News

03.06.2009 |

What price more food?

WHAT do a student in New York, a farmer near Mexico City, a family in London and a nurse in Bangkok have in common? Increasing trouble paying their grocery bill. Since 2000, the average price of food around the world has nearly doubled. In the UK, food prices are rising at three times the rate of inflation. In the US, the price of eggs has risen by 40 per cent in the past year alone, while rice in Thailand and tortillas in Mexico have shot up in price, in some places trebling. This year the soaring cost of food has triggered street demonstrations in 30 countries, some of which tipped over into riots.

28.05.2009 |

Family Farmers Demand Real Change

As President-elect Barack Obama confronts the current economic crisis, in the shadows lurks an issue that demands equal attention, despite it's low profile during the campaign: agriculture. As an African-American farmer from Mississippi, I am hopeful that our next president will also recognize we cannot afford business as usual when it comes to the subject of our broken food system.

28.05.2009 |

Rodale Calls for "Organic Green Revolution"

A combination of high energy and food prices as well as a slumping world economy has resulted in an additional 77 million people suffering from malnutrition in 2008, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization.

With that in mind, the Rodale Institute has issued a fresh call for more research into organic food production as a possible solution.

In a report issued last month, entitled “The Organic Green Revolution,” the Kutztown, Pa.-based organization pointed to its own research as well as research done by other organizations in calling for an increased use of organic and “natural” ag practices as a way to increase crop yields and protect the environment while doing it on the same land being used today.

28.05.2009 |

Hope for the New Year - PAN 2008 Highlights

Pesticide Action Network North America produces the weekly PAN Updates Service (PANUPS) to keep hearty activists and thoughtful citizens informed on the latest developments related to health, pesticides and alternatives. We’re pleased that thousands of people rely upon the service – and were heartened by recent feedback. One subscriber wrote, “As we draw near to the end of 2008, I’d like to focus on hope.” We agree.

Below is a quick digest of some of the more hopeful PANUPS stories of the last year.

28.05.2009 |

Why the IAASTD failed

With great promise the international community began a multiyear project designed to evaluate the role of agricultural science and technology with the goal to help reduce hunger, malnutrition and poverty. This International Assessment of Agricultural Science and Technology for Development (IAASTD) brought together people from many different walks of life. The first meeting was held in 2004 with 185 different groups represented. They included 45 governments, 86 NGO/civil societies, 29 co-sponsoring agencies (World Bank, UNESCO, UN-FAO, WHO etc) and representatives from international biotechnology companies.

The mission statement of the IAASTD promised to evaluate the relevance, quality and effectiveness of agricultural knowledge, science and technology (AKST) in reducing hunger, improving sustainability, improving nutrition, health and livelihood of the world rural populations.

The interim report of their findings was recently published [1]. In the four years since the inception of this project, the science of agriculture seems to have taken a backseat to ideology.

28.05.2009 |

The Food Crisis and Gender

Statistics on the most recent global food crisis are well known. In the three years leading up to June 2008, food prices rose 83%. Although declining since, they are still 60% higher than in 2006. There is little prospect of returning to the cheap food regimes that characterized the world prior to 2005 anytime in the foreseeable future. So far, the food crisis has pushed an estimated 75 million people into chronic hunger since 2005.

Women and children, particularly girls, have been hardest hit by the food crisis. In part, this disproportionate impact is because women in poor rural communities have less access to resources, transportation, and communication networks. Any effective resolution to the food crisis — and to reinforce food security more generally — must incorporate an understanding of this differential impact on gender roles.

28.05.2009 |

Traditional Agricultural Methods No Longer Useful

Traditional agricultural methods are no longer useful for Jordan and other countries of the region, and new technologies and policies are needed to feed their increasing populations, according to an international report discussed in Amman on Wednesday.

"Business as usual is no more an option," according to the International Assessment of Agricultural Science and Technology for Development (IAASTD) report, which was initiated and approved by 59 countries in Johannesburg, South Africa, in April.

28.05.2009 |

Tackling the global food challenge

World food security, as Australian consumers and others are fast discovering, is at its lowest in half a century. The precipitous fall in world food stocks in the past seven years is forewarning of what we can expect in the next few decades as civilisation runs low on water, arable land, nutrients and technology, as marine catches collapse, as biofuels grow and energy costs rise, and as droughts intensify under climate change.

28.05.2009 |

More Aid for African Agriculture

After decades of decline, aid to African agriculture is back on the international policy agenda in the context of climate change, the current food and energy price crises and the consequent demands for hundreds of billions of dollars in new investment in agriculture.

28.05.2009 |

Organic agriculture for food security in Africa

The third African Green Revolution Conference took place in Oslo on 28 - 29 August 2008. High level representatives of banks and industry, most of them engaged in seeds and chemical fertilizers, were meeting to discuss action for an African Green Revolution. While IFOAM was welcoming the attention for the agricultural situation in Africa, it expressed its deep concern about the direction the talks in Oslo were taking: back to the past instead of looking at the future, neglecting recent scientific and societal findings. Moses Kiggundu Muwanga, IFOAM world board member and coordinator of the National Organic Agricultural Movement of Uganda (NOGAMU), said that: the global food crisis had inter-linkages with other man-made crises and that one should search for solutions that responded to them systemically.

Donors

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