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.

Here’s Why We Haven’t Quite Figured Out How to Feed Billions More People, National Geographic

How Much of World’s Greenhouse-Gas Emissions Come From Agriculture?, The Wall Street Journal

Developing countries blast rich-world farm subsidies at Rome talks, Reuters

Unprecedented Case Filed at International Criminal Court Proposes Land Grabbing in Cambodia as a Crime Against Humanity, Huffington Post

Feeding the world. The ultimate first-world conceit, Triple Crisis

Nobel laureates call for a revolutionary shift in how humans use resources, The Guardian

When Can A Big Storm Or Drought Be Blamed On Climate Change?, NPR

A sign of things to come? Examining four major climate-related disasters, 2010 – 2013, and their impacts on food security, Oxfam

4 problems GMO labeling won’t solve, Grist [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.

Closing the Gap: Towards a 2030 Wasting Target, Generation Nutrition

Making Headway Against Climate Change, Ban-Ki Moon, The Wall Street Journal

Companies take the baton in climate change efforts, The New York Times

GM agricultural technologies for Africa: A state of affairs, IFPRI

Ethiopian Enterprise Partners with New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition, ACDI VOCA

Escalating the weed wars, Los Angeles Times

Fine-tuning plant cells for superior cereal crops, The University of Adelaide

Monsanto to spend $90 mln on corn seed research center in Mexico, Reuters [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 forests illegally destroyed for commercial agriculture, The Guardian

FAO food price index drops to four-year low, FAO

Rise in greenhouse-gas concentrations continues at alarming rate, Nature

How will the new EU team line up on GMOs, TTIP and energy?, Ecologist

Agricultural revolution in Africa could increase global carbon emissions, Purdue University

Demand for agricultural products drives ‘shock’ tree loss in tropical forests, BBC

Women are much more powerful in agriculture than you might think, Thomson Reuters Foundation

Plant diversity in China vital for global food security, University of Birmingham

Amazon deforestation jumps 29%, The Guardian

Report: A new approach to governing GM crops? Lessons from Brazil, Mexico and India, University of Durham

Harmonizing crop trait data: Crop Ontology, Bioversity International

Corporate influence through the G8 New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition in Africa, Wolfgang Obenland

Field trial of Xanthomonas wilt disease-resistant bananas in East Africa, Nature [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.

The Science of Designing Food for the World’s Poor, The Atlantic

Food’s big picture guy, The New York Times

The New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition. A Coup for Corporate Capital, Transnational Justice

EU diplomats agree to 7% biofuels cap, EurActive

Is There Such a Thing As Sustainable Corn?, Modern Farmer

Warrior queens battle for Africa’s food future, This is Africa

Can we develop a ‘stress test’ for national food systems?, Simon Maxwell

A farm is greater than the sum of its parts, CCAFS

Super foods: from the lab to the table, The Guardian

GM crops: No gain for small farmers, SciDev.Net [Read more…]

Agribusiness for Africa

ID-10038867The role of big business in African agriculture often divides opinion. Some seeing it as an opportunity for sustainable economic growth in the sector, some as a new form of colonialism with richer countries exploiting Africa’s food growing conditions and spare land to supply their own countries. Whether a positive development step or a risk to food security, agribusiness on the continent looks set to grow.

Agriculture, particularly the development of agribusiness and agro-industry sectors, has been the driver of economic growth in countries across the globe. In Africa, agribusiness and agro-industries account for more than 30% of national incomes as well as the bulk of export revenues and employment. Given its links to smallholder farming, development of agribusiness could be used to help tackle poverty and hunger in rural communities.

Colonial systems of governance were designed to extract resources from Africa for use elsewhere rather than processing and adding value within the continent. Agribusiness could develop the value addition arm of the agricultural industry and help reduce Africa’s dependence on unprocessed commodities where the bulk of the average retail price is retained by the countries in which the commodity is consumed. The introduction of new players in the agricultural sector could also help diversify sources of growth and exports to reduce reliance on a limited number of export commodities.

Kenya since the 1990s have invested in products, internal systems, and supply chains to supply fresh vegetables to British supermarkets. Considered a success, Kenya’s experience shows that a well-organized industry in a low income country through collaboration between the public and private sectors and the strengthening of links between businesses and educational institutes, can use standards for competitive gain.

The United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO) book, Agribusiness for Africa’s Prosperity, outlines the current status of agribusiness and agro-industrial activities in Africa, and situates them in historical and global context. It analyses the opportunities for diversified growth, and assesses the existing and potential sources of demand growth for agribusiness development in Africa.

With the advent of agribusiness, the whole agricultural sector could benefit through improved infrastructure, access to technology and better functioning markets. Indeed for companies to invest in African agriculture, an enabling business climate must be developed through government and international partnership, action that may enable farmers to capitalise on market opportunities coming from better trade links and growing urban populations. An emerging, productive and modern agricultural sector may also act to engage youth in the agricultural sector (youth unemployment is a growing concern on the continent).

The 2013 World Bank report, Growing Africa. Unlocking the potential of agribusiness, documents the potential of the agribusiness sector in Africa through examples and highlights the important of good policies, a conducive business environment, and strategic support from governments. Agribusiness in general being seen as needed to build global competitiveness and as an opportunity for growth employment and food security. [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.

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.

Global Action on Nutrition, ICRISAT

Can Women Deliver a New Development Agenda in 2015?, New Security Beat

Ending Malnutrition, Jose Graziano Da Silva, Huffington Post

Global hunger: Expert calls for fresh action on child malnutrition, BBC

International community must focus on reducing food loss on farms, Thomson Reuters Foundation

Malnutrition identified as root cause of 3.1 million deaths among children, The Guardian

Biotech crops vs. pests: Successes and failures from the first billion acres (Update), Phys.org

In Pictures: Fighting malnutrition, BBC

In defiance of the New Alliance, World Development Movement

Kenyan MPs to champion rural women’s influence on climate policy, Thomson Reuters Foundation

How do you feed 9 billion people?, Michigan State University

Smallholder Farmers Key to Lifting Over One Billion People Out of Poverty, UNEP

David Cameron talking tough on tax as G8 nears – but what can he deliver?, The Guardian

Land Rush – Why Poverty?, YouTube

Zambeef: A rare meat success in Africa, The Economist

Genetically Modified Crops and Food Security, Qaim and Kouser, PLOS ONE