What we’ve been reading this week

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

Davos 2013: new vision for agriculture is old news for farmers, The Guardian

Investors wary of going back to the land, Financial Times

USAID, DuPont work with Government of Ethiopia to improve food security, US Agency for International Development

Bill Gates: My plan to fix the world’s biggest problems, Wall Street Journal

Water-stressed Kenyans learn to share to keep the peace, AlertNet

Anti-hunger campaign ‘If’ launches with call for G8 to act, The Guardian

Climate Conversations – Chickpea genome map to benefit poor farmers, AlertNet

Agriculture ‘still the best bet’ in cutting African poverty levels, Africa Review

Support smallholder farmers to achieve food security, Government of Ghana

Resolving the food crisis: The need for decisive action, Aljazeera

Bill Gates reviews One Billion Hungry

“I found [Gordon Conway’s] new book, One Billion Hungry, an interesting read and a clear roadmap for what we need to do to increase agricultural productivity and eliminate hunger in the world.”

Bill Gates, of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation in his blog, The Gates Notes, recently reviewed Gordon Conway’s book, One Billion Hungry: Can We Feed the World.  A direct quote, “If there’s one book I’d recommend reading to get the definitive story about the state of agriculture today and what we need to focus on to increase productivity and eliminate hunger, it would be One Billion Hungry”, illustrates what Gordon was trying to achieve: a compendium of the solutions to tackling global food insecurity.  Bill Gates also stated, “For people who want to learn about the connection between agriculture and world hunger, this book may be the best broad overview of how our modern food production system is tied to agricultural practices. It’s also very readable.” Gordon Conway is a self-proclaimed optimist acknowledging the challenges we face but confronting them with solutions, but is surpassed by Bill Gates’ optimism. “In some ways, I’m more optimistic than Conway that science-driven advances can strengthen our food security.” That global thought and action leaders on international development, such as Bill Gates, are equally if not more optimistic about future progress in combating hunger is surely proof that this optimism is grounded in real evidence of change. To read his full review click here. Bill Gates also places Gordon’s book on his list of top reads for 2012.

Other reviews of the book include:

Fred Pierce for New Scientist: “If you wanted someone to come up with a grand plan to feed the world, you might be hard pressed to find a person with better credentials than Gordon Conway.”

Peter Timmer for the Wilson Quarterly: “Conway, a professor of international development at Imperial College, London…, is perhaps the most knowledgeable and distinguished agroecologist of his generation, and in One Billion Hungry he does not mince his words.”

In the New Agriculturist: “Optimism is a commendable sentiment but policymakers need more rigorous encouragement to act on the priorities outlined by Professor Conway.”

In Nature: “He ploughs through the crises, discusses methods, delves into the role of farmers as innovators, and faces up to environmental challenges. An impressive marshalling of case studies, new research and long experience from an expert in the field.”

We’d love to hear your reviews of Gordon’s book too.

What we’ve been reading this week

Every week we summarise the news stories and blogs that have grabbed our attention. We welcome your thoughts and comments on these articles.

Bill gates reviews One Billion Hungry: Can We Feed the World, The Gates Notes

How to manage post-harvest loss, The Guardian Farming and Food Security Hub

A vaccine to boost global food production, Israel 21c

Africa: underestimating GDP, Financial Times, beyondbrics

EU Parliament agrees CAP reform ‘compromises’, Farmers Guardian

Food and petrol prices keep inflation unchanged at 2.7%, The Guardian

Soil determines fate of phosphorous, Brown University

Recent patterns of crop yield growth and stagnation, Nature communications

Betting on Hunger: Is Financial Speculation to Blame for High Food Prices?, Time

Joyce Banda: ‘I want Malawians to say our country became a better place’, The Guardian

“Peak farmland” is here, crop area to diminish: study, Reuters

A global agricultural boom for Brazil, The Washington Post