Εμφάνιση αναρτήσεων με ετικέτα FAO. Εμφάνιση όλων των αναρτήσεων
Εμφάνιση αναρτήσεων με ετικέτα FAO. Εμφάνιση όλων των αναρτήσεων

Τετάρτη, Ιανουαρίου 21, 2015

UN: Madagascar needs money to continue battle against locust plague


UN, 21 January 2015 – The battle against a plague of locusts in Madagascar is in danger of being lost, as funding to continue efforts against widespread infestations runs out, putting 13 million people at risk of food insecurity, the United Nations agricultural agency said today.

A three-year anti-locust programme was launched by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) alongside the Madagascan Government in 2013 in response to a plague that swept the country the previous year. It successfully halted the spread but the risks of relapse are high in the rainy season, which provides ideal breeding conditions, an FAO press release said. 

“Taking action now is critical to ensure the significant efforts made so far, financially and technically, are built upon rather than lost,” said Dominique Burgeon, Director of FAO's Emergency and Rehabilitation Division. “The current campaign is essential to reinforce the decline of the current plague, avoiding any relapse, and then continue towards a full-fledged locust recession.”

The first quarter of the year is especially important because it corresponds to the second phase of breeding. Most locusts present at this time are wingless 'hoppers', which are easier to combat because they are more sensitive to pesticides and slower moving than winged adults. After last year's successes, the FAO warns that hoppers will gather in smaller groups, making them harder to find and requiring more ground and aerial surveys to do so.

Failure to carry out in full the 2013-2016 FAO-Government joint programme would waste the $28.8 million so far mobilised and could trigger a large-scale food-security crisis in the country. A further $10.6 million is needed to complete the campaign, paying for monitoring and spraying operations to the end of the rainy season in May 2015.

The FAO cautions that even a relatively short interruption to monitoring and spraying operations of about two months could significantly erase progress made so far, which includes the surveying of about 30 million hectares - an area almost as large as Japan - and the tackling of locust infestations over more than 1.3 million hectares.

“The costs that will result from ceasing locust control activities will be far greater than the amount spent so far, so it is critical for the international community stay the course and complete the Locust Emergency Response Programme,” said Patrice Takoukam Talla, FAO's Representative in Madagascar.
About 40 per cent of crops in southern Madagascar are at risk from locusts and more than three quarters of the population in the Atsimo Andrefana and Androy regions, where maize and cassava production have declined sharply and rice output remains well below trend, currently face food insecurity, up notably from a year earlier.

Resources raised so far as part of the $39.4 million needed have come from several Governments, a World Bank loan, the United Nations Central Emergency Response Fund and the International Fund for Agriculture Development. 
 un.org
21/1/15
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Παρασκευή, Δεκεμβρίου 05, 2014

One third of world soils degraded (FAO)

Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations estimates that a third of all soils are degraded, due to erosion, compaction, soil sealing, soil organic matter and nutrient depletion, acidification, pollution and other processes caused by unsustainable land management practices.

Jose Graziano da Silva, the director-general of FAO, made the remarks on Thursday, eve of the first World Soil Day to be celebrated on Dec. 5. Unless new approaches are adopted, the global amount of arable and productive land per person will in 2050 be only one-fourth of the level in 1960, he warned.

It can take up to 1,000 years to form one centimeter of soil, and with 33 percent of all global soil resources degraded and human pressures increasing, critical limits are being reached that make stewardship an urgent matter, Graziano da Silva said.

Calling soils a "nearly forgotten resource," he urged more investment in sustainable soil management, saying that would be cheaper than restoration and "is needed for the achievement of food security and nutrition, climate change adaptation and mitigation and overall sustainable development."

According to FAO, tiny organisms such as bacteria and fungi underground act as the primary agents driving nutrient cycling and help plants by improving nutrient intake, in turn supporting above-ground biodiversity as well.

Better management can assure that those usually unnoticed organisms boost soil's ability to absorb carbon and mitigate desertification, so that even more carbon can be sequestered -- helping offset agriculture's own emissions of greenhouse gases, FAO said.

Xinhua - english.cntv.cn
5/12/14

Τετάρτη, Οκτωβρίου 22, 2014

In fight against hunger, UN launches initiative targeting threat of desertification

 UN, 22 October 2014 – The growing menace of desertification poses a distinct threat to the world’s agriculture and eco-systems, the United Nations agriculture agency warned today, as it announced a new initiative aimed at curbing the spread of land degradation and building resilience to climate change.

The programme, named Action Against Desertification and launched by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) in partnership with the European Union and the African, Caribbean, and Pacific Group of States (ACP), will devote some €41million to bolstering sustainable land management across the world’s most vulnerable areas in an effort to fight hunger and poverty.


“Desertification and land degradation are very serious challenges. They lead to hunger and poverty, themselves at the root of many conflicts,” FAO Director-General, José Graziano da Silva, said in a press release marking the programme’s launch.

“But recent successes show that these problems are not insurmountable. We can boost food security, improve livelihoods and help people adapt to climate change.”

The FAO reports that more than 70 per cent of people living in drylands and other fragile ecosystems across Africa, the Caribbean, and the Pacific derive their livelihoods from natural resources. At the same time, an uptick in population growth and climate change has placed increasing pressure on these ecosystems, intensifying degradation and desertification and putting millions of lives at risk.

In an effort to thwart the costly effects of desertification in Africa, the Action Against Desertification will build on an already existing “flagship programme” – the Great Green Wall for the Sahara and the Sahel Initiative – which supports local communities, Government and civil society in Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, Gambia, Niger, Nigeria and Senegal with the sustainable management and restoration of their dryland forests and rangelands.

Two-thirds of the African continent is classified as desert or drylands and climate change has led to prolonged periods of drought; over-intensive farming and over-grazing have caused land degradation; and deforestation has turned once fertile land into desert in many areas.

On that note, the FAO-backed programme it will support agro-forestry while also incentivizing the creation of farmer field schools where farmers can learn about the causes of desertification and the best ways to combat and prevent it.

Meanwhile, in both the Caribbean and the Pacific, the new initiative will target the problems of soil loss and degraded natural habitats by helping local communities adopt improved sustainable land and forest management practices. 

un.org
22/10/14
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Πέμπτη, Αυγούστου 07, 2014

World food prices hit six-month low, UN agency reports

UN, 7 August 2014 – Global food prices fell for a fourth consecutive month in July, a sharp decline for grains, oilseeds and dairy products outweighing strong meat and sugar prices, the United Nations agriculture agency reported.

The UN Food and Agriculture Organization’s (FAO) Food Price Index, which measures the monthly change in international prices of a basket of 55 food commodities, averaged 203.9 points in July, down 4.4 points or 2.1 per cent from June.



“The lingering decline of food prices since March reflects much better expectations over supplies in the current and forthcoming seasons,” said FAO senior economist Concepción Calpe.

The FAO Cereal Price Index averaged 185.4 points in July, down 10.7 points or 5.5 per cent from June, and as much as 36.9 points or 16.6 per cent below the level one year ago.

Lower grain prices “reflected excellent production prospects as well as expected abundant exportable supplies in the 2014/15 marketing season,” according to the FAO.

In contrast, rice prices edged marginally higher, on renewed import demand, especially given the drought and subsidy lapse in Thai production.

The FAO Vegetable Oil Price Index averaged 181.1 points in July, down 7.7 points or 4.1 per cent from June. The decline continued to be primarily driven by falling soy and palm oil prices, primarily in response to abundant supplies from the United States and South America.

Prices of dairy also fell, albeit temporarily. FAO attributed reduced import demand, including a decline in purchases of butter, by Islamic countries during the holy month of Ramadan.

The FAO Dairy Price Index averaged 226.1 points in July, down 10.3 points or 4.4 per cent over June, and down 17.5 points or 7.2 per cent from the same period last year.

Meanwhile, meat prices rose for the fifth consecutive month in July, and those for sugar remained firm.

“Livestock product markets have their own dynamics: in the case of meat, beef in particular, many exporting countries are in a herd rebuilding phase, which is limiting availability for exports and sustaining prices,” said Mr. Calpe.

A continued strong demand for meat in Asia, and particularly China, helped to edge up the FAO Meat Price Index which averaged 204.8 points in July, 3.7 points or 1.8 per cent higher than its revised value in June and 25.4 points or 14.1 per cent above the same period last year.

International sugar prices, which have been relatively volatile over the last three months as the world’s largest producer, Brazil, grabbles with a drought, and the second largest producer, India, is expected to experience below average monsoon rains.

These factors contributed to a marginal change of 1.1 points or 0.4 percent in the FAO Sugar Price Index, averaging 259.1 points in July. That figure is 20.2 points or 8.4 per cent higher than in July 2013.

[un.org]
7/8/14
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Τρίτη, Ιουνίου 17, 2014

FAO hails China's success in achieving anti-hunger goal

Proper agricultural policies and reforms, and impressive increases in domestic food production helped China meet the first Millennium Development Goal (MDG), the chief of the UN's food agency says.

"China has already made outstanding progress to this goal, in part due to policies that support targeted investments in agriculture, reforms in the agricultural system, and impressive increases in domestic food production," Jose Graziano da Silva, director general of the Rome-based Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), told Xinhua in a recent interview.


On Monday, FAO awarded a prize to China, along with Chile and Morocco, for having met the MDG-1 target of halving the proportion of people who suffer from hunger by 2015, as compared with 1990-91 figures, in a special ceremony at the agency's headquarters.

According to the FAO, China reduced the prevalence of undernourishment from 22.9 percent in 1990-92 to 11.4 percent in 2011-13, bringing the estimated number of chronically hungry people down from 272.1 million to 158 million.

Graziano da Silva highlighted FAO's appreciation toward China for its steps of putting policies in place to address a potential contradiction between farmland and growing urbanization.

He highly praised China's policies of maintaining the current size of farmland for agriculture, setting a "bottom line" to contain urban erosion of land for agricultural production.

FAO was willing to work with China to further intensify agricultural production in areas of high potential and improve efficiency in sustainable ways, he said.

"Through FAO-supported training and knowledge-sharing programs, for example, farmers in developing countries are conserving and restoring nutrients to the soil, and making greater use of natural or low-chemical methods for processes like pest and weed control," Graziano da Silva said.

  • "Early trials show growers can lower crop water needs by 30 percent and energy costs of production by up to 60 percent," he said.
Meanwhile, the FAO chief also voiced hope China would continue to make efforts to achieve greater success under the framework of the Zero Hunger Challenge, an anti-hunger blueprint launched by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon in 2012.

He praised a plan unveiled by the Chinese government in January 2014 for rural reforms, further modernization of agriculture, and improvement of farmers' incomes.

"The government has outlined a number of measures to accomplish these objectives. These include speeding up the transfer of rural land, offering more subsidies to family farms and farmers' cooperatives, and supporting further research," he said. "The government has also listed ensuring the security of grain supplies and those of other major farm products as one of its priorities."

Graziano da Silva called for all efforts to realize goals set in the Zero Hunger Challenge, which will lead to a food secure and sustainable future.

"Reaching and maintaining such standards will require the involvement of every facet of society, including the government, businesses, researchers and scientists, local communities and families," he said. 

Sources: Xinhua - china.org.cn - globaltimes.cn
17/6/14

Τετάρτη, Ιουνίου 11, 2014

EU warns Philippines, Papua New Guinea over illegal fishing

The European Commission on Tuesday warned the Philippines and Papua New Guinea over insufficient action to fight illegal fishing, threatening them with further trade sanctions, according to an EU statement.

Both countries identified as non-cooperative in the fight against illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing, are being given a yellow card warning and a reasonable time to respond and take measures to rectify the situation.


European Commissioner for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, Maria Damanaki said, "If half of the Western Pacific's tuna is exported to the EU, we cannot ignore illegal fishing activities in this region."

She urged the Philippines and Papua New Guinea to fight the practice "which puts the livelihoods of fishermen at risk", adding that "in the end, sustainability of fisheries in the Pacific Ocean means sustainability here in Europe, on our plates."

The Commission has also proposed an action plan for each country to address the shortcomings, such as lack of system of sanctions to deter IUU activities or lack of actions to address deficiencies in monitoring, controlling and surveillance of fisheries.

The countries need to amend their legal framework to combat IUU fishing, improve control and monitoring actions and take a proactive role in complying with international law rules, the statement said.

Should the situation not improve within six months, the EU could take further steps, which could entail trade sanctions on fisheries imports.

The decision is based on the EU's IUU Regulation, which entered into force in 2010, aiming at allowing access to the EU market only to fisheries products that have been certified as legal by the flag State concerned. 

Sources: Xinhua -  globaltimes.cn
11/6/14
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Δευτέρα, Μαΐου 19, 2014

Fish more important than ever in providing jobs, feeding the world. – UN report

UN, 19 May 2014 – A new United Nations report highlights the growing role of fish and aquaculture in feeding the world and providing a source of income, and calls for the sustainable and responsible management of the so-called ‘blue world.’

Global fisheries and aquaculture production totalled 158 million tonnes in 2012 – around 10 million tonnes more than 2010 – according to the latest edition of “The State of World Fisheries and Aquaculture,” produced by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).


The report highlights the great potential of fish farming in responding to the growing demand for food as a result of global population growth. In addition, the planet’s oceans – if sustainably managed – are crucial to providing jobs and feeding the world.

“The health of our planet as well as our own health and future food security all hinge on how we treat the blue world,” FAO Director-General José Graziano da Silva said in a news release.

“We need to ensure that environmental well-being is compatible with human well-being in order to make long-term sustainable prosperity a reality for all,” he noted, adding that FAO is committed to promoting ‘Blue Growth,’ which is based on the sustainable and responsible management of aquatic resources.

FAO notes that the renewed focus on the so-called ‘blue world’ comes as the share of fisheries production used for food has grown from about 70 per cent in the 1980s to a record high of more than 85 per cent (136 million tonnes) in 2012. At the same time, per capita fish consumption has soared from 10 kilogrammes in the 1960s to more than 19 kilogrammes in 2012.

The new report also says fish now accounts for almost 17 per cent of the global population’s intake of protein – in some coastal and island countries it can top 70 per cent.

FAO estimates that fisheries and aquaculture support the livelihoods of 10 to 12 per cent of the world’s population. Since 1990 employment in the sector has grown at a faster rate than the world’s population and in 2012 provided jobs for some 60 million people. Of these, 84 per cent were employed in Asia, followed by Africa with about 10 per cent.

Among other findings in the report are that just over 70 per cent of wild fish stocks are being fished within biologically sustainable levels; fish remains among the most traded food commodities worldwide, worth almost $130 billion in 2012; and an estimated 1.3 billion tonnes of food are lost per year – to about one-third of all food produced.

[un.org]
19/5/14
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Σάββατο, Απριλίου 26, 2014

Participants at UN-backed summit commit to improve ocean health, secure food security


UN, 25 April 2014 – A United Nations-backed summit wrapped up in the Netherlands today with a set of concrete actions to turn around the health of the world’s oceans and food security for millions by tackling key threats such as climate change, overfishing, habitat loss and pollution.
The summit – which brought together hundreds of Government officials, ocean science experts, business leaders, philanthropists and heads of international organizations – was an initiative of the Dutch Government, the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the World Bank.

“This summit has put an accent on action and the route to navigate on oceans, fisheries management and aquaculture is much clearer than before,” said Árni M. Mathiesen, FAO Assistant Director-General for Fisheries and Aquaculture.
Actions agreed at the summit focused specifically on improving governance, enhancing sustainable financing, building partnerships for action and sharing knowledge on successful solution implementation.
The gathering called for, among other steps, a stand-alone Sustainable Development Goal on oceans as part of the post-2015 development framework; much stronger recognition of the escalating impacts from climate change on oceans; and eliminating harmful fisheries subsidies that contribute to overfishing.
Sharing of knowledge, experiences and solutions through information and communications technology that can enforce and monitor in real time and connect communities globally was among the other actions participants called for.
“This summit has presented the way forward for a new type of growth – blue growth which is sustainable, equitable and takes the value of the ocean’s ecosystem services into account,” World Bank representative Valerie Hickey stated.
‘Blue growth’ emphasizes conservation and sustainable management of aquatic resources and equitable benefits to the coastal communities that rely on them. The term “blue economy” stems from the 2012 UN Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20), and refers to food, jobs and opportunities for development provided by ocean and coastal assets.
“Together, we can restore ocean health at the speed and scale necessary to drive broad-based blue growth, secure food security and turn down the heat on climate change,” added Ms. Hickey. “We have the set of actions needed – let’s move on them now.” 
un.org
25/4/14

Σάββατο, Απριλίου 12, 2014

Agriculture's greenhouse gas emissions on the rise, warns UN agency

SEIH SOU THESSALONIKI
UN, 11 April 2014 – From farming to forestry and fisheries, agriculture greenhouse emissions have nearly doubled over the past 50 years and may increase by another 30 per cent by 2050, according to new estimates out today from the UN Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO).
"FAO's new data represent the most comprehensive source of information on agriculture's contribution to global warming made to date," said Francesco Tubiello of the agecny’s Climate, Energy and Tenure Division.

For the first time, FAO has used its own FAOSTAT emissions database to estimate global greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture, forestry and other land use in contributing to the Fifth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).
Emissions from crop and livestock production grew in 2001 from 4.7 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalents (CO2 eq) to more than 5.3 billion tonnes in 2011 – a 14 per cent increase.
“The increase occurred mainly in developing countries, due to an expansion of total agricultural outputs,” FAO said 

Meanwhile, net greenhouse gas emissions due to land use change and deforestation registered a nearly 10 percent decrease over the 2001-2010 period – averaging some 3 billion tonnes CO2 eq year over the decade.
“This was the result of reduced levels of deforestation and increases in the amount of atmospheric carbon being sequestered in many countries,” explained FAO, adding that, “as a result of carbon sequestration in forest sinks, some two billion tonnes of carbon dioxide were removed from the atmosphere during the same timeframe.”
FAO's data based on country reports show that while those emissions continue to increase, they are not growing as fast as emissions from fossil fuel use in other sectors – actually decreasing over time the share of agriculture and other land use out of total anthropogenic emissions. 

  • The largest source of emissions within agriculture is enteric fermentation – methane produced by livestock during digestion and released via belches. In 2011, this accounted for 39 per cent of the sector's total greenhouse gas outputs and increased 11 per cent between 2001 and 2011.
In 2011, 14 per cent of agricultural emissions (725 Mt CO2 eq.) were generated while applying synthetic fertilizers – the fastest growing emissions source in agriculture – having increased some 37 per cent since 2001.
Greenhouse gases resulting from biological processes in rice paddies that generate methane make up 10 per cent of total agricultural emissions, while burning savannahs accounts for 5 per cent. 

FAO data revealed that in 2011, 45 per cent of agriculture-related greenhouse gas outputs occurred in Asia – followed by 25 per cent in the Americas, five per cent in Africa, eleven per cent in Europe and four per cent in Oceania.
“This regional distribution was fairly constant over the last decade,” the agency noted, adding “in 1990 however, Asia's contribution to the global total [38 per cent] was smaller than at present, while Europe's was much larger [21 per cent].” 

The new FAO data also provide a detailed view of emissions from energy use in the agriculture sector generated from traditional fuel sources – including electricity and fossil fuels burned to power agricultural machinery, irrigation pumps and fishing vessels.
"Up to now, information gaps have made it extremely difficult for scientists and policymakers to make strategic decisions regarding how to respond to climate change and has hampered efforts to mitigate agriculture's emissions," said Mr. Tubiello. 

FAO is already generating disaggregated assessments along supply chains and analyzing the effectiveness of comprehensive mitigation interventions in the livestock sector.
Mr. Tubiello explained, “Data on emissions for agriculture, forests and other land use activities support member countries in better identifying their mitigation options and enable their farmers to take faster and more targeted climate-smart responses.”
This improves their overall resilience and their food security and allows the countries to tap into international climate funding and accomplish their rural development goals.
“We also see much interest in capacity development on these topics at country level and respond to these needs through regional and country-level activities around the globe,'' he added. 
[un.org]
11/4/14

Παρασκευή, Απριλίου 04, 2014

Global food prices hit 10 month high due to weather, Crimea tensions

UN, 3 April 2014 – The cost of food worldwide has surged in March to its highest peak in 10 months, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) reported today.
In a news release, agency said that its most recent Food Price Index, which measures the monthly change in international prices of a basket of 55 food commodities, including meat, dairy, sugar, and cereals, went up 4.8 points or 2.3 per cent, averaging now 212.8 points. This is the highest it has been since May 2013.
"The Index was influenced, as expected, by unfavourable weather conditions in the US and Brazil and geopolitical tensions in the Black Sea region," said Abdolreza Abbassian, FAO Senior Economist.

"The Food Price Index looks at March trends. Since then, the initial fear over disruptions in grain shipments from Ukraine has subsided. Also, markets have started to discard any negative impacts that the current difficult domestic economic conditions may bear on plantings or harvests in 2014," Mr. Abbassian said. 

The report indicated an increase in all commodity groups except dairy, which fell 2.5 per cent for the first time in four months, averaging 268.5 points, as purchases by China declined, and amid uncertainty over trade with the Russian Federation. Good production in New Zealand and the northern hemisphere also influenced prices.
The greatest gain was seen in sugar, which rose 7.9 per cent, to a 253.9 point average. Concerns of declining availability from Brazil and Thailand, due respectively to drought and reduced sugarcane output and the expected impact of El Niño conditions later this year contributed to the price surge. 

Concerns over the effects of dry weather conditions on winter wheat in the United States, unfavourable weather in Brazil, and tensions in the Black Sea region, caused a 5.2 per cent surge in cereal prices, bringing the average to 205.8 points. While in March the Index rose to its highest value since August 2013, it remained well below (34.6 points or 14.4 per cent) its March 2013 value. Rice prices were generally stable. 

The vegetable oil price index, at its highest since 18 months, averages 204.8 points in March, up another 7 points from February. The rise in the index mainly reflected a surge in palm oil, on continued concerns over the impact of protracted dry weather in Southeast Asia.
As for the meat index, once again, the weather came into play as higher beef prices were associated with dry weather conditions affecting production in both Australia and the United States. Pork also rose, in part on concerns over the effect of the Porcine Epidemic Diarrhoea virus on export supplies in the United States. The meat index is now at an average of 185 points, up 2.7 points.
 un.org
3/4/14

Δευτέρα, Μαρτίου 24, 2014

EU takes concrete action against illegal fishing. -European Commission

Following a Commission proposal, the Council of Ministers has today decided to list Belize, Cambodia and Guinea-Conakry as countries acting insufficiently against illegal fishing. After several warnings, measures will now come into effect against the three countries to tackle the commercial benefits stemming from illegal fishing. This means that imports into the EU of any fisheries products caught by vessels from these countries will now be banned, whilst EU vessels will not be allowed to fish in these countries' waters. It is the first time that measures of this type are adopted at EU level.
European Commissioner for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, Maria Damanaki, welcomed the decision:
"These decisions are historic. They demonstrate that the EU is leading by example in the fight against illegal fishing. I want EU citizens to know that the fish they consume is sustainable, wherever it comes from. We are steadily moving in that direction. I hope that this blacklisting will act as a catalyst for Belize, Cambodia, and Guinea to step up their efforts and work with the international community to eliminate illegal fishing"
The decision is consistent with the EU's international commitment to the sustainable exploitation of fisheries resources at home and abroad. The EU's approach reflects the fact that illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing is a global criminal activity harmful not only to EU fishermen, but also to local communities in developing countries.
Background
Despite the Commission working closely with the authorities of Belize, Cambodia and Guinea to set up fisheries management and effective control measures, the three countries have still not addressed structural problems and have failed to show real commitment to tackling the problem of illegal fishing. After several warnings , the Commission therefore proposed to the Council to list the three countries as non-cooperating countries, in line with the EU IUU Regulation.
Today's decision by the Council means that fisheries products caught by vessels flying these countries' flags are now banned from being imported into the EU. EU vessels will also have to stop fishing in these waters. Other forms of cooperation, such as joint fishing operations or fisheries agreements with these countries will no longer be possible.
The EU is hereby enforcing its international commitments as laid down by the United Nations and the FAO. All of the identified countries have failed to fulfil their duties as flag, coastal, port or market states typically by disrespecting the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) or the United Nations Fish Stocks Agreement. (europa.eu)
24/3/14
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Τρίτη, Μαρτίου 18, 2014

FAO: 'Revolution' in Agriculture Vital to Meet Food Targets




Targeting devloping countries

Since then in Asia and the Pacific, food production has risen by 300 percent, although it has come at an environmental cost.

Hiroyuki Konuma, FAO assistant director general and Asia Pacific regional representative, said the challenge of lifting food production further will be especially acute for developing countries.

"We estimate that by 2050 the world needs to increase food production by 60 percent that will meet the demand at that time," said Konuma. "This is worldwide. But when we look at only developing countries, we estimate a 77 percent increase is needed -- it's a more important fear because 98 percent of worldwide population increase will be happening in developing countries."

Konuma said access to arable land is a key problem. In the Asia Pacific, most land is already fully exploited, while in regions such as China, land for agriculture is already on the decline. Also, regional and global water resources are declining amid signs of increasing water scarcity.

But Konuma is optimistic the food production target could be reached given the gains made in the Asia Pacific since the 1960s.

"The FAO estimates theoretically we can meet this food production by increasing yield per acre [hectare], productivity growth, by agriculture research. Rice and wheat alone there are still yield gap that can be narrowed from the potential. We are now looking at only 60 percent in a 40-year time frame to 2050," said Konuma.

Agriculture production

At the same time climate change is already affecting agricultural production in landlocked Asian nations and rising sea levels for Pacific island states.

The most vulnerable land locked nations are Afghanistan, Bhutan, Laos, Mongolia and Nepal. Among the 15 island states at risk, the Maldives in the Indian Ocean was the most susceptible to climate change.

The FAO says 840 million people globally, or one person in eight, still suffer from chronic hunger. More than 30 percent, or more than two billion people, suffer from other nutrient deficiencies.

FAO's Konuma said the poor are especially vulnerable.

"It's not really a matter of production or supply sides - it's access issues - poor people in particular, and those who are disadvantaged living at the bottom of society," he said. "They do not have enough access to purchase food that they need or even farmers who do not have enough land to grow food for their own consumption."

At the same time, some 1.5 billion people globally are seen as overweight, with 500 million individuals suffering from obesity, and more than 40 million children under the age of five years faced with weight problems. Changing dietary habits has also led to a rise in chronic diseases such as diabetes and cancers. 

FAO officials say a massive effort is required to end hunger in the Asia and Pacific, despite gains in nations such as Thailand, Vietnam and China. 





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Πέμπτη, Μαρτίου 06, 2014

Weather, increased demand pushes global food prices to highest level in months

 6 March 2014 – Global food prices in February rose to their highest level since mid-2012 as a result of unfavourable weather and increased demand, the United Nations food agency today reported.

In a news release, the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) said its most recent Food Price Index, which measures the monthly change in international prices of a basket of 55 food commodities, including meat, dairy, sugar, and cereals, averaged 208.1 points. That is about 5.2 points, or 2.6 per cent, higher than the slightly revised index for January.


“This month's increase follows a long period of declining food prices in general. But it’s too early to say if this is a true reversal of the trend,” said Concepción Calpe, FAO Senior Economist.

“The weather is probably a major force driving up prices for certain commodities like sugar or wheat, but brisk demand is also an important factor underpinning maize, dairy and oil prices,” Mr. Calpe added.

The Rome-based agency also noted a spike in wheat and corn prices which it attributed to recent developments in Ukraine, “though the February increase in the Index cannot be entirely attributed to those events.”

Cereals averaged 195.8 points last month, up 6.8 points or 3.6 per cent from the previous month.

With some winter wheat crops already developing, FAO’s first forecast for world wheat production in 2014 stands at 704 million tonnes. This is a 1.7 per cent drop from the 2013 record but still the second largest crop ever, according to the ‘Cereal Supply and Demand Brief.’

The latest estimate for world cereal production for 2013 stands at a record 2.5 billion tonnes, an increase of 13 million from the February forecast and 9 per cent more than the 2012 level.

The rise is due to a significant revision in the estimates for Australia and also upward revisions to the figures for wheat and coarse grains in China.

Vegetable oils rose 9.2 points to an average of 197.8 points in February, amid concerns over unfavourable weather in Southeast Asia and South America, and buoyant demand worldwide, including demand for palm oil from biodiesel producers.

Dairy’s average of 275.4 points in February is 7.7 points higher over January. Meat averaged 182.6 points in February, up less than a point since the revised January level.

Following a three-month decline, sugar prices recovered, prompted by concerns of dry weather in Brazil and recent forecasts pointing to a potential drop of output in India. The FAO Sugar Price Index averaged 235.4 points last month, up 13.7 points, or 6.2 per cent, from January.

un.org
6/3/14
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Πέμπτη, Φεβρουαρίου 20, 2014

Water scarcity among critical food security issues in Near East and North Africa. – United Nations, FAO


20 February 2014 – The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) today warned that water scarcity is one of the most urgent food security issues facing countries of the Near East and North Africa, with fresh water availability in the region expected to drop by 50 per cent by 2050.
FAO’s warning comes as ministers of agriculture and national officials prepare to tackle the issue at a meeting of the organization’s highest regional governing body beginning next Monday.

Among the issues on the agenda for the 32nd FAO Regional Conference for the Near East and North Africa is a new Regional Water Scarcity Initiative, launched by FAO to support member countries in identifying strategies, policies and practices that promote sustainable solutions to water scarcity and related food security problems. 

“The region has made significant strides in two decades in developing its water usage and storage capacities, but there is still much work to be done to improve water efficiency in agriculture, protect water quality, and address challenges related to climate change,” said Abdessalam Ould Ahmed, FAO Assistant Director-General and Regional Representative for the Near East and North Africa. 

FAO noted in a news release that per capita fresh water availability in the region has plummeted by two-thirds over the past 40 years, heightening concerns over the degradation of water quality and the impact of climate change. 

Demographic trends are adding urgency to the issue, the agency stated. Chronic undernourishment in the region is estimated at 11.2 per cent, based on the 2010-2013 reporting period, while the population continues to grow at 2 per cent, almost twice the global rate. 

Farming and other agricultural activities consume more than 85 per cent of available rain-fed, irrigated and groundwater resources, and the demand for agricultural products is expected to grow amid burgeoning urban populations and increased exports.
“Agriculture must be central to our responses to the challenge of water scarcity in the Near East and North Africa Region,” stated Mr. Ould Ahmed. “Agriculture is by far the largest user of water in the region, but it is also fundamental to our survival and long-term resilience, accounting for some $95 billion in added value to regional economies.”
Next week’s conference, whose theme is “For a resilient and food secure region,” will be the first of a series of meetings to be held in 2014 in each of FAO’s five operational regions. The agenda will include issues like food losses and waste along the production-to-consumption chain, enhancing gender equality, and approaches to improving agriculture and rural development. 

Participants are expected to offer guidance on priority areas for action, such as improving governance and institutions; giving more voice to farmers and other non-state stakeholders; and boosting efficiency in water use, both within and across national borders.
According to FAO, more than 60 per cent of the water resources used by countries in the region comes from outside of national and regional boundaries. 

The pilot phase of the Regional Water Scarcity Initiative was launched in June 2013 in six countries – Egypt, Jordan, Morocco, Oman, Tunisia and Yemen. It began reviewing the current status of water availability and use and the potential for further agricultural production. 

It also began identifying and ranking options for future food supply in terms of both their economic and water-requirement costs, and, looking at the performance of agriculture water management and relevant policies, governance and institutional issues.
 un.org
20/2/14

Πέμπτη, Ιανουαρίου 30, 2014

Securing crop biodiversity is key to feeding world’s growing population – UN study


30 January 2014 – Seeking to ensure that the world can feed a fast growing population, expected to exceed 9 billion by 2050, the United Nations today published voluntary international standards to improve conservation of the crops that are crucial to food security by preserving biodiversity in gene banks and in the field.
“As the world’s population grows and continues to face a wide range of climate, environmental and other challenges, maintaining a healthy variety of seeds and other plant genetic resources for the benefit of people in all countries will be essential to keeping agricultural and food systems sustainable and resilient, generation after generation,” UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) Assistant Director-General Ren Wang said.

The FAO publication, Genebank Standards for Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture, outlines voluntary, international standards for the many repositories – or genebanks - around the world that store seeds and other materials used to reproduce plants, as well as for living plants in the field.
  • More than 7 million samples of seeds, tissues and other plant-propagating materials from food crops, along with their wild relatives, are safeguarded in about 1,750 genebanks.
“Plant genetic resources are a strategic resource at the heart of sustainable crop production,” Mr. Ren writes in a foreword. “Their efficient conservation and use is critical to safeguard food and nutrition security, now and in the future. Meeting this challenge will require a continued stream of improved crops and varieties adapted to particular agro-ecosystem conditions.
“The loss of genetic diversity reduces the options for sustainably managing resilient agriculture, in the face of adverse environments, and rapidly fluctuating meteorological conditions.”
The standards are designed to guide users in implementing the most appropriate technologies and procedures for the collection, conservation and documentation of crop diversity. Their wide application also supports research that could stem the loss of biodiversity and boost sustainability in agriculture, both necessary for feeding the world’s burgeoning population.
“Genebanks help bridge the past and the future by ensuring the continued availability of plant genetic resources for research and for breeding new varieties that meet the consumers’ continually evolving needs and a changing climate,” said Linda Collette, Secretary of FAO’s Intergovernmental Commission on Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture.
“They help us to conserve plant genetic resources and to improve them; they also help countries to share and exchange genetic resources with each other.”
The standards address a wide range of issues, including techniques for collecting samples; consistent labelling; protection from fungi, bacteria, pests and physical stress factors; viability and genetic integrity testing; and, developing strategies for the rapid multiplication of samples for distribution.
The world’s genebanks differ greatly in the size of their collections and the human and financial resources at their disposal. The Standards will help genebank managers strike a balance between scientific objectives, resources available, and the objective conditions under which they work, FAO says.

“Genebanks play a key role in the conservation, availability and use of a wide range of plant genetic diversity for crop improvement for food and nutrition security,” the publication stresses in its preface. “An efficient management of genebanks through application of standards and procedures is essential for the conservation and sustainable use of plant genetic resources.”

FAO experts consulted with a wide range of partners, including those at the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR), a global partnership whose research is carried out at 15 centres worldwide, in particular Bioversity International; genebank managers; relevant academic and research institutions; and national focal points for plant genetic resources for food and agriculture.
 un.org
30/1/14
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Παρασκευή, Δεκεμβρίου 06, 2013

Πείνα για εκατομμύρια ανθρώπους - εκστρατεία από τον FAO. -Προβλήματα στην αγροτική παραγωγή, την οικονομία και πολιτική αστάθεια οι αιτίες

Δραματικές διαστάσεις παίρνει η επισιτιστική κρίση στη Συρία, την Υεμένη και την Κεντροαφρικανική Δημοκρατία, όπως προκύπτει από ανακοίνωση του Οργανισμού Τροφίμων και Γεωργίας των Ηνωμένων Εθνών (FAO). 

Το πρόβλημα αντιμετωπίζουν άμεσα περίπου 1.300.000 άνθρωποι στην Κεντροαφρικανική Δημοκρατία, ενώ η κατάσταση σε άλλες χώρες τη Δυτική Αφρική δεν εμπνέει αισιοδοξία, λόγω προβλημάτων στην αγροτική τους παραγωγή και τον πρόωρο τερματισμό των βροχοπτώσεων. 

Στη Συρία και την Υεμένη, εκτιμάται ότι θα πρέπει να δοθεί επειγόντως βοήθεια σε 6 και 4,5 εκατομμύρια ανθρώπους αντίστοιχα, υπενθυμίζει ο Οργανισμός. Με βάση τις νέες εκτιμήσεις του FAO η παγκόσμια παραγωγή των σιτηρών θα ανέλθει στα 2,5 δισεκατομμύρια τόνους (συμπεριλαμβάνεται και το επεξεργασμένο ρύζι), αριθμός ρεκόρ, αφού υπολογίζεται ότι θα είναι κατά 8,4% μεγαλύτερη από πέρσι και κατά 6% σε σχέση με το 2011. 


Σύμφωνα με τα πιο πρόσφατα στοιχεία, η παγκόσμια αύξηση σιτηρών αντικατοπτρίζει την αύξηση της παραγωγής σταριού (+7,8%), των δευτερευόντων δημητριακών (+12%) και του ρυζιού (+1%). Θα αυξηθούν επίσης ταυτόχρονα τα παγκόσμια αποθέματα, φτάνοντας τα 572 εκατομμύρια τόνους στο τέλος της γεωργικής περιόδου του 2014.
 
Νewsroom enet, με πληροφορίες από ΑΜΠΕ, Γαλλικό 
enet.gr
5/12/13
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FAO: Ο κόσμος μπορεί να τραφεί και με λιγότερα

Δευτέρα, Οκτωβρίου 07, 2013

Global food prices expected to remain volatile in coming years, warns UN official.

 
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7 October 2013 – Although global food prices have recently stabilized, they are expected to remain volatile over the next few years, the head of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) said today, as a ministerial meeting on global food prices kicked off in Rome.

FAO Director-General José Graziano da Silva told the meeting, which coincided with the opening of the Committee on World Food Security, that this year’s session was taking place in a less troubled climate than a year ago, when ministers came together in response to the third spike in international grain prices in five years.
“The outlook for international food commodity markets finally looks calmer this year,” he told the meeting, which was attended by some 30 agriculture ministers. “Grain production has rebounded and higher stock-to-use ratios should bring greater stability to prices.”
And while the FAO Cereal Price Index is 20 per cent lower than it was one year ago, this is not the time for complacency, he stated.
“International prices have declined but they are still above their historical levels. And prices are expected to remain volatile over the next years,” he warned.
Mr. Graziano da Silva urged countries to take advantage of the relative calm to prepare for future market turbulence and find lasting solutions to the issues surrounding food price volatility. “If higher and volatile prices are here to stay, then we need to adapt to this new pattern.”
The two critical issues for countries to address are how to help poor small-scale farmers benefit from the higher food prices, and how to protect low-income families who suffer as a result of them, he said.
“The current situation offers an opportunity for farmers to reinvest in agriculture,” he continued, calling for a right set of policies to ensure that small-scale farmers have the means to take advantage of it.
The Committee on World Food Security (CFS), which runs until 11 October, opened today amid urgent calls to build more effective links between international policies and the daily needs of millions of the world’s most vulnerable people.
  • “The latest estimates signal there are nearly 30 million less hungry people in the world in 2013, compared to last year,” Mr. Graziano da Silva said at the opening. “And we continue to progress towards achieving the Millennium Development Goal hunger target of reducing by half the proportion of the undernourished population between 1990 and 2015.
“I see many challenges ahead of us, but also progress and successful experiences that we can build on,” he added. “We are convinced that working together is the only way forward.”
“Poverty and hunger go hand-in-hand and poverty runs deepest in rural areas,” said Kanayo F. Nwanze, President of the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD). “Let us not forget that rural areas are a key element of any new development agenda and global food security. Let us not forget that investing in smallholder agriculture is the most cost effective way for developing countries to tackle poverty and hunger.”
Ertharin Cousin, Executive Director of the World Food Programme (WFP), said the world needs a strong and effective CFS. “Together, we shoulder an enormous responsibility, but our burdens weigh nothing in comparison to the suffering of the 840 million chronically undernourished people depending on us to get it right.”
In a message delivered by his Special Representative for Food Security and Nutrition, David Nabarro, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called the Committee “the point of reference” for all who seek to achieve the goal of eliminating hunger through collaboration with governments, social movements, farmers’ organizations, business and the research community.
  • “Working with a spirit of trust and mutual accountability, multiple actors are collaborating to address some of the thorniest issues of food security: land tenure; climate change; food price volatility; biofuels; and responsible investment in agriculture,” he noted.
The week-long session will feature two round tables: on biofuels and food security, and investing in smallholder agriculture for food security and nutrition.
http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=46204&Cr=Food+Security&Cr1=#.UlLRO1OIzJc
7/10/13
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