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Crop Diversification in Malawi

Crop Diversification in Malawi | AP Human GeographyNRHS | Scoop.it

"The tiny black-eyed pea is about to wage battle in Malawi.  The small country in southeast Africa is the site of a project to help with food security, nutrition and income.  Western University researchers are among those who will work with 30,000 farmers to help diversify crops into protein-rich legumes, such as the black-eyed pea, a popular type of cow pea in Malawi."


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Seth Dixon's curator insight, March 14, 2013 3:17 PM

Tags: food, agriculture, Africa, Malawi, unit 5 agriculture.

Lauren Jacquez's curator insight, March 14, 2013 3:48 PM

Review for you!

Seth Dixon's comment, March 15, 2013 8:44 PM
A good friend of mine is currently working for USAID in Malawi. This is what he had to say: I think crop diversification is really important here in Malawi. Most farmers have a heavy reliance on maize,which results in reduced hunger but there continues to be persistent malnutrition among children as their diets consist of mostly maize.Almost everyone here grows maize, you might be a school teacher or a health worker, but you are also most likely growing maize as well. Farmers are very risk averse here, so introducing a new crop takes time, finding the few willing to experiment and then using them to show their neighbors of the benefits. Other organizations are working on crop diversification here in Malawi, the US government, Catholic Relief Services, and other international development partners. Although not spelled out in the article, the majority of farmers are actually women, and agricultural production is typically for household subsistence with minimal cash cropping. As crop diversification increases, cash crops will provide more resources for families to pay for education and health for their families, but probably more importantly families will start diversifying their nutritional intake beyond maize. In a country where 42% of under 5 children are stunted, this will be a positive development. My wife was just out in the South of the country with CRS and was seeing some of the work that they are doing towards crop diversification as a result of USAID funding. She was really impressed to see how different vulnerable groups have been targeted by similar programs. She was able to see changes in rural villages in very insecure food zones. She saw how those lead farmers, willing to adopt new techniques or diversify crops, plant cash crops, etc, are reaping the benefits. Their neighbors are seeing it in action and are now adopting the techniques. It is not an immediate adoption, you have to give it time. These people are very risk averse, when set backs aren't just an inconvenience, but translate into starvation, it is understandable why it takes time. It also makes it more impressive when you find those willing to take the risks and try to set aside some land for a new crop. I am sure my agricultural colleagues would have more sophisticated answers but just some of my personal thoughts/observations."
Rescooped by Karen Moles Rose from Geography Education
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In A Grain Of Golden Rice, A World Of Controversy Over GMO Foods

In A Grain Of Golden Rice, A World Of Controversy Over GMO Foods | AP Human GeographyNRHS | Scoop.it
A rice enriched with beta-carotene promises to boost the health of poor children around the world. But critics say golden rice is also a clever PR move for a biotech industry driven by profits, not humanitarianism.

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Liam Michelsohn's curator insight, December 4, 2013 3:07 PM

I thought this NPR broadcast was a great out of class referece to listen too.  As it explaine all the work and research that was being done with GMOs, it also exposed them for there flaws and what the real motives behind them are. While this ex source of rice with extra vitman A will deffenitly provid more nutitonal value then regular rice, it also provides higher profit margins for the bioengneer compaines that make it. So its almost hard to say weather GMOs are a bad or good thing beacuse they do have benifts, but one thing is clear there not just being made to help the poor, there being made for big profit possibilities.

Shane C Cook's curator insight, May 27, 2015 4:52 AM

Alright this is a reason GMF's can be used for good. Asian children do not get enough vitamin a. "When children are weaned, they're often weaned on a rice gruel. And if they don't get any beta-carotene or vitamin A during that period, they can be harmed for the rest of their lives,".

BrianCaldwell7's curator insight, March 16, 2016 3:58 PM

This is a great podcast that emphasizes various geographic themes including agriculture, development and economics.  This new genetically-modified rice was designed to provide vitamin A (something no natural rice provides) to impoverished diets.  Skeptics point out that the history of the industry shows that the goal is to enrich a select number of corporations while some are hailing this as a major advancement that will benefit the poor.  Where people side on this is often ideological, so those that are firmly against genetically modified foods find the flaw in the plan and vice versa.  What do you think?  How might this change food production and consumption worldwide and at a local scale?  

Tags: GMOs, development, NGOs, Food, agriculture, agribusiness, unit 5 agriculture.