogen and fertilizer. "Better seeds work wonders, but finding money for soil health is difficult and because of that, less work accomplished."

Adapted from "Poor soils ...and the food crisis"

Sunday Express , May 11 2006, p 37

30 marks

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