What we’ve been reading this week

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

Increasing cropping frequency offers opportunity to boost food supply, University of Minnesota

Climate-Smart Pearl Millet Variety May Be a Game Changer for Nutrition, Feed the Future

WTO chief says no chance of global trade deal, USA Today

Iowa in the Amazon, The New York Times

Science’s role in growing diverse, nutritious food, SciDev.Net

What have been the farm-level economic impacts of the global cultivation of GM crops?, Collaboration for Environmental Evidence Library

‘Total inaction’ at UN climate talks, Africa groups charge, Thomson Reuters Foundation

Eating Aliens, Jackson Landers

Crowdsourcing app fights food loss in Africa, University of Twente

Hunger Grains: Are EU policies undermining progress on development?, From Poverty to Power, Duncan Green

How Africa’s natural resources can drive industrial revolution, CNN [Read more…]

What we’ve been reading this week

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

Global map of seeds, food and biodiversity launched, SciDev.Net

CAADP 10 Years Out: How Have Countries Fared in Agricultural Development?, IFPRI

Next generation of biofuels is still years away, CTV News

Empowering people and shaping policies for resilient agriculture and food systems, Wilton Park

Transformation of food systems needed for better nutrition, FAO

Changing the Global Food Narrative, Ensia

No-till farming is on the rise. That’s actually a big deal, The Washington Post

What does ‘big business’ say about Africa when it’s off the record?, From Poverty to Power, Duncan Green

Emissions of CO2 driving rapid oceans ‘acid trip’, BBC

Environmental pressures driven by EU consumption but faced by other countries, EC Science for Environment Policy

An Accidental Cattle Ranch Points the Way in Sustainable Farming, The New York Times

Bringing perennial grain crops to Africa is aim of new Gates Foundation-funded project, Michigan State University

Warsaw climate talks expected to deliver loss and damage mechanism, Thomson Reuters Foundation

 

 

What we’ve been reading this week

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

Rising to the Challenge: Changing Course to Feed the World in 2050, Action Aid

Commentary: And the prize goes to … genetically modified foods, Global Post

No scientific consensus on safety of genetically modified organisms, Phys.org

Biofuel not off the hook for ‘land grabs’, Thomson Reuters Foundation

Commentary – Technological innovation for small-plot farms, Global Food for Thought

Why does climate change adaptation in Africa ignore politics? Great broadside from Matthew Lockwood, From Poverty to Power

Genetically modified crops should be part of Africa’s food future, The Washington Post

Retailers urged to accept more ‘ugly fruit’ to reduce food waste, Farmers Guardian

Seeking sustainable crops, Science on the Land

New Effort Launched to Measure and Monitor Global Food Loss and Waste, UNEP [Read more…]

What we’ve been reading this week

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

Status of development, regulation and adoption of GM agriculture in Africa: Views and positions of stakeholder groups, Adenle, A., Morris, E.J., Parayil, G.

Investing in people and evidence for sustainable farming, SciDev.net

World Food Day: New Ranking Tool to Guide Investment in Biofortified Crops Launched, HarvestPlus

Past environmental pressures affect current biodiversity loss, European Commission

Commentary – Innovation for Sustainable Intensification in Africa, The Chicago Council on Global Affairs

Global Hunger Index Calls for Greater Resilience-Building Efforts to Boost Food and Nutrition Security, IFPRI

Report Finds Major Challenges to Meeting Global Food and Nutrition Needs by 2050, Digital Journal [Read more…]

What we’ve been reading this week

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

Smarter Food: Does big farming mean bad farming?, The Washington Post

Are Engineered Foods Evil?, Scientific American

FAO study profiles benefits of school feeding programmes linked to family farms, FAO

Golden Rice: Lifesaver?, The New York Times

Solutions for Micronutrient Deficiency, Scientific American

Spread of crop pests threatens global food security as Earth warms, University of Exeter

Global food prices continue to drop, FAO

Study estimates cost for new conservation practice, Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture

Farming and knowledge monocultures are misconceived, SciDev.Net [Read more…]

What we’ve been reading this week

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

Rice gene digs deep to triple yields in drought, SciDev.Net

Short-term action needed to meet 2° warming goal – report, Thomason Reuters Foundation

Africa’s agriculture commodity exchanges take root, Forbes

Keeping pace with plant pathogens, National Science Foundation

Genetically modified crops pass benefits to weeds, Nature

Hungry for change, The Age

China gobbling up wheat, as US exports to nation soar, NewsMax

Put a corn cob in your tank, The Wall Street Journal

Pesticide risks need more research and regulation, SciDev.Net

Mali’s fish traders get wise to wetland conservation, Thomson Reuters Foundation

What if Food Labels Served as Warning Signs Instead of Marketing Devices?, Take Part

Paper recommendation: Landscape Sustainability Science, Ideas for Sustainability

 

Food systems for human consumption

ID-10034891Over the next 50 or so years the population is predicted to rise to over 9 billion, an addition of 2 billion people to the planet. Understandably this raises concerns as to how the resources of the planet, not least food, will stretch to meet the growing demand. The Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations estimates food production will need to  increase 70 to 100%  by 2050. In a new paper entitled, Redefining agricultural yields: from tonnes to people nourished per hectare, authors Cassidy et al investigated how our current food production systems could be adapted to feed more people.

Increasingly crops grown are being used to feed livestock and as sources of fuel, uses that can divert food away from the human food chain. Some 36% of the calories produced from crops are used for animal feed of which 12% contributes to human diets, and 4% of human calories are used for biofuel production. The latter proportion has increased four-fold between 2000 and 2010 and looks set to rise further. The study asked the question, how many more people could be fed if crops were only grown for human consumption?

Through mapping the extent, productivity and end use of 41 major agricultural crops, which account for over 90% of total calorie production in the world, the authors were able to identify the gaps between human calorie requirements (taken as 2,700 calories per day) and crop production, now and in the future.

The paper reports significant inefficiencies in the food system. If the current crops being grown were used exclusively for human consumption, our food systems could feed an additional 4 billion people. As the authors state, however, changing the allocation of crops in terms of their end use is only one potential solution but one which when combined with efforts to increase crop yields and to reduce food waste could amount to a substantial solution to the world’s food needs.