Εμφάνιση αναρτήσεων με ετικέτα agriculture. Εμφάνιση όλων των αναρτήσεων
Εμφάνιση αναρτήσεων με ετικέτα agriculture. Εμφάνιση όλων των αναρτήσεων

Σάββατο, Ιανουαρίου 24, 2015

Brazilian Ministers End Emergency Meeting on Worst Drought in 80 Years

Brazilian ministers end an emergency meeting at the capital’s presidential palace, following a water crisis that began in the most populous state of Sao Paulo, causing the worst drought seen in the south east region, in the last 80 years, the BBC reported Saturday.

“Since records for Brazil's south-eastern region began 84 years ago we have never seen such a delicate and worrying situation,” the country's Environment Minister, Izabella Teixeira, was quoted as saying by the news outlet, following the emergency meeting in Brasilia.

Teixeira warned that the state of Sao Paulo, Minas Gerais, the second most populous state, and the city of Rio de Janeiro, must save water.

Rising temperatures and inadequate waterfall have led to power cuts and water rationing affecting millions of people in Sao Paulo. Agriculture has also been negatively impacted by the drought. Growers of Arabica coffee, a key export commodity for Brazil, said rain in 2014 was half the usual levels, which saw production fall by 16.1 percent in that year, according to Brazil’s official Conab crop bureau.

Meanwhile, Sao Paulo's Governor Geraldo Alckmin, has began imposing charges on high levels on water consumption and offering discounts to those who reduced water use, as well as limiting the amount of water consumed by industries and farmers from rivers, as reported by the BBC.
[sputniknews.com]
24/1/15
--

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
--
-
Related:


Δευτέρα, Δεκεμβρίου 08, 2014

L'Amérique Latine s'engage à reboiser près de 20 millions d'hectares

Sept pays d'Amérique latine se sont engagés dimanche à reboiser près de 20 millions d'hectares de terres dégradées d'ici 2020, dans le cadre de la conférence de l'ONU sur le climat qui se tient actuellement à Lima.En parallèle à la conférence, les ministres de l'Agriculture et de l'Environnement du Mexique, du Pérou, du Guatemala, de Colombie, d'Équateur, du Chili et du Costa Rica ont présenté un plan de remise en état des terres dans leurs pays respectifs.

Le Mexique a entrepris de restaurer 8,5 millions d'hectares, le Pérou 3,2 millions, le Guatemala 1,2 millions et la Colombie un million.

L'Equateur se propose de reboiser 500. 000 hectares, le Chili 100.000 et le Costa Rica 50.000.

En outre, un plan régional de conservation de la Patagonie permettrait de récupérer 4,1 millions d'hectares de forêts.

On estime qu'en Amérique latine il existe quelque 200 millions d'hectares de terres dégradées, selon le Centre international d'agriculture tropicale, basé en Colombie.

"Au Pérou, nous perdons les forêts à une vitesse impressionnante. Les activités qui accélèrent le plus la déforestation sont l'exploitation minière illégale, le surpaturage et la plantation de coca", a indiqué le ministre de l'Agriculture Juan Manuel Benites.

"Nous devons envisager un reboisement productif et accéder à une agriculture de carbone neutre," a-t-il ajouté.

Le ministre de l'Agriculture argentin Roberto Delgado a également exhorté à mettre un frein à la déforestation. "Outre la récupération des sols, il est très important de cesser de perdre de hectares," a-t-il dit.

Le compromis, nommé Initiative 20x20, bénéficiera d'un soutien de 365 millions de dollars de la part d'investisseurs privés. Il vise à réduire les émissions de gaz à effet de serre générées par la déforestation et les changements dans l'utilisation des terres.

Selon les experts, l'Amérique latine est l'une des régions du monde les plus vulnérables aux changements climatiques.
[ rtl.be]
8/12/14
--
-
Sur le même sujet:

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

Δευτέρα, Νοεμβρίου 03, 2014

Bird populations across Europe declining rapidly

Bird populations across Europe have experienced sharp declines - a staggering 421 million birds over the past 30 years - with the majority of losses from the most common species, a research shows.

The decline in bird populations can be linked to modern farming methods, deterioration of the quality of the environment and habitat fragmentation, the study noted.

Around 90 percent of these losses were from the 36 most common and widespread species, including house sparrows, skylarks, grey partridges and starlings.


"It is very worrying that the most common species of bird are declining rapidly because it is this group of birds that people benefit from the most," said Richard Inger from the University of Exeter in Britain.

  • Birds provide multiple benefits to society. They help to control agricultural pests, are important dispersers of seeds, and scavenging species play a key role in the removal of carcasses from the environment.
The study brought together data on 144 species of European birds from thousands of individual surveys in 25 different countries.

The researchers noted that thanks to direct conservation action and legal protection in Europe, the numbers of some less common birds have risen.

The numbers of great tits, robins, blue tits and blackbirds were all shown to be increasing.

Populations of rarer species, including marsh harriers, ravens, buzzards and stone curlews have also increased in recent years.

The conservation and legal protection of all birds and their habitats in tandem are essential to reverse declines in the most common species of birds, the researchers highlighted.

"This is a warning from birds throughout Europe. It is clear that the way we are managing the environment is unsustainable for many of our most familiar species," concluded Richard Gregory from the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds in Britain.
Source: dayafterindia.com
[indian.ruvr.ru]

3/11/14

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
--
-
Related:

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

Τρίτη, Ιουνίου 10, 2014

EU launches new platform to improve human-wildlife coexistence

The European Commission on Tuesday launched a platform to improve the coexistence between humans and large carnivores, an official statement said.

The platform will support constructive dialogue between key stakeholder organizations at the European level, where farmers, conservationists, hunters, landowners and scientists can exchange ideas and best practices on sharing the same land with large carnivores.


Eight stakeholder associations signed the platform agreement, including the International Council for Game and Wildlife Conservation (CIC), European Farmers and European Agri-cooperatives and the European Policy Office of World Wide Fund for Nature.

Launching the platform, EU Environment Commissioner Janez Potocnik said, "My warm congratulations to the organizations that have worked together to set up this important platform, which represents a major step forward in efforts to address the issue of peaceful coexistence."

The platform will hold one annual meeting and organize additional workshops on selected topics. It will be supported by a web-based resource center that will serve as the main tool to disseminate information on the activities of the platform, identify good practices in the form of documents or a manual, act as a gateway to the portals of the member organizations, and host media resources such as press kits for journalists.

In the EU region, up to 25 percent of species are now at risk of extinction, largely due to the disappearance of their habitats, the statement said. 

Sources:Xinhua - globaltimes.cn
10/6/14
-----------------------
  • Environment: Commission launches new platform to help resolve social conflicts over large carnivores
Europe's brown bear, wolf, wolverine, lynx – at least one of these species can now be found in 21 EU Member States. After a lengthy period of decline their numbers are growing once more, but coexistence with man can be problematic. In an effort to solve the social and economic problems that sometimes result from this new expansion, the European Commission has launched a platform where farmers, conservationists, hunters, landowners and scientists can exchange ideas and best practices on sharing the same land with large carnivores.

The EU Platform on Coexistence between People and Large Carnivores will support constructive dialogue between key stakeholder organisations at the European level. Launching the platform, EU Environment Commissioner Janez Potočnik said: "We need to treat our natural neighbours with respect – but we also need to heed the concerns of those whose lives are genuinely affected by their close proximity. My warm congratulations to the organisations that have worked together to set up this important platform, which represents a major step forward in efforts to address the issue of peaceful coexistence." 

The European Union is home to five species of large carnivores. All suffered dramatic declines in numbers and distribution as a consequence of human activity, but increasing protection and public awareness about their vital role in healthy ecosystems have caused many populations to stabilize or increase, and to return to areas from which they had been absent for decades or even centuries. 

While this recovery is seen by some as a great conservation success, it has not been without its opponents. The issue involves a diversity of stakeholders such as hunters, foresters, livestock producers, reindeer herders, landowners, rural communities, conservation organizations and the wider public. These groups are influenced by and perceive large carnivores in different ways, and in some cases these differences can be a source of conflict. The platform will facilitate exchanges of knowledge and promote ways and means to minimize, and wherever possible, find equitable solutions to these conflicts....................http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_IP-14-648_en.htm?locale=en
10/6/14

Δευτέρα, Ιουνίου 09, 2014

Egypt to raze illegal buildings along Nile to help farmers

Photo: nationalgeographic.com
CAIRO - Egypt will destroy all buildings along the Nile River and its tributaries that were erected illegally, the water and irrigation minister said on Monday, seeking to protect canals needed to help grow food.
The government will "not be complacent in the face of encroachment on the Nile River and its tributaries and streams", Minister Mohamed Abdel Motteleb was quoted as saying by the state news agency MENA.



Egypt is the world's biggest wheat importer, a drain on its precarious finances.


 Officials say illegal building along the Nile has increased in the turbulent years since a 2011 uprising which also scared away investors and tourists, major sources of foreign exchange.
[jpost.com]
9/6/14

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
----
-
Related:

 

Τετάρτη, Μαΐου 07, 2014

«AGRIdiversity»: the diversity of European agriculture at the heart of EU policies (Athens 4-6 May 2014)

      The informal meeting of EU ministers of Agriculture took place in Athens from 4 to 6 of May, chaired by the Greek Minister of Rural Development and Food Mr Athanasios Tsaftaris. The key issue of the agenda was “Transforming the European agricultural diversity into strength”.

The Greek Presidency has chosen this specific topic with the goal to further turn the European diversity into strength.

Diversity covers all aspects from the capacity of production to the environmental and social-economic conditions of European member states and regions, while the implementation of the new Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) for the period 2014-2020 is based on the recognition of the wide diversification of agriculture across the EU.
The ministers had the opportunity to discuss the importance of the European agricultural diversity for the long-term development of economy, society and environment and also to exchange views on the ways the EU agricultural diversity can become an asset for European farmers and European economy in the current global context.

EU ministers also underlined the importance of needs and expectations of all sectors along the food chain with a view to food security, competitiveness, sustainability, cultural heritage and territorial development. Diversity of products and farming models across countries and regions are a key feature of the European agricultural model and at the same time a distinctive characteristic vis-à-vis the EU’s trading partners. Preserving agricultural diversity is fundamental to long-term sustainable economic, social and environmental development.

Moreover, the ministers stressed out that agricultural diversity contributes to improved food security and competitiveness, in particular for successful adaptation to a constantly changing environment and climate.

It was also stressed that CAP should be mobilized to preserve this diversity and transform it into strength. More specifically, the flexibility offered by the new policy framework can be used by the member states to make the most out of their potential to strengthen agricultural diversity. In this context, ministers agreed that the new CAP offers several tools for the young people to be involved in farming activities in rural areas, for the development of innovation in the agricultural sector, for agricultural research, for the development of the producers organizations etc. Additionally, there are various initiatives and tools to be used, such as promotion measures and new Rural Development Programmes.

The Greek Presidency pointed out the importance of incorporating the results of the discussions to the implementation of the new CAP and to other policy measures as well.
[gr2014.eu]
6/5/14

Δευτέρα, Απριλίου 07, 2014

Agriculture MEPs endorse deal with Council on promoting EU farm produce

A deal with the EU Council of Ministers on measures to boost sales of EU farm produce within the EU and abroad and to restore consumer confidence in the event of market disruptions was approved by the Agriculture Committee on Monday.

"This deal will further improve the promotion of EU farm products worldwide. New measures will help EU farmers and the food industry both to boost their sales abroad and to consolidate their position on the EU single market", said Parliament's rapporteur Esther Herranz García (EPP, ES). The agreement was approved by 31 votes to five, with two abstentions.


Following Parliament's lead, the Council of Ministers and the European Commission agreed to allow the promotion of EU farm produce on the EU single market and not just in third countries.

Information campaigns within the EU and in third countries could focus on the high food safety, animal welfare, traceability and sustainability standards that EU producers must meet.

EU contribution increased

Funding for information and promotion campaigns should come exclusively from the EU and the proposing organisation, thus excluding member states from contributing, says the deal.

But to offset a possible lack of funding from producers, the three institutions followed Parliament's lead and enabled the EU to increase its share of funding.

All eligible promotion and information campaigns within the EU and abroad should be entitled to 70% - 80% co-funding, up from the 50% - 60% proposed by the Commission.

In the event of a serious market disruption or loss of consumer confidence, the EU's share should be increased to 85% and could be increased by a further 5 percentage points if the proposing organisation is from a member state in financial difficulty, according to the deal.

Flexible measures to deal with crises

At Parliament's request, the Commission will be allowed to launch prompt campaigns to remedy serious market disturbances and losses of consumer confidence, such as that in 2011, when Spanish cucumbers were wrongly blamed for causing an E.coli outbreak.

Longer list of products covered

The deal also adds beer, chocolate, bread and pastry, pasta, salt, sweet corn, and cotton to the list of products eligible for the full range of EU-supported promotion measures. Fish and aquaculture products may be added to this list provided they are bundled in a promotion or information campaign with other eligible farm products, adds the agreed text.

Parliament also ensured that included wines with a protected designation of origin (PDO) and protected geographical indication (PGI) could qualify for EU support provided promotion campaigns are sponsored by organisations from several member states. For campaigns designed by organisation(s) from a single member state, wine could be added to the list only if bundled with other eligible products.

Next steps

The provisional deal will be debated by the full Parliament at its last Strasbourg plenary session (14 - 17 April) before the European elections. If Parliament votes for it, then it will still need to be formally endorsed by the Council.
 [europarl.europa.eu]
7/4/14

Σάββατο, Μαρτίου 22, 2014

World Water Day: UN highlights water, energy links for sustainable development


UN, 22 March 2014 – To mark World Water Day, the United Nations is highlighting the key role that water and energy play in economic development and the eradication of poverty worldwide, and calling for strong measures to ensure their efficient and equitable use.
In his message for the Day, focused this year on the interdependence between the management of water and energy, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon noted that “they interact with each other in ways that can help – or hinder – our efforts to build stable societies and lives of dignity for all.”

According to the 2014 World Water Development Report, which was released earlier in the week by the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and UN Water, some 768 million people do not have access to an improved source of water, and 2.5 billion do not have access to appropriate sanitation. 

The report further reveals that places where people do not have adequate access to water largely coincide with those where people have no electric power.
It goes on to describe the various ways in which water and energy relate to each other, explaining, for example, that energy is needed for the collection, transportation and treatment of water, and that at the same time, water is required in the production and extraction of fossil fuels. Likewise, droughts make energy shortages worse, while lack of electricity reduces farmers' ability to irrigate their fields.

“On World Water Day, let us pledge to develop the policies needed to ensure that sustainable water and energy are secured for the many and not just the few,” said the UN chief.
The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) estimates that approximately 70 per cent of the world's water resources are used for agriculture and warns that by 2025 two-thirds of the population could struggle to get access to this resource.
Warning about climate change and its worsening effects on water scarcity in many regions, Mr. Ban called for a sustainable and just use of this vital natural resource: “Water must be used – and electricity must be generated and distributed – equitably and efficiently, so all users get a fair share.” 

Noting that these goals are in line with UN-Water and the Sustainable Energy for All initiative, the UN chief added that they are also “crucially important elements in our discussions on the post-2015 development agenda.”
On a similar note, UN Special Rapporteur on the human right to safe drinking water and sanitation, Catarina de Albuquerque, stresses in a press release that “ill-thought out allocation of water has a disproportionate effect on the poorest sectors of society” and that “it is crucial that Governments apply a human rights framework to guide their actions.”
“People should not have to spend such a big part of their household income on securing water that their access to other human rights, such as the rights to food or health care is undermined,” Ms. De Albuquerque says, declaring: “Governments have a crucial role to play in making sure that increased electricity and water demands do not impose a disproportionate or unfair burden on the poor, and that water allocation prioritizes water for human consumption.” 

For her part, UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova emphasized that “improving access to freshwater is about enabling millions of girls to go to school instead of walking kilometres to fetch water. It is about improving maternal health, curbing child mortality, and preserving the environment.”
“We need to better understand the complex interactions between resources that are closely interlinked, such as water, food and energy. And we must acknowledge that it is impossible to manage these resources sustainably if we treat them in isolation” she said, adding: “There is enough water in the world for everyone. What we continue to lack is better governance and the collective courage to craft fair compromise solutions.”
UNICEF estimates that 1,400 children under five die every day from diarrhoeal diseases due to lack of safe water, and adequate sanitation and hygiene.
The children's rights organization further estimates, along with the UN World Health Organization (WHO) that 10 countries are home to almost two-thirds of the global population without access to improved drinking water sources: China (108 million), India (99 million), Nigeria (63 million), Ethiopia (43 million), Indonesia (39 million), Democratic republic of the Congo (37 million), Bangladesh (26 million), United Republic of Tanzania (22 million), Kenya (16 million) and Pakistan (16 million). 
 un.org
22/3/14
--
-
Related:

----------------

2013

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. 





 -----------

----

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
--
-
Related:

 -----------

----

 

Δευτέρα, Οκτωβρίου 07, 2013

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

 
 -
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
--
-

----

Πέμπτη, Αυγούστου 15, 2013

In Peru, drones used for agriculture, archeology

Drones are most often associated with assassinations in remote regions of Pakistan and Yemen but in Peru, unmanned aircraft are being used to monitor crops and study ancient ruins.

Forget Reapers and Predators -- the drones used here are hand-held contraptions that look like they were assembled in a garage with gear from a hardware store.

They are equipped with a microcomputer, a GPS tracker, a compass, cameras and an altimeter, and can be easily programmed by using Google Maps to fly autonomously and return to base with vital data.


"These aircraft are small in size, are equipped with high-precision video or photo cameras and go virtually unnoticed in the sky," said Andres Flores, an electrical engineer in charge of the UAV program at Peru's Catholic University.

 Flores heads a multidisciplinary team brainstorming the best ways to use drones for civilian purposes.

"Up to now we have managed to use them for agricultural purposes, where they gather information on the health of the plants, and in archeology, to better understand the characteristics of each site and their extensions," Flores said.

One UAV model built by Catholic University engineers is made with light balsa wood and carbon fiber. At a glance the devices look like souped-up hand-held glider.

One limitation is that these drones must fly below the clouds. If not their instruments, especially the cameras, could fail, said Aurelio Rodriguez, who is both an aerial model-maker and archeologist.

Mapping Ancient Cities

Some of the earliest human settlements in the Americas are found in Peru.

There are thousands of archeological sites, many unexplored, dotting the Peruvian landscape, most of them pre-dating the Incas, a major civilization which was defeated by Spanish conquistadors in the 16th century. Along the dry coastline, where the main construction material was adobe brick, whole societies flourished. After centuries of abandon some of these ancient cities have deteriorated to the point that they are hard to distinguish in the sandy, hilly region.

Archeologist Luis Jaime Castillo is using drones to help map the 1,300 year-old Moche civilization around San Idelfonso and San Jose del Moro, two sites on the Peruvian coast north of Lima.

"We can convert the images that the drones provide into topographical and photogrammetry data to build three-dimensional models," Castillo told AFP.

"By using the pictures taken by drones we can see walls, patios, the fabric of the city." Separately, Hildo Loayza, a physicist with the Lima-based International Potato Center, is perfecting ways to apply drone technology to agriculture.

"The drones allow us to resolve problems objectively, while people do it subjectively," he told AFP.

"In agriculture drones allow us to observe a larger cultivation area and estimate the health of the plants and the growth of the crops. The cameras aboard the drones provide us with 500 pieces of high-technology data, while with the human eye one can barely collect ten," Loayza said.

Precise, high-quality images allow experts to measure the amount of sunlight the plants are getting, and study plant problems like stress from heat, drought or lack of nutrients, he said.

Other potential civilian drone use, Flores said, includes closely observing areas of natural disasters or studying urban traffic patterns.

In the thick Amazon jungle, where access by ground is often extremely difficult, drones can be used to study wild animals. "Every time an animal goes by, it can snap a picture," said Flores.

There are no laws in Peru regulating the civilian use of drones, which allows advocates to push for all kinds of projects.

Their use in urban surveillance, however, could be seen as an invasion of privacy.

While experts are still dreaming up new ways to use the aircraft, security officials do use drones for military and police intelligence purposes, especially in Peru's rugged and remote valleys where coca -- the source plant for cocaine -- is grown. 

hurriyetdailynews.com
15/8/13

Οι νεκροί Έλληνες στα μακεδονικά χώματα σάς κοιτούν με οργή

«Παριστάνετε τα "καλά παιδιά" ελπίζοντας στη στήριξη του διεθνή παράγοντα για να παραμείνετε στην εξουσία», ήταν η κατηγορία πο...