Εμφάνιση αναρτήσεων με ετικέτα food crisis. Εμφάνιση όλων των αναρτήσεων
Εμφάνιση αναρτήσεων με ετικέτα food crisis. 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, Αυγούστου 22, 2014

Climate-cooling policies threaten food supplies

By Viv Forbes
A warmer, wetter climate with more carbon dioxide in the atmosphere would undoubtedly produce more plant growth and more food.
However climate-cooling policies that claim to prevent global warming by throttling the use of carbon fuels will definitely reduce food supply and increase food prices.

The promotion of ethanol for motor fuel is anti-food. This "food for fuel" program has absorbed significant quantities of corn, soy beans, sugar and palm oils. Consequently prices for ethanol crops are higher than they would otherwise be, encouraging farmers to convert land currently devoted to grazing animals and other food crops to growing more profitable crops for ethanol.

Extreme greens also practise plant discrimination, favouring more trees at the expense of natural grasslands and open forest that support many grazing animals. These polices take many forms including planting carbon credit forests, banning regrowth clearing, anti-development zoning and blanket tree protection reserves. All such policies reduce food production from grasslands.

Climate-cooling policies also aim to decrease demand for carbon fuels, including coal, oil, gas and refined motor fuels, by increasing their costs and prices. Modern food production is totally dependent on low-priced carbon fuels for all farming activities. Diesel fuels are needed for cultivation, planting, harvesting and transport; and coal/gas powered electricity for irrigation, processing and distribution. Higher prices for carbon fuels will send some marginal farms out of business. The same policies will reduce profits and production in the fishing industry. All of these policies are anti-food.

Modern food production needs nitrogen fertiliser, which is made from atmospheric nitrogen and natural gas, with carbon dioxide as a by-product. Extreme greens all over the world are delaying and opposing the exploration and production of natural gas, and their carbon taxes are increasing the costs of this key fertiliser.
Finally, climate-cooling policies favour silly schemes like carbon capture and burial, which aims to pump carbon dioxide underground. The promoters should be told that current levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere are BELOW those that maximise plant growth and food production. The rise in atmospheric carbon dioxide levels was a major contributor to increased world food production over the last century. To bury this free plant food is not food-smart.

These unproven solutions to unproven problems are unlikely to change the climate. But there is a 50:50 chance that instead of warming, the globe may cool naturally, which will cause dramatic reduction in food production.

Food is not easily storable and supply and demand are always finely balanced. If natural cooling comes on top of all these man-made anti-food policies, the world will see cascading food shortages.
Viv Forbes
Australia
[pravda.ru] 
21/8/14

Σάββατο, Αυγούστου 16, 2014

Can Insects Feed a Hungry Planet?

Earth’s population is ballooning every day, which increasingly presents a host of challenges, from housing to resource depletion to food.

The issue of feeding billions of people on a warming planet—along with related concerns such as food waste, water usage and greenhouse gas emissions—continues to be explored.

It has been widely established that factory farming contributes to climate change and even that eating less beef will benefit the environment. But what about eating … bugs. Bugs?


Two billion people around the globe eat insects. Major areas of consumption include Latin America, Southeast Asia and Central Africa. As new ways are examined to feed a rapidly expanding global population, and with a minimal environmental impact, will entomophagy—the consumption of insects as food—be taken seriously in other parts of the world?

Folks at Ensia—Anna Egelhoff, John Sisser and Todd Reubold—put together this infographic to address that very question:..............................http://ecowatch.com

15/8/14
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Τετάρτη, Αυγούστου 06, 2014

Russia promises "quite substantial" U.S., EU food import bans

MOSCOW - Russia will impose "quite substantial" bans on the U.S. and EU food imports and has already decided to suspend U.S. poultry imports as part of President Vladimir Putin's order to prepare a list of food import bans, its veterinary service said.
Putin signed a decree on Wednesday banning or limiting imports of agricultural products from countries which have imposed sanctions on Russia because of its support of rebels in Ukraine.
Putin ordered his government to come up with a list of goods to be banned for imports into Russia and to last one year, the Kremlin said.

Russia's Veterinary and Phytosanitary Surveillance Service (VPSS) will ban the U.S. poultry imports, VPSS spokesman Alexei Alekseenko told Reuters on Wednesday evening.
He declined to say what other products would be included in the list, but said the ban on the U.S. and EU food imports will be large. 
  • Russia imported $43 billion worth of food last year.
"In relation to the U.S., the country which was imposing sanctions, the decision (on food import bans) will be quite substantial," Alekseenko said. The same "of course refers" to the European Union, he added.
  • Apart from boosting local production and expanding cooperation from sanction-resilient countries, Putin's decision may well become a self-made sanction on the population, Dmitry Polevoy, ING chief economist in Russia & CIS, said in a note.
  • "Even though from political point of view the move may look appropriate, and it will indeed hit countries supplying food to Russia, the move will likely only amplify the effects of financial/sectoral sanctions imposed on Russia," Polevoy said.
"This will likely add to overall sanction costs via higher food inflation and, so, will have a widespread effect on households," he added.................http://www.todayonline.com/world/russia-ban-us-poultry-imports-veterinary-service
7/8/14
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  • A one-year ban has been imposed on certain agricultural produce, foods and raw materials from countries that have sanctioned Russia. A law on economic measures to protect the country's security has been signed by President Putin.
The decree “on the use of specific economic measures” has been signed in response to sanctions imposed on Russia by a number of states over the Ukrainian crisis, the Kremlin said on its website.
While the law comes into force immediately, the government has been tasked to come up with a concrete list of imports to be banned.

The decree orders the Cabinet to take measures to provide a balance on product markets and prevent rapid price growth. The government has also to join efforts with manufacturers, businesses and retail store chains to increase the Russian goods supply.
Meanwhile, ministers are already drafting a list of products that could be affected by the ban, Natalia Timakova, a press-secretary for PM Dmitry Medvedev told RIA Novosti.
Russia came up with retaliation sanctions after the EU and the US introduced their own economic measures against Russia over the Ukrainian crisis.
Speaking on Tuesday, ahead of signing the decree, Putin stressed that Moscow’s response should be “cautious.”
Obviously we need to do it cautiously in order to support domestic manufacturers, but not hurt consumers,” he said.

  • Putin described the political tools of pressure being used against the Russian economy as unacceptable and added that they go against international rules and norms.
  • A day earlier, Medvedev said that Moscow would consider possible responses to EU sanctions against Russian airlines.
Vedomosti daily has been reporting Russia would limit European flights to Asia that cross Siberia, in response to EU sanctions that caused Aeroflot subsidiary, Dobrolet, to suspend flights on Monday. However, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said Wednesday the report was a baseless rumor. DETAILS TO FOLLOW http://rt.com/news/178484-putin-russia-sanctions-agriculture/
6/8/14

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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Τρίτη, Φεβρουαρίου 04, 2014

New UN airlift ships food from Iraq to 30,000 Syrians cut off on land by civil war


4 February 2014 – The United Nations today began a new airlift from Iraq to feed nearly 30,000 displaced people in a conflict-torn region of northeast Syria where road access has been cut off for over six months and no significant relief deliveries have arrived overland since last May.

The airlift comes as the UN World Food Programme (WFP) faces in Syria what is currently its most complex emergency globally, with challenges ranging from bureaucratic delays, insecurity on roads, the closure of major highways, and sieges imposed on civilians trapped in over 40 locations across the country due to the civil war.

“It is tragic to see the most vulnerable Syrians going hungry and paying the heavy price for a political conflict with no end in sight,” WFP Executive Director Ertharin Cousin said as her agency’s airlift started from Erbil, in Iraq’s Kurdish region, to Qamishli, in Syria’s Al Hassakeh Governorate.

“We call upon all parties to provide us with continuous and unimpeded access across the country. WFP should be able to reach all those who need food assistance all the time.”
At WFP-chartered flight landed at Qamishli today with 40 metric tons of mixed food including rice, pasta, bulgur, wheat flour, canned food, pulses, salt, vegetable oil and sugar, the first of 10 flights that will deliver over 400 metric tons of WFP food and other items – mainly clothes, detergent and soap – for the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the International Organization for Migration.

WFP airlifted food from Erbil to Qamishli in December for more than 62,000 people.
Overall, WFP dispatched in January enough food for 3.6 million people in Syria, short of its target of 4.25 million people as the governorates of Raqqa, Deir Ezzor, Rural Aleppo and Al-Hassakeh were inaccessible. The closure of the Daraa-Damascus highway has also affected the dispatch of food to parts of Daraa, Quneitra, Damascus and Rural Damascus.
Security has deteriorated in Al Hassakeh Governorate in the last few weeks, displacing large numbers of people. Recently, around 7,500 people fled clashes that erupted in rural areas to Qamishli city while others fled towards the Iraqi border.

“The road to political stability and confidence building in Syria starts with an important step: ensuring no one dies because of a lack of food or medicine or from the cold when humanitarian workers are nearby but are not allowed in” Ms. Cousin said of the three-year-old civil war. “Syrians must have their most basic needs met.”
  • As hunger in Syria grows, WFP is appealing for over $2 billion to assist more than 7 million Syrians in urgent need of food aid in 2014. These include 4.25 million people inside Syria and over 2.9 million refugees in neighbouring countries.
 un.org
4/2/14

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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Πέμπτη, Ιουνίου 06, 2013

UN Food and Agriculture Org. warns of food prices rise over next decade

Video cctv

The UN’s Food and Agriculture Organisation has warned food prices across the globe are set to rise by as much as 40 per cent over the next decade. Rising costs in farm production, and less available land are mostly to blame. But as Ray Kuka reports, new technologies and stronger relationships in global trade should solve any potential food shortage.
Farms like this are becoming more and more precious.
As developing countries become more wealthy, demand for food is growing.
The UN’s Food and Agriculture Organisation says the world is facing a situation where demand outgrows production.
Kenneth Ash, OECD Director of Trade and Agriculture, said, "It’s not about being optimistic or pessimistic, the key message is the markets have fundamentally changed."
Rising production costs, less available farmland, and environmental factors are mostly to blame.

But it’s not all bad news – higher prices mean higher profits – and MORE workers attracted to farming.
Merritt Cluff, Senior Economist of UN Food and Agriculture Org., said, “The cure for high prices, is high prices and the world is investing in agriculture like it hasn’t done before.”
In places like China –a special focus of this year’s report, that investment has seen 100 million people lifted out of poverty in 30 years.
The shift, is also putting pressure on productions to research and use better technology, to achieve more efficiency, sustainability and a better product.
Jose Graziano Da Silva, Director-General of UN Food and Agriculture Org., said, “Side by side, eradicate hunger, improve food production, we need to do it in a sustainable way. If not we will damage the soil and our foods.”
Not only at the dinner table, but also food spoilt at markets, and during transportation.
“The estimate at the moment is that some 30 – 40 per cent of what is produced in the world is wasted. This is a remarkable number. You could dramatically affect markets by bringing that number down to something much more reasonable.” Said Kenneth Ash.
Better use of resources, and better trade ties – for better lives around the world.
http://english.cntv.cn/program/newsupdate/20130606/105065.shtml
6/6/13
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Κυριακή, Απριλίου 14, 2013

Millions face starvation as world warms, say scientists ... World is unprepared for changes that will see parts of Africa turned into disaster areas, say food experts

Millions of people could become destitute in Africa and Asia as staple foods more than double in price by 2050 as a result of extreme temperatures, floods and droughts that will transform the way the world farms.
As food experts gather at two major conferences to discuss how to feed the nine billion people expected to be alive in 2050, leading scientists have told the Observer that food insecurity risks turning parts of Africa into permanent disaster areas. Rising temperatures will also have a drastic effect on access to basic foodstuffs, with potentially dire consequences for the poor.

Frank Rijsberman, head of the world's 15 international CGIAR crop research centres, which study food insecurity, said: "Food production will have to rise 60% by 2050 just to keep pace with expected global population increase and changing demand. Climate change comes on top of that. The annual production gains we have come to expect … will be taken away by climate change. We are not so worried about the total amount of food produced so much as the vulnerability of the one billion people who are without food already and who will be hit hardest by climate change. They have no capacity to adapt."
America's agricultural economy is set to undergo dramatic changes over the next three decades, as warmer temperatures devastate crops, according to a US government report. The draft US National Climate Assessment report predicts that a gradually warming climate and unpredictable severe weather, such as the drought that last year spread across two-thirds of the continental United States, will have serious consequences for farmers.
The research by 60 scientists predicts that all crops will be affected by the temperature shift as well as livestock and fruit harvests. The changing climate, it says, is likely to lead to more pests and less effective herbicides. The $50bn Californian wine industry could shrink as much as 70% by 2050.
The report lays bare the stark consequences for the $300bn US farm industry, stating: "Many agricultural regions will experience declines in crop and livestock production. The rising incidence of weather extremes will have increasingly negative impacts on crop and livestock production. Climate disruptions have increased in the recent past and are projected to increase further over the next 25 years.
"Critical thresholds are already being exceeded. Many regions will experience declines in crop and livestock production from increased stress due to weeds, diseases, insect pests and other climate change-induced stresses. Climate disruptions to agricultural production have increased in the recent past and are projected to increase further".
Lead author Jerry Hatfield, director of the US government's national laboratory for agriculture and the environment, said that climate change was already causing weather extremes to worsen. Very hot nights, fewer cool days and more heatwaves, storms and floods have already devastated crops and will have "increasingly negative" impacts, he said.
The report follows recent disastrous harvests in Russia, Ukraine, Australia and the US. In 2010, climate-driven factors led to a 33% drop in wheat production in Russia and a 19% drop in Ukraine. Separate climate events in each case led to a 14% drop in Canada's wheat output, and a 9% drop in Australia.
A separate US government-funded study of the fertile Lower Mekong basin, which includes Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand and Laos, states that temperatures there could rise twice as much as previously expected, devastating food supplies for the 100 million people expected to live there by 2050. "We've found that this region is going to experience climate extremes in temperature and rainfall beyond anything that we expected", says Jeremy Carew-Reid, author of the Climate Change Adaptation and Impact Study for the Lower Mekong.
Two major food security summits are being held in Ireland, organised by UN World Food Programme, the CGIAR Research Programme on Climate Change and the Mary Robinson Climate Justice foundation.
Ertharin Cousin, the UN's World Food Programme director, said: "We are entering an uncertain and risky period. Climate change is the game changer that increases exposure to high and volatile food prices, and increases the vulnerability of the hungry poor, especially those living in conflict zones or areas of marginal agricultural productivity. We must act quickly to protect the world's poorest people."
 .guardian.co.uk
13/4/13
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Πέμπτη, Νοεμβρίου 15, 2012

Is the world heading towards another food crisis?

Too many countries have in history experienced the devastation of not only failed harvests, but also gross agricultural policy mismanagement.
The Great Famine of the 1930s in the Ukraine, which resulted in millions starving to death, is just one of many. It was a direct result of a political decision to impose a centralised and industrial agriculture model that obliterated centuries of farmers’ know-how. The results were so catastrophic that the Ukraine government describes it as genocide.
There is perhaps little wonder that Ukraine has been restricting wheat exports this year to maintain its own domestic stockpiles and prevent a rise in domestic bread prices following a heat wave and failed harvest.

Climate change scientists tell us that we can expect more extreme weather and more failed harvests in the coming years if measures are not taken to halt the impact of global warming.
Will we see great famines in the future? Well, bad policies and corporate greed are certainly the drivers of industrial agriculture in our key breadbasket countries, where food is being turned into fuel. So, are we heading for another food crisis?
The short answer is yes … although where and when is hard to say. In the words of the physicist and Nobel Prize winner Neils Bohr: "Prediction is very difficult, especially if it’s about the future".
But there are some facts we do know for sure.
We know that human beings are overshooting planetary boundaries for water and biological diversity. We know that food prices continue to be high and that price spikes are as equally volatile and frequent as extreme weather events. We know that climate change is hitting agricultural yields badly while food production is increasingly used to fuel cars. And we know that powerful corporate lobbies continue to push for false solutions that feed profits more than people.
Those ingredients combined make a dangerous cocktail that is likely to spell disaster, particularly for the world’s poorest.
But there are solutions to prevent such a dire outcome.
First, the US and Europe should immediately suspend and review their own biofuel policies to ensure that crops for fuel don’t compete with food availability and affordability for the poorest. We will soon need your support to demand specific actions from governments … so watch this space.
Secondly, too much food is being wasted in the world. According to the United Nations, one third of food produced globally is not eaten. In richer countries, the proportion of food wasted is even higher (40-50% in the US) and largely at the level of food manufacturers / retailers and consumers.
So let’s all be more careful in buying only food we really need and eat. It is good for our family’s wallet and helps reduce pressure on the food system, food prices and the environment.
Thirdly, we also need to help farmers make the transition to agriculture that is more resilient to extreme weather events sparked by climate change.
Moving to ecological agriculture is our best guarantee to prevent high volatility in food production and prices and therefore the best way to prevent a food crisis.
Ecological agriculture farmers use nature’s own diversity to produce a wider range of foods while preserving the health and the fertility of the soil. Ecological agriculture is good for the climate and is the best option for food security in Africa and in countries such as India and China.
Finally, we urgently need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to climate change, which represents the number one threat to sustainable agriculture and food security.
This involves reducing the amount of dirty energy we use, and ensuring governments making binding commitments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to safe levels.
The imminent danger of a food crisis is very real, but there are winning solutions if we avoid repeating past mistakes such as those in the Ukraine.
Eric Darier, senior campaigner for sustainable agriculture at Greenpeace International
 .greenpeace.org
15/11/12
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Παρασκευή, Οκτωβρίου 05, 2012

Land sold off and used for biofuels could have fed 1 billion people – report

Indian labourers work in a field of Jatropha in the village of Hassan, some 250 kms from Bangalore. Jatropha, a wild shrub that grows abundantly across India, has been hailed as an eco-friendly solution to the energy needs. (AFP Photo / Mission Biofuels India)
2 million kilometers of foreign purchased land in developing countries is either idle or used for Western biofuel production, according to a British charity. Oxfam's report estimates an area the size of London is sold every six days.
The report states that between 2000 and 2010, 60% of investment in agricultural land by foreign traders occurred in developing countries with hunger problems.

Yet two thirds of those investors plan to export everything they produce. While 60% of deals are to produce crops that can be used for biofuels. Land can also be left idle, as speculators wait for its value to increase.  
Oxfam estimates that this land could have fed 1 billion people.
According to the International Land Coalition, an NGO based in Italy, 106 million hectares of land in developing countries has been acquired by foreign investors in a period between 2000-2010, with some disastrous results.
30% of all land in Liberia has been handed out in large scale concessions in the last 5 years, while up to 63% of all available land in Cambodia has been passed on to private companies.

Farmers forced out

Oxfam emphasizes that much of the land sold off was already being used for small scale and subsistence farming or other types of natural resource use.
The report dismissed claims by the World Bank that most of the sold land remains idle, waiting to be developed. In fact most agricultural land deals target quality farm land, particularly land that is irrigated and offers good access to markets.
A 2010 study by the Independent Evaluation Group (IEG) – the official monitoring and evaluation body of the World Bank – supported Oxfam’s findings.
It found that 30% of World Bank projects involved involuntary resettlement. The study estimated that 1 million people are involuntarily resettled in projects financed by the World Bank.
In some cases people were violently evicted from their land without consultation or compensation.
Barbara Stocking, Oxfam’s chief executive, told British newspaper the Guardian that, “The rush for land is out of control and some of the world’s poorest people are suffering hunger, violence and greater poverty as a result. The World Bank is in a unique position to help stop land grabs becoming one of the biggest scandals of the century.”
Internally displaced children line up to receive a food ration at a food distribution point at a voluntary centre in Mogadishu, Somalia. (AFP Photo / Mohamed Dahir)
Internally displaced children line up to receive a food ration at a food distribution point at a voluntary centre in Mogadishu, Somalia. (AFP Photo / Mohamed Dahir)

Freeze investments

Oxfam has urged the World Bank to freeze its investments in large scale land acquisitions in poor nations.
In the last decade the World Bank has tripled its support for land projects to $6-$8 billion a year, but it does not provide data on how much of this goes to land acquisition or any connection between lending and conflict in a country.
Oxfam wants the World Bank to make sure that information about land deals is publicly accessible, that communities are informed in advance and have the right to agree to or refuse to participate in projects.
Stocking said that the UK, as one of the banks largest shareholders and next year’s president of the G8, should try and get these land deals frozen.
“The UK should also show leadership in reversing flawed biofuels targets, which are a main driver for land and are diverting food into fuel. It can also play a crucial role as president of the G8 next year by putting food and hunger at the heart of the agenda,” Stocking said.
But in a statement released to the Guardian, the international Finance Corporation (IFC), the World Bank’s private lending arm, defended its past transactions.
“IFC does not finance land acquisitions for speculative purposes. We invest in productive agricultural and forestry enterprises that can be land intensive to help provide the food and fiber the world needs.”
http://rt.com/news/world-bank-developing-world-689/
5/10/12
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