The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) is launching its Environment and Natural Resources Management Policy by holding a discussion on scaling up investment in sustainable intensification of agriculture to benefit both poor rural people and the planet. The event, featuring IFAD President Kanayo F. Nwanze and Achim Steiner, Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Programme, will be webcast live on Wednesday, June 1 at 9:30am EST. Join the discussion by posting a comment or question on the webcast page.
In a report commissioned by the Chicago Council on Global Affairs, Charlotte Hebebrand of the International Food and Agricultural Trade Policy Council examines the role of private-sector investment in agriculture and food security activities. The policy paper looks at the current state of affairs and explores opportunities for private-sector engagement that will contribute to agricultural development while at the same time providing benefits to the companies involved.
How did you react to the report? What are your thoughts on the role of transnational corporations in agricultural development?
The Guardian recently reported on a new initiative by the World Resources Institute (WRI) and Indonesian NGO Sekala to utilize already cleared forestland for cultivation. WRI also recently updated the tool at the base of this project, a map that outlines landscapes with high forest restoration potential and opportunities for inclusion in a REDD+ project, and areas that have less potential for restoration but could contribute to agricultural production. The article emphasized the opportunity for this work to better align conservation goals and food security efforts.
A press release at the beginning of this week highlighted results of recent research by Mark Rosegrant of the International Food Policy Research Institute. In a speech given at the Ag Innovation Show, Rosegrant projected that demand for major global grains (i.e., wheat, rice, and maize) will grow 70% between 2000 and 2050. On the supply side, predictions look a little more grim with climate change taken into account. IFPRI’s IMPACT Model, used to develop these predictions, also indicates that increased investment in crop research along with irrigation, girls’ education, rural roads, and safe water will significantly decrease the number of malnourished children in the world.
The Chicago Council on Global Affairs today released its 2011 Progress Report on U.S. Leadership in Global Agricultural Development at the annual symposium of its Global Agricultural Development Initiative.
The project is funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and chaired by Catherine Bertini, former executive director of the U.N. World Food Program, and former U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Dan Glickman.
The report notes significant progress since 2008, saying that the U.S. is “exerting stronger leadership in global agricultural development” even in the face of deep recession and severe budget constraints. Most noteworthy, according to the report, were recent changes within the government to centralize and strengthen agricultural development assistance, including USAID’s increase in agriculture-focused staff and greater interagency collaboration between USAID, USDA and others to deliver more effective agricultural development programming.
The report’s overall grade for US efforts to provide leadership in global agricultural development: B – .
Lowest marks were given to progress on U.S. policies perceived as harmful to agricultural development worldwide.
Live blogging the symposium on his Global Food for Thought Blog, Roger Thurow, former Wall Street Journal correspondent and author of the book Enough: Why the World’s Poorest Starve in an Age of Plenty, notes that “a chance at redemption – and better grades – looms: The renewal of the Farm Bill, set for 2012.”
You can follow and discuss the Symposium on Twitter at #GADISymposium. The Global Agricultural Development Initiative will be tweeting throughout the day @globalagdev.
Meant for the use of planners and policy makers, the USDA’s Food Desert Locator unites data on income levels and proximity to supermarkets or grocery stores. Food deserts are defined as areas in which low-income populations lack easy access to fresh and healthful foods. These deserts have significant impacts on food security and nutrition, particularly for growing youth, but are also a food justice issue, as they hit the poorest, most vulnerable populations hardest. This mapping tool illustrates that food security issues are not restricted to the developing world, but are a very real concern among many communities even within the United States.
Read the USDA press release.
The International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) recently published a follow-up report to their February conference on ‘Leveraging Agriculture for Improving Nutrition and Health.’ The report highlights challenges, possible on-the-ground and policy solutions, and regional case studies. One thing was clear from the three-day conference: stronger linkages between agriculture, health and nutrition policy need to be made with an emphasis on synergies rather than distinctions.
The New York Times recently profiled a resurgence of interest in draft power among some small-scale farmers in the northeastern United States. Factors driving this switch include high fuel costs, degradation of soil health, and a growing desire to reconnect with more traditional agricultural systems.
Think investing in small farmers is the solution to ending hunger and poverty? Bill Gates wants your ideas on why supporting them is good for the world.
Small farmers face a raft of challenges every day to provide for their families. Now it’s your turn. Make a video, create a graphic, tweak a tweet, be creative. Are you up to the challenge?
Scientific American reports on a study published in the journal Science on the impact of climate change on maize, wheat, rice and soybeans. Researcher David Lobell and colleagues project serious declines in yields as temperatures continue to increase and precipitation declines and make the link between rising food prices and this falling productivity. The news piece concludes on a positive note, referencing the wealth of crop genetic resources available and calling for more research into adaptation technologies.