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.

Technology and innovation

Guest Commentary: Technology Can Feed the World, The Chicago Council

What mobile tech innovation offers food security, Devex

Africa gets new centre for agricultural innovation, SciDevNet

Mapping for food safety, iied

How the Fourth Industrial Revolution Can Radically Improve Our Food Supply Chain, HuffPost

The digital revolution in agriculture: Progress and constraints, IFPRI

Policy Brief: Small-scale farmer innovation, QUNO

How digital is solving 3 problems in agriculture, Zero Hunger Challenge

Nutrition, Food Security, and Waste 

Stink bug could boost health and nutrition in Africa, SciDevNet [Read more…]

5 New Year’s resolutions to help the planet in 2016

ID-100383599Making small changes can have a big impact so this January do away with impossible-to-keep resolutions and do something that can make the planet greener, help local or distant communities and save you money. Make the change for over 66 days and, according to Lally et al (2010), it could become a new habit.

  1. Help tackle climate change

World leaders agreed the Paris Climate Deal in December, but tackling climate change will take all our efforts, not just politicians and big business. The transport sector in the EU is responsible for about one fifth of greenhouse gas emissions so help reduce this by taking public transport, combining trips and flying less (somewhat easier now with the rise of video/conference calls). The energy sector is responsible for almost 30% of emissions and so being more energy efficient is an important goal across industry and society. Learn how to make your home greener, reduce your carbon footprint and household bills with this infographic.

  1. Fight poverty in your community

While significantly more people are in extreme poverty in developing countries it can be difficult, as an individual, to know how to go about helping people often far away. Poverty is global, however, and can be found in most communities in the world. In the UK, for example, one in five people are thought to live below the official poverty line, despite being the world’s sixth largest economy. There are various ways in which we can tackle poverty in our own communities for example by donating food, clothing and other items, by volunteering in shelters, community centres and after-school programmes. You can find out more about volunteering here and here, and donating here, here and here. Or you can become more involved and join a campaign action group such as with RESULTS or find a local group at Global Justice Now. The Borgen Project list ten ways we can all begin to fight global poverty on their blog.

  1. See the world from a new perspective

Educating ourselves on the challenges the world faces can be both enlightening and motivating. Opening ourselves up to new opinions, discussions and perspectives can also help us figure out the solutions. Here are some educational and inspiring TED talks from the past year.

Gary Haugen: The hidden reason for poverty the world needs to address now.

Mia Birdsong: The story we tell about poverty isn’t true.

Pamela Ronald: The case for engineering our food.

Adam Smith: Let’s really feed the world.

Chloe Rutzerveld: 3D printed food: the future of healthy eating. [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.

Chicago Council’s Grow Markets, Fight Hunger Report Featured, Global Food for Thought

FAO food price index drops again in March driven by sugar’s sharp slide, FAO

Deforestation is messing with our weather — and our food, EurekAlert

Agriculture and Agrometeorological Services, PAEPARD

Yesterday’s bread against food waste, Plantwise

“Why Wait Until the Next Food Crisis?” Improving Food Reserves Strategies in East Africa, ACORD

Why we should be worried by the World Bank shoveling $36bn to ‘financial intermediaries’, From Poverty to Power

Feeding the World – Without GMOs, EWG

We’re treating soil like dirt. It’s a fatal mistake, as our lives depend on it, The Guardian [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.

WHO to basically everybody: Stop eating so much sugar, The Washington Post

Five Lessons from the Frontlines of Africa’s Green Revolution, Ventures

Grow Markets, Fight Hunger: A Food Security Framework for US-Africa Trade Relations, Chicago Council on Global Affairs

EU State of the Environment Report, European Environment Agency

Ugandan farmers take on palm oil giants over land grab claims, The Guardian

Better genes for better (more adaptable) beans, EurekAlert

How to reduce losses on the way to the market, Daily Monitor

Climate change and compassion: the missing link?, Thomson Reuters Foundation

Can Public-Private Partnerships Actually Benefit the Poor?, PAEPARD [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.

Tropical forest losses outpace UN estimates, Nature

Ten things the G7 needs to hear on Hunger, Welthungerhilfe

Food Waste Is Becoming Serious Economic and Environmental Issue, Report Says, The New York Times

Bill Gates: Can GMOs end hunger in Africa?, The Verge

A Modest Proposal for Feeding Africa, Huffington Post

Food security in Africa needs a tailored approach, suggests new research, EurekAlert

Beans could help fill Africa’s fertiliser gap, SciDev.Net

Healthy Food for a Healthy World: Wasted Food, Wasted Nutrients, Global Food for Thought [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.

Africa Conference on Land Grabs 2014, PAEPARD

A Meta-Analysis of the Impacts of Genetically Modified Crops, PLOS One

Climate change a “threat multiplier” for farming-dependent states-analysis, Thomson Reuters Foundation

10 billion people for dinner | Nina Fedoroff | TEDxCERN, YouTube

Biotechnology: Against the grain, Nature

Climate smart, sustainable agriculture, AgriPulse

Thirty percent of world’s food wasted, new online platform seeks savings, Thomson Reuters Foundation

How To Eat For The Climate, Forbes

mNutrition – how mobile phones are improving nutrition, The Guardian

South Africa: Five Diseases, One Vaccine – a Boost for Emerging Livestock Farmers in Sub-Saharan Africa, All Africa

New project to boost yam production in West Africa, IITA

IPCC preparing ‘most important’ document on climate change, BBC

Resilience for food and nutrition security, IFPRI [Read more…]

7 short videos on big ideas for improving water use in agriculture

ID-10038665Last week was World Water Week, an annual gathering, starting in 1991, to focus on the globe’s water issues. This year’s event, hosted and organised by the Stockholm International Water Institute (SIWI), had the theme water and energy. One of the main outcomes of the events was a plea to the energy and agricultural industry to reduce waste and improve water use efficiencies ahead of UN climate talks taking place in Lima, Peru in December and in Paris next year. In particular World Water Week focused on the critical role of water in climate change, in human health and in energy and food production – the majority of the world’s freshwater withdrawals going to power and food production, and manufacturing in Brazil, Russia, India, Indonesia, China and South Africa. The agricultural sector will be key, therefore, in addressing future water resource scarcities.

A commonly cited statistic is that we will need to produce at least 70% more food to feed the global population by 2050. Such an endeavour will require a doubling of water efficiencies and significant efforts to protect water resources under climate change. Demand for fresh water is projected to grow 55% from 2000 to 2050. Alongside the need to increase production is the need to reduce food waste with around a third of food, and the water used in producing this food, thought to be wasted. In the 2013 FAO report, Food Wastage Footprint: Impacts on Natural Resources the impacts of global food wastage on the climate, water, land use, and biodiversity were explored. Torgny Holmgren, SIWI’s executive director claimed that “Reducing the waste of food is the smartest and most direct route to relieve pressure on water and land resources,”

World Water Week began with industry executives and scientists discussing how to reduce food waste and use water more efficiently in agriculture. And while many companies and individuals are taking up this challenge – the Stockholm Industry Water Award was given to PepsiCo Inc. for reducing water consumption in production and increasing water efficiency, saving almost 16 billion litres of water in 2013 from a 2006 baseline – much more needs to be done.

To highlight some of the challenges and solutions to reducing water use in farming we’ve put together some of our favourite videos on water and agriculture.

World Water Week 2014: Energy and Water

The World Water Week, held August 31 – September 5 in Stockholm, is the leading annual global event for addressing the planet’s water and development issues. Hosted by the Stockholm International Water Institute, the event attracts thousands of participants from over 130 countries. This year’s theme: Water and Energy will address some of the most urgent challenges facing our world. Global demand for energy as well as water is booming. Demand for both is projected to increase by over 50 per cent during the coming decades. This narrated piece describes the week, and this year’s theme, in more detail.

Water use on an African farm – Send a Cow

This video follows Eric in Uganda to find out how he uses water on his family farm. They need 15 jerry cans of 20 litres each every day for the home, farm animals and vegetable gardens. But it’s a one mile walk to the borehole. The family does it’s best to harvest rainwater from the roof and save water by composting, mulching and using water saving technologies like a Tip-Tap and water bottle drip irrigation.

Managing water wisely on African farms – Green Shoots

Water is precious. Using water wisely on farm is essential, believes Benson Njoroge from Kenya. In this film he explains how and why managing water wisely matters. This film, one of eleven, is being used to share good agricultural practice in Africa.

How water data can help farmers in the Upper Volta – ThinkBeyondTheTap

Fred Kitzo, based in IWMI’s Ghana office, researches the water resource challenges facing agriculture in the Upper Volta region. Water data is vital, he says, to help farmers and policy makers make more sustainable resource management decisions. [Read more…]