What we’ve been reading this week

This week’s summary of the news stories, reports, and blogs that have grabbed our attention. We welcome your thoughts and comments on these articles.

Food and Nutrition Security

From promise to impact: Ending Malnutrition by 2030, Clobal Nutrition Report

2016 World Food Prize goes to scientists who developed biofortified sweet potato, Genetic Literacy Project

Fighting global hunger helps us here at home, The Hill

Biofortification Pioneers Win World Food Prize 2016, Farming First

These 2 Boys Were Born The Same Day In The Same Town, But Their Lives Will Be Dramatically Different, The Huffington Post

The Global Food Security Act, AgriPulse

Unprecedented level of food insecurity in South Sudan, UN agencies warn, FAO

Biotechnology

107 Nobel laureates sign letter blasting Greenpeace over GMOs, The Washington Post

EU position on GMOs a blow to SADC’s food security, The Southern Times [Read more…]

What we’ve been reading this week

This week’s summary of the news stories, reports, and blogs that have grabbed our attention. We welcome your thoughts and comments on these articles.

2016 World Food Prize Laureate, HarvestPlus

Agricultural techniques and policy in Africa

Climate-Smart Agriculture in Action, Farming First

African policy to end hunger silent on climate risk, SciDevNet

Centuries-old African soil technique could combat climate change – scientists, Reuters Africa

Climate-Smart Agriculture in Senegal. CSA Country Profiles for Africa Series, CCAFS

Food for thought from the land of a thousand hills, The Conversation

EDITORIAL: African govts should implement policies that increase food production, The New Times

Mainstreaming climate-smart practices in cocoa production in Ghana, CCAFS

Innovation

Guest Commentary – Africa’s famine – will President Obama’s Power Africa and Adesina’s Light Up Africa make a difference? Chicago Council

Matt Shakhovskoy: Three Big Opportunities for Unlocking Smallholders’ Access to Finance, Farming First

Despite problems, north African consumers offer investors promise, This Is Africa

Disruptive innovation: The most viable strategy for economic development in Africa, The World Bank

“Sweet business” of beekeeping helps protect Zimbabwe’s forests, Thomson Reuters Foundation

‘GMO’ Regulation: After 30 Years, Let Science Finally Show The Way, Forbes [Read more…]

What we’ve been reading this week

This week’s summary of the news stories, reports, and blogs that have grabbed our attention. We welcome your thoughts and comments on these articles.

Climate change

GCF Insight 2016, Green Climate Fund

EU Commission presents COP21 ratification proposals, The Parliament Magazine

New crop varieties ‘can’t keep up with global warming’, BBC News

Seven climate records set so far in 2016, The Guardian

Value chains and food systems

Who Controls The Food Supply? Forbes

Fight Poverty Through Entrepreneurship, Huffington Post

Improving global value chains key for EU trade, European Parliament

Are donors pulling back on agriculture research funding? Devex

Feeding A Hungry Urban World, Huffington Post

Senegal’s farmers adopt new tool to boost harvests: mobile phones, Thomson Reuters Foundation

Putting water in local hands: Farmers to manage irrigation systems in Rwanda, IFAD [Read more…]

Mastering the last mile to food security

By Alice Marks, @alicemarks0

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IFPRI, Milo Mitchell

Is there light at the end of the tunnel for achieving food and nutrition security? According to Roberto Ridolfi, Director for Sustainable Growth and Development at the European Commission, there is not far left to go, but the journey still presents many obstacles to overcome. To him, the last mile is “the last inch between the fingers of the farmer and the seed in the soil.” On June 14th, the eve of the European Development Days, delegates congregated in Brussels at a workshop entitled Going the Last Mile: Accelerating Progress in Food Security and Nutrition. The evocative title conjured up different images for each speaker, which combine to create a path along this mile:

Step one: use the brain

For a long-distance runner, like Stineke Oenema from the United Nations Standing Committee on Nutrition, “the last mile of a marathon can be the hardest to complete”. The last mile is when the brain must be engaged to mentally, as well as physically, push towards the finish line. Similarly, now is the time to engage the knowledge of scientists, engineers, and experts in order to overcome the final barriers, such as lack of access to a varied diet or improved seeds, which allow food insecurity and malnutrition to persist.

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Credit: Scott Wallace, World Bank

Indeed, in order to create sustainable agricultural growth research is desperately needed, for instance to generate improved varieties of crops. An excellent example of the impact that this can have was delivered by HarvestPlus Country Manager for Rwanda, Joseph Mulambu, who discussed their biofortified high-iron beans. Not only can a portion of the biofortified beans provide half of the daily requirement of iron, but the beans have been shown to be drought resistant, inferring an extra advantage to those who grow them. Using conventional breeding techniques, HarvestPlus scientists have contributed a crop that is nutritious and can reduce iron deficiency while at the same time improves farmer resilience to droughts, which are likely to become more severe and more frequent due to climate change. This is exactly the kind of innovation that helps the finish line come into view. [Read more…]

What we’ve been reading this week

This week’s summary of the news stories, reports, and blogs that have grabbed our attention. We welcome your thoughts and comments on these articles.

Firstly…
Andrew Youn: 3 reasons why we can win the fight against poverty
, TED

Climate Change

Climate-Proofing Agriculture Must Take Centre Stage in African Policy, IPS

Climate-Smart Agriculture in Action, Farming First via Youtube

Food Security

Ivory Coast experts propose “agricultural offensive” to achieve food security, News Ghana

Who will feed the Future? FARA

El Niño is over – but it leaves nearly 100 million people short of food, The Guardian

Ongoing conflicts and droughts exacerbate food needs, FAO

Feeding A Hungry Urban World, Huffington Post

Innovation in agriculture is key to ending extreme hunger – G20 ministers agree, IFAD

Resource use

African women are breaking their backs to get water for their families, The Washington Post [Read more…]

Protecting Africa’s Backbone: transforming agriculture in the face of climate change

By Alice Marks, @alicemarks0

Smallholder farmers in Africa are already aware that the climate is changing. For many, the growing seasons are becoming shorter and more difficult to plan, because of erratic and unpredictable weather including droughts and floods. Often this means that crops fail or yields are lower and livelihoods are impacted with less produce to feed the household, let alone surplus to sell at markets to gain an income. Unfortunately, the climatic conditions are likely to only get worse, with mean temperatures across Africa expected to rise faster than the global average, reaching as high as 3°C to 6°C greater than pre-industrial levels. The pressure on African countries to boost productivity and accelerate growth is now higher than ever and is being further complicated by the potential adverse impacts of climate change and extreme weather events.

In this context the Montpellier Panel  has launched a new briefing paper today – Set for Success: Climate-proofing the Malabo Declaration . The Panel urges African governments to fully recognise the scale of the threat posed by climate change to smallholder farming and to build climate-smart agriculture strategies into their National Agricultural Investments Plans that will help farmers mitigate the risks and adapt to the changing weather conditions. The paper also highlights more than 15 examples of success stories and programmes that have been shown to be impactful and can be scaled-up. Building resilience will be key to achieving the shared agendas of the Malabo Declaration, the 2015 Paris Agreement, and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). To this end, the Montpellier Panel make the following recommendations:

  1. diagramSupporting the Malabo Declaration by building comprehensive information on climate-related stresses and shocks, both nationally and regionally, as well as their impacts on food and nutrition security.
  2. Mainstreaming climate-smart agriculture programmes into the next generation of National Agriculture Investment Plans to ensure a stronger focus on climate change and extreme weather events.
  3. African countries need support, through the African Union, NEPAD, CAADP and regional associations of National Agricultural Research Systems, to develop country investment plans that reflect a stronger, collective voice for Africa in international climate policy processes
  4. Facilitating African governments’ access to climate funds through the Green Climate Fund and other innovative finance mechanisms that will help countries implement climate-smart agriculture programmes.
  5. Improving Africa’s scientific capacity which will guide climate change adaptation and mitigation interventions in agriculture.
  6. Improving training for farmers on sustainable farming techniques, through improved extension services, farmer field schools and utilisation of digital technologies.

[Read more…]

What we’ve been reading this week

This week’s summary of the news stories, reports, and blogs that have grabbed our attention. We welcome your thoughts and comments on these articles.

Global challenges, international action

Meet the man who changed the way the U.S. fights poverty abroad, Grist

G7: Japan, the Ise-Shima Summit, Munk School of Global Affairs

Global Standard to Measure Food Waste Aims to Put More on Plates, New York Times

Reevaluating the agricultural development agenda, The Chicago Council

100 years of global ageing, in one GIF, VOX

European parliament slams G7 food project in Africa, The Guardian

4 everyday things you can do to tackle climate change, World Economic Forum

Purchase for Progress: Growing Sustainable Food Systems, World Food Programme

Seeding labs blog, seeding labs

G7 leaders promise to boost global aid, EurAvtiv

China and Brazil in African Agriculture, Future Agricultures

Climate change and resilience 

Lack of water limits Madagascar’s climate-smart agriculture, Thomson Reuters Foundation

UNEP Frontiers 2016 report: Emerging Issues of Environmental Concern, UNEP Frontiers [Read more…]

Eight TED talks about the environment

In 2013 we brought you our six favourite TEDx talks about food security, which we followed with 9 more in 2014. This time, to celebrate World Environment Day on June 5th we bring you some of our favourite TED talks about climate change, biodiversity and the environment. We’d love for you to share your favourites and to hear your thoughts about our list on twitter using #TEDenvironment and our handle, @Ag4Impact

 

  1. Jonathan Drori: Why we’re storing billions of seeds highlights the importance of biodiversity for supporting life, and looks into the Millennium Seed bank where billions of seeds, including non-food plants, are being stored for posterity.

 

 

2. Cary Fowler: One seed at a time, protecting the future of food takes this idea further, by looking at the Svalbard Global Seed Vault that stores millions of specifically food-crop seeds. Cary describes biodiversity is the ‘raw material’ of agriculture and highlights the importance of storing these seeds for “whatever tomorrow may bring”

 

[Read more…]

What we’ve been reading this week

This week’s summary of the news stories, reports, and blogs that have grabbed our attention. We welcome your thoughts and comments on these articles.

El Niño

El Niño and fighting leave 80 million in food crisis, SciDevNet

El Niño is over, but has left its mark across the world, The Conversation

Extreme weather increasing level of toxins in food, scientists warn, Thomson Reuters Foundation

El Niño is over – but it leaves nearly 100 million people short of food, The Guardian

El Niño and the acceleration of global warming, World Socialist Web Site

Food security and nutrition

Tackling food security with urban agriculture, CABI Plantwise

Making African agriculture achieve its potential, SciDevNet

How to eat your way to better grades, The Conversation

Nutrition surveillance systems: their use and value, Save the Children

Biodiversity Can Help Fill Gap Between Agricultural Production And Nutritional Needs For Healthy Living, Modern Ghana

Environment, climate change and natural resources

African migration may fuel rise in wildfire intensity, SciDevNet

GCF spotlight: Gambia, Green Climate Fund [Read more…]

What we’ve been reading this week

This week’s summary of the news stories, reports, and blogs that have grabbed our attention. We welcome your thoughts and comments on these articles.

Africa Day 2016: focus on stories from Africa

The future of Benin will be shaped by its geography, The World Bank

Make farming a rewarding career for Africa’s youth, SciDevNet

Brexit may provide boost for African agriculture, The National

Tanzania orders drought-hit herders to leave national parks, Thomson Reuters Foundation

African Leaders Push for Increased Nutrition Investments, AllAfrica

Drought-tolerant maize improves yields in 13 countries, SciDevNet

The economics of reducing malnutrition in Sub-Saharan Africa, Global Panel

On this Africa Day, we need to talk about nutrition, Institute for Global Health Innovation

GIZ – Post-Harvest Losses of Rice in Nigeria and their Ecological Footprint, GIZ [Read more…]