sábado, 16 de diciembre de 2017

Food & Agriculture | IPS Inter Press Service | News Agency | Journalism & Communication for Global Change

Food & Agriculture | IPS Inter Press Service | News Agency | Journalism & Communication for Global Change





According to the United Nations, one in nine people in the world today are undernourished. A crucial part of this complex problem is food production and distribution. The Sustainable Development Goals aim to provide nutrient-rich food for all and support agriculture, forestry, and fisheries through sustainable practices that encourage rural development. Promoting this goal requires both new research and modern technology together with traditional, people-centric approaches to serve those dependent on a flourishing food and agriculture system to earn a living while living a healthy life. IPS presents stories that explain the connections between economic and social empowerment, sustainable farming practices and hunger eradication.

FOOD & AGRICULTURE

Climate Change Threatens Mexican Agriculture

Azael Meléndez recalls the tornado that in May 2015 struck his hometown of San Gregorio Atlapulco, in Xochimilco, on the outskirts of Mexico City.

The Protracted Refugee and Migrant Crisis: A Challenge to Multilateralism

It is an incontrovertible fact that more people are on the move owing to globalization. Fifteen percent of the world’s population are on the move worldwide. In other words, of the world population of 7 billion, one billion are on the move. Seven hundred and forty million people are referred to as internal or as domestic migrants within their countries of origin. The number of internally displaced persons reaches about 60 million. On top of this, the world has more than 244 million international migrants who cross borders often into the unknown. Lastly, there are 22.5 million refugees – encompassing the 5.3 million Palestinian refugees – registered by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees who have been forced to flee their home societies as a result of violence and armed conflict. The first two decades of the 21st century will go down in history as the era in which the world has witnessed the most complex and massive movement of people since the end of the Second World War.

Global Initiative to Relieve Pressure on Mountains

International Mountain Day and the Mountain Partnership’s 15th anniversary coincided on December 11, kicking off a three-day Mountain Partnership Global Meeting at the headquarters of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) in Rome.

Are Value Chains a Pathway to Nutrition in Sub-Saharan Africa?

Although difficult to ascertain whether it is a trend reversal, two recent FAO reports (2017a, b) show a rise in hunger globally as well as in Africa. The number of undernourished (NoU) in the world suffering from chronic food deprivation began to rise in 2014 –from 775 million people to 777 million in 2015 – and is now estimated to have increased further, to 815 million in 2016. The stagnation of the global average of the proportion of undernourished (PoU) from 2013 to 2015 is the result of two offsetting changes at the regional level: in Sub-Saharan Africa, the share of undernourished people increased, while there was a continued decline in Asia in the same period. However, in 2016, the PoU increased in most regions except Northern Africa, Southern Asia, Eastern Asia, Central America and the Caribbean. The deterioration was most severe in Sub-Saharan Africa and South-Eastern Asia (FAO 2017a,b).

Debate on Glyphosate Use Comes to a Head in Argentina

In and around the city of Rosario, where most of Argentina's soybean processing plants are concentrated, a local law banned the use of glyphosate, the most widely-used herbicide in Argentina. But two weeks later, producers managed to exert enough pressure to obtain a promise that the ban would be overturned.

Food Sovereignty as a Pillar of Self-Determination

A recent meeting in Rome between our Pacific leaders and UN Food & Agriculture Organisation (FAO) highlighted the urgency of food security in our region given the reality of climate change affecting our agriculture and aquaculture.

Resistance to Antibiotics: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

The growing resistance to antibiotics and other antimicrobials due to their overuse and misuse both in humans and animals has become an alarming global threat to public health, food safety and security, causing the deaths of 700,000 people each year. This is a fact.

Empowering Women Improves Communities, Ensures Success for Generations

At an event held on October 29 at the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) Gender Awards 2017, five countries were honored for impressive achievements in gender equality and women’s empowerment despite harsh conditions and numerous daunting situational and societal obstacles. The five countries are Bangladesh, Mozambique, Colombia, Morocco, and Mauritania. The IFAD supported projects in these countries have ambitious goals for a more egalitarian future. To date these projects have successfully provided women with decision-making opportunities, skill training, and increased autonomy through the development of their own livelihoods.

South-South Cooperation Key to a New Multilateralism

“There are new challenges to all states: among them, the real threat to multilateralism... South-South and triangular cooperation can contribute to a new multilateralism and drive the revitalisation of the global partnership for sustainable development.”

UN Makes Record Appeal for Humanitarian Aid in 2018

The UN has made its largest appeal to work towards reaching the more than 135 million people across the world in need of humanitarian assistance and protection.

Q&A: “What Price Do We Put on Our Oceans?”

“Political resolve is the key for succeeding in our fight against oceans pollution,” Erik Solheim, head of UN Environment, who is leading hands-on the organisation’s global campaign to clean up seas and oceans of plastic litter, agricultural run‑off and chemical dumping, told IPS.

One Third of Food Lost, Wasted – Enough to Feed All Hungry People

Believe it or not, the way to eradicate hunger from the face of the Earth is as feasible as it is handy. In fact, the current loss and waste of one-third of all food produced for human consumption would be just enough to feed the nearly one billion people who go to bed hungry every single night.

Combating Climate Change? Combat Land Degradation, Says UNCCD Chief

Land restoration is not a “glamorous subject even when you give all the numbers,” admits Monique Barbut, the Executive Secretary of United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification UNCCD). But she also stresses that by 2050, the world population will reach 10 billion. To feed that extra 2.4 billion, current food production would need to be increased by 75 percent.

Climate-Smart Agriculture in Vanuatu: Learning to Grow

It’s been dry in Isavai on the island of Aniwa for last couple of years – ever since Tropical Cyclone Pam tore through Vanuatu in March 2015, leaving an El Nino-induced drought in its wake. A dry phase is bad news for farmers anywhere, but in Aniwa, where there is no constant water source and the only water supply comes almost exclusively from harvesting rain into tanks, it’s disastrous.

Good to Know (Perhaps) That Food Is Being ‘Nuclearised’

It might sound strange, very strange, but the news is that scientists and experts have been assuring, over and again, that using nuclear applications in agriculture --and thus in food production—are giving a major boost to food security. So how does this work?

The Mekong, Dammed to Die

In Laos, the lush forests are alive with the whines of drills that pierce the air. On the Mekong, a giant concrete wall rises slowly above the trees. The Don Sahong dam is a strong symbol, not only for a power-hungry Asia but also for what critics fear is a disaster in the making.

The Harsh Plight of 152 Million Child Labourers

While trillions of dollars are being spent on exploring remote galaxies, Planet Earth is still home to harsh realities that could be easily –and much less expensively—resolved. One of them is that worldwide 152 million children are currently victims of child labour.

Are Prospects of Rural Youth Employment in Africa a Mirage?

Many recent accounts tend to dismiss productive employment of youth in rural areas in Africa as a mirage largely because they exhibit strong resistance to eking out a bare subsistence in dismal working and living conditions. We argue below on recent evidence of agricultural transformation that this view is overly pessimistic, if not largely mistaken.

Economic Development vs. Climate Action: Rebutting Deniers and Wafflers

As negotiators meet in Bonn to put together a deal to implement the Paris Agreement, John Holdren, a professor of environmental policy at the John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University, stressed that economic development and climate change mitigation and adaptation are not ‘either-or’ but must be pursued together.

Aid Groups Condemn Yemen Blockade, Warn of ‘Catastrophic’ Famine

If aid deliveries are not resumed, Yemen will experience the worst famine the world has seen in recent decades.

SLIDESHOW: Two Models of Development in Struggle Coexist in Brazil’s Semi-arid Region

Irrigated green fields of vineyards and monoculture crops coexist in Brazil’s semiarid Northeast with dry plains dotted with flowering cacti and native crops traditio

Debate on Glyphosate Use Comes to a Head in Argentina | Inter Press Service

Debate on Glyphosate Use Comes to a Head in Argentina | Inter Press Service



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Debate on Glyphosate Use Comes to a Head in Argentina

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Academics discuss the impacts on health and the environment of the use of glyphosate in Argentine agriculture, during a Dec. 6 conference at the University of Buenos Aires. Concern about this topic is now on the country’s public agenda. Credit: Daniel Gutman / IPS
Academics discuss the impacts on health and the environment of the use of glyphosate in Argentine agriculture, during a Dec. 6 conference at the University of Buenos Aires. Concern about this topic is now on the country’s public agenda. Credit: Daniel Gutman / IPS
BUENOS AIRES, Dec 8 2017 (IPS) - In and around the city of Rosario, where most of Argentina’s soybean processing plants are concentrated, a local law banned the use of glyphosate, the most widely-used herbicide in Argentina. But two weeks later, producers managed to exert enough pressure to obtain a promise that the ban would be overturned.
This episode, which took place in November, reflects the strong economic interests at stake and the growing controversy surrounding the use of agrochemicals and their impact on people’s health and the environment.
“Agriculture in Argentine has undergone major changes in recent decades and consolidated its agroindustrial model, strongly based on soy, which displaced wheat and corn,” explained Emilio Satorre, professor and researcher at the University of Buenos Aires (UBA) department of agronomy.
“The sown area climbed from 15 to 36 million hectares, 60 to 65 percent of which are covered with genetically modified (GM) soy, while the use of phytosanitary products increased threefold. This system generated great wealth for the country, but of course it produces greater risks,” he told IPS.
For Satorre, “society is increasingly exacting… and the environment and health have become a central focus.”
Glyphosate accounts for over half of the agrochemicals used, since the government authorised in 1996 commercial sales of GM soybean resistant to that herbicide, which was then produced exclusively by Monsanto, the US biotech giant with a large subsidiary in this South American country.
Along with direct seeding or no-till systems, which avoid soil tillage and mitigate erosion, glyphosate and GM soy form the foundation on which the phenomenal expansion of agriculture has been based in this country of 44 million people, where the agro-livestock sector represents about 13 percent of GDP.
This growth took place at the expense of the loss of millions of hectares of natural pastures in La Pampa, one of the world’s most fertile regions in the centre of the country, and of native forests in the Chaco, the northern subtropical plain shared with Bolivia and Paraguay.
Large-scale soy production expanded so much that it reached the edge of many urban areas.
One of them is Córdoba, the second-biggest city in the country, located in the central region. There, a group of women have put Ituzaingó – a working-class neighborhood – on the national map since 2002.
It was when they mobilised to protest about a large number of cases of cancer and malformations, which they blamed on the spraying of soy crops that grew up to a few metres from their homes.
The Mothers of Ituzaingó, a neighbourhood on the outskirts of Córdoba, the second-biggest city in Argentina, have taken their fight against agrochemicals, because of its impact on the health of their community, to the emblematic Plaza de Mayo in Buenos Aires. Credit: Courtesy of Mothers of Ituzaingó
The Mothers of Ituzaingó, a neighbourhood on the outskirts of Córdoba, the second-biggest city in Argentina, have taken their fight against agrochemicals, because of its impact on the health of their community, to the emblematic Plaza de Mayo in Buenos Aires. Credit: Courtesy of Mothers of Ituzaingó
With their struggle, the Mothers of Ituzaingó obtained a judicial ruling that banned fumigations closer than 500 metres from their houses, as well as the criminal conviction of an agricultural producer and a fumigator.
They became a beacon of hope for many social movements in the country.
“I started when my daughter, who was three years old, was diagnosed with leukemia. Today thanks to God she is alive and they haven’t sprayed here anymore since 2008, but we were poisoned for years and people are still getting sick,” said Norma Herrera, a homemaker who has five children and two grandchildren.
“It was a very hard struggle at the beginning. Over the years the facts have proved us right, but we were never able to get professionals to scientifically establish the connection between the spraying and the health problems,” Herrera told IPS.
Thanks to the social movement of which the Mothers of Ituzaingó were pioneers, a decision was reached Nov. 16 by the city council in Rosario to ban glyphosate.
The provision placed emphasis on a study carried out by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), the specialised cancer agency of the World Health Organisation, which declared the herbicide a “probable carcinogen” two years ago.
The decision took agricultural producers by surprise. At the time they seemed more worried about the uncertainty over whether the European Union would or would not renew the licence for the use of glyphosate, which was to expire on Dec. 15.
A negative decision would cause a severe economic impact for Argentina, the sector’s business chambers warned.
But on Nov. 27 the EU agreed in Brussels to renew the licence for the herbicide for five years, with the votes of 18 countries against nine and one abstention.
In 2016, Argentina’s agricultural exports totaled 24 billion dollars, equivalent to 46 percent of the country’s total exports, while soy meal, cornmeal and soy oil accounted for the main sales abroad.
Three days after the EU’s decision, the heads of rural entities went to Rosario’s city hall and convinced the same city councilors who had banned glyphosate that there was no “scientific evidence” warranting such a decision.
A few hours later, several city councilors said they had not discussed the issue with the necessary depth.
As a result, although the provision is not yet in force because it was not signed by the city government, a new municipal bill was drafted, which authorises spraying with the herbicide with certain precautions, and is set to be discussed this month.
“We consider it deplorable that the councilors have reversed the commendable decision to protect the health and environment of the population of Rosario, yielding to pressure from the soy lobby and showing who truly governs” said a group of more than 10 environmental and social organisations.of the region in a press release.
For Lilian Correa, head of Health and Environment at the UBA school of medicine, “the next generation of Argentinians must put on the table the cost-benefit equation of the current productive model. Today, the impact on health and the environment is not measured.”
Correa warned about the prevailing apathy in Argentina regarding the regulation and handling of toxic agrochemicals, citing the case of endosulfan, an insecticide banned in 2011 by the Conference of the Parties to the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants.
“When that happened, Argentina set a two-year deadline to sell off stocks of endosulfan. That was done to benefit a company, in an unethical and illegal manner,” Correa said during a Dec. 5 conference at the UBA agronomy department
In 2011, a four-year-old boy died in Corrientes, in the northeast of the country, poisoned when endosulfan was sprayed on tomato crops less than 50 metres from his house.
In December 2016, the owner of the tomato plantation in question became the first person tried in Argentina for homicide through the use of agrochemicals.
However, the court considered that no negligence could be proven in the use of the substance, which at that time was permitted, and acquitted him.

Agricultural Research | IPS Inter Press Service | News Agency | Journalism & Communication for Global Change

Agricultural Research | IPS Inter Press Service | News Agency | Journalism & Communication for Global Change





Africa and other developing regions across the tropics must increase agricultural productivity, food availability, food safety, and the sector’s overall performance against the backdrop of a larger and more urban human population, uncertain effects of climate, increased demand for energy, disease pandemics, rural-to-urban migration, and, in many cases, civil strife. Most food and nutrition insecurity exists in sub-Saharan Africa due to chronically low crop yields as well as unacceptable post-harvest losses. In spite of the challenges, opportunities abound. IPS reporting highlights the progress achieved over the last 50 years in the continent and exposes setbacks of breakthrough agricultural technologies which bridge the missing links between research, extension and capacity building as a priority in addressing emerging challenges for agricultural development.



Agricultural Research

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Bio-Product Targeting Deadly Toxin Holds Hope for Africa’s Food

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Climate Change Needn’t Spell Doom for Uganda’s Coffee Farmers

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Rural Job Creation Holds the Key to Development and Food-Security Goals

Harvesting the benefits of core agricultural research, which often bears on improved crop varieties and plant diseases, increasingly depends on the social and economic conditions into which its seeds are sown.It is a sign of the times that Kanayo F. Nwanze, the president of the International Fund for Agricultural Development who started off as a cassava entomologist when ITTA posted him to Congo in the 1970s, was recently hailed for his efforts to create African billionaires.

African Staple Plantains at Risk of Same Diseases as Bananas

Anna Gamusi, has been growing ‘matooke’ - plantains - for over 20 years. She originally learnt how to grow them in her home village of Busolwe in Eastern Uganda, but says that they are no longer grown there.

Rural Youth Can Be Tomorrow’s Entrepreneurs

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A Commercial Village Brings Business to Poor Kenyan Farmers

High incidents of poverty coupled with decreasing land acreage amid a changing climate pouring havoc on weather patterns has compelled farmers in the Tangakona area of Busia County in western Kenya to embrace an innovative initiative to improve livelihoods.

Hail to the Cowpea: a Blue Ribbon for the Black-Eyed Pea

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Climate Smart Coffee and Banana Set to Boost East African Farmers’ Income

Ugandan farmers are increasingly inter-planting coffee, the country’s primary export, and banana, a staple food, as a way of coping with the effects of climate change.

Africa Closer to a Cure for Banana Disease

In one Ugandan dialect, 'kiwotoka', describes the steamed look of banana plants affected by the Banana Xanthomonas Wilt (BXW) - a virulent disease that is pushing African farmers out of business and into poverty.

Uganda, Tanzania Need Gender Sensitive Climate Change Policies

Climate Change needs to be at the top of the country’s agenda, according to a project examining Uganda’s policies. It says the country hasn’t paid enough attention to climate change in national development and agriculture plans and this needs to be turned around before it’s too late.

OPINION: Keep Family Farms in Business with Youth Agripreneurs

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Aflatoxins: Poisoning Health and Trade in Sub-Saharan Africa

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IITA Promotes a Solution that Puts Smallholders’ Food, Nutrition and Income in a Bag

Sometimes the best solutions can appear to be so simple that it’s hard to imagine why they weren’t invented centuries ago.