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.

Aid to Africa: private sector investment becomes new priority, The Guardian

Africa & agriculture infographic, B4FA

Learning from AGRA’s Market Access Programme, PAEPARD

Has Africa’s focus on farming borne fruit?, The Guardian

What do we know about food riots and their link to food rights? Some interesting new findings from IDS, Duncan Green, Oxfam

Rice Seed Treatments Effective, Worth Investment: Study, Science Daily

Ugandans and pork: A story that needs telling, ILRI

Change in grain policy signals China’s intent to boost meat production, IATP

Kellogg to Stop Buying Deforested Palm Oil Amid Pressure, Bloomberg Businessweek

B4FA travels to AAAS Chicago with all-African panel of speakers, B4FA

GM foods and application of the precautionary principle in Europe, UK Parliament

G8 New Alliance condemned as new wave of colonialism in Africa, The Guardian

2014: Africa at last?, The Hill

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.

African agriculture needs trade not aid, SciDev.Net

World’s first global Meat Atlas – facts and figures about what we eat, Friends of the Earth

World food prices stay high, but steady, FAO

‘Sugar is the new tobacco’: Cuts to amounts hidden in food could halt obesity epidemic, claim doctors, The Independent

Women Farmers in Chile to Teach the Region Agroecology, IPS

Big Beef, Washington Monthly

The Future of Agriculture Requires Dialogue, Huffington Post

Storming the ivory towers: Time for scientists to get out, ‘get social’, to learn better, faster–Nature commentary, ILRI

Drought tolerant maize varieties ready, The East African

A new horizon for African-European research links, Sci Dev.Net

A Lonely Quest for Facts on Genetically Modified Crops, The New York Times

14 Food Resolutions to Bring in the New Year, Huffington Post

Food security: an urban issue, The Guardian

Global farm research consortium doubles funding to $1 billion, Thomson Reuters Foundation

Big Ag’s Gifts for 2013, Huffington Post

Exclusive: Make food and drink corporations ‘account for water usage’, says scientist, The Independent

 

Soil biodiversity and ecosystem function

SoilIt has long been recognised that organisms living in the soil are important for making nitrogen available to plants and for storing carbon in the soil but a new paper in PNAS by de Vries et al, Soil food web properties explain ecosystem services across European land use systems, investigated the impact of communities of soil organisms on the overall functioning of ecosystems.

The study is the largest of its kind, involving researchers from across Europe, and is the first time whole communities of soil organisms have been investigated. Spanning 60 sites across 4 countries and three types of land uses (intensive wheat rotations, extensive rotation and permanent grassland), the study marks a significant piece of evidence for the importance of soil biodiversity.

Researchers found a strong link between soil biodiversity and the performance of ecosystems, in particular on carbon and nitrogen cycling. Indeed soil biodiversity was a greater predictor of C and N cycling than land use. Intensive wheat rotation was found to reduce soil biodiversity across the food web in all countries. The authors hope that this and other research will lead to the development of sound land management practices that support soil biodiversity, in turn increasing the productivity of land while mitigating climate change.

The study concludes that we require more research into soil food webs and in particularly how they might alter in response to changes in land use and climate change. Soil biodiversity is understudied, perhaps because of its scope, but it is under increasing threat from, for example, urbanisation, climate change, pollution and agriculture. Mapping and conserving soil biodiversity is urgently needed if we are to include their roles in C and N cycling models, which will in turn help us to better understand the likely impacts of climate change.

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.

Improving Crop Yields in a World of Extreme Weather Events, University of California, Riverside

Maps reveal ‘hidden hunger’ that stifles development, SciDev.Net

Africa can follow Brazil’s lead in battle to eradicate hunger, says Lula, The Guardian

 Investing in smallholder agriculture for food security, The High Level Panel of Experts of Food Security and Nutrition

FACT SHEET: Food Security in Sub-Saharan Africa, The White House

Women’s Empowerment in Kenya, A Global Village

World hunger reduction: Missed goals and incomplete strategies, Policy Pennings

U.S. Approves a Label for Meat From Animals Fed a Diet Free of Gene-Modified Products, The New York Times

Europe should rethink its stance on GM crops, Nature

GM crops won’t help African farmers, The Guardian

The True Deservers of a Food Prize, The New York Times

First Ever Report on Global School Feeding Launched in US, Home Grown School Feeding

Non-GM farming in Europe ‘outperforms’ GM farming in US, Public Service Europe

Food Security Strategy Group, The Aspen Institute

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.

Food Security To Be At Centre Of Africa Development Agenda, World Food Programme

Vilsack Outlines Vision for Agricultural Solutions to Environmental Challenges, USDA

Nigeria, Brazil Partner On Food Production, Agricultural Technology Transfer, Ventures

Chart of the week: Africa’s growth / human development lag, Financial Times

Cutting Food Loss and Waste will Benefit People and the Environment, Says New Study on World Environment Day, UNEP

A Plea for Agricultural Innovation, Calestous Juma, Belfer Center

Bill Gates visits ICRISAT, ICRISAT

Population growth erodes sustainable energy gains – UN report, Thomson Reuters Foundation

Agricultural Productivity Will Rise to the Challenge, IEEE Spectrum

Chocolate Makers Fight for Farmers’ Loyalty, The Wall Street Journal

In Europe, Monsanto Backing Away From GMO Crops, The Huffington Post

Can market solutions unlock Africa’s agricultural potential?, Thomson Reuters Foundation

How We Can Eat Our Landscapes, Thinking Country

UN panel calls for end to extreme poverty by 2030 in roadmap for world’s top challenges, The Washington Post

Good news from the front lines of hunger, Ertharin Cousins

Commentary – Hay Festival 2013: Roger Thurow looks at the effects of famine, Global Food for Thought

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.

New Report Urges a U.S. Global Food Security Focus on Science, Trade and Business, The Chicago Council on Global Affairs

Pesticides Make a Comeback, The Wall Street Journal

The biodiversity challenge in Europe, Thinking Country

Q+A: Committee on World Food Security chair urges use of forest foods in diets, Thomson Reuters Foundation

Ghana hosts 6th Africa Agriculture Science Week, Joy Online

Trees on farms: challenging conventional agricultural practice, The Guardian

Disasters displaced over 32 mln people in 2012, rising trend forecast, Thomson Reuters Foundation

Feature: Curbing hunger, Ghana must go biotech, Ghana Business News

G8 under pressure to rethink biofuel mandates, EurActiv.com

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.

After 2015 – Toward zero hunger and sustainable food production? SIANI

Science and NGO practice are closer than they appear, SciDev.Net

Sustainable Intensification: Getting the Most from the Land, Agri-Pulse

Scientists Unite to Share Ag Data and Feed the World, USDA

DNA double helix: discovery that led to 60 years of biological revolution, The Guardian

Genebank Standards for Plant Genetic Resources, FAO

Incremental change is not enough – climate, business experts, Thomson Reuters Foundation

Europe’s other debt crisis caused by the long legacy of future extinctions, PNAS

New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition: Part 2, ONE [Read more…]