“Five interlinked transformations” of the agrifood system are occurring rapidly in Asia and are well along in Latin America and emerging in Africa: (1) urbanization; (2) diet change; (3) agrifood system transformation; (4) rural factor market transformation; (5) intensification of farm technology (the agricultural transformation). These transformations are linked in mutually causal ways in all directions—the transformation is of an integrated system rather than piecemeal, independent changes. This means the overall transformation has the potential to be very rapid and complicated. The new situation is not linear and easily predictable, but there remains the need to act – by both the private and public sectors – in this rapidly changing environment. Having an informed vision of these dynamic interrelationships can sharply improve the potential to act appropriately.
Aim - To describe the patterns and trends in the spread of crop pests and pathogens around the world, and determine the socioeconomic, environmental and biological factors underlying the rate and degree of redistribution of crop-destroying organisms.
Location - Global.
Methods - Current country- and state-level distributions of 1901 pests and pathogens and historical observation dates for 424 species were compared with potential distributions based upon distributions of host crops. The degree of ‘saturation’, i.e. the fraction of the potential distribution occupied, was related to pest type, host range, crop production, climate and socioeconomic variables using linear models.
Results - More than one-tenth of all pests have reached more than half the countries that grow their hosts. If current trends continue, many important crop-producing countries will be fully saturated with pests by the middle of the century. While dispersal increases with host range overall, fungi have the narrowest host range but are the most widely dispersed group. The global dispersal of some pests has been rapid, but pest assemblages remain strongly regionalized and follow the distributions of their hosts. Pest assemblages are significantly correlated with socioeconomics, climate and latitude. Tropical staple crops, with restricted latitudinal ranges, tend to be more saturated with pests and pathogens than temperate staples with broad latitudinal ranges. We list the pests likely to be the most invasive in coming years.
Main conclusions - Despite ongoing dispersal of crop pests and pathogens, the degree of biotic homogenization of the globe remains moderate and regionally constrained, but is growing. Fungal pathogens lead the global invasion of agriculture, despite their more restricted host range. Climate change is likely to influence future distributions. Improved surveillance would reveal greater levels of invasion, particularly in developing countries.
The role of governance has been receiving increasing attention from food security scholars in recent years. However, in spite of the recognition that governance matters, current knowledge of food security governance is rather fragmented. To provide some clarity in the debate about the role of governance in addressing food (in)security, this paper reports the results of a systematic review of the literature. The synthesis revolves around seven recurring themes: i) the view of governance as both a challenge and solution to food security; ii) a governability that is characterized by high degrees of complexity; iii) failures of the current institutional architectures; iv) the arrival of new players at the forefront; v) calls for coherency and coordination across multiple scales; vi) variation and conflict of ideas; and vii) calls for the allocation of sufficient resources and the integration of democratic values in food security governance. Two lines of discussion of this synthesis are raised. First, the researcher argues that a large proportion of the food security governance literature is characterized by an optimist governance perspective, i.e., a view of governance as a problem-solving mechanism. Complementing this body of literature with alternative governance perspectives in future research may strengthen current understandings of food security governance. Approaching food security as a ‘wicked problem’ could provide valuable insights in this respect. Second, food security governance as a research field could make headway by engaging in further empirical investigation of current governance arrangements, particularly at sub-national levels.
Factors related to adoption of new agricultural technologies have been given increasing attention, especially in developing countries where such technologies offer opportunities to increase food production. One of the most immediate ways to improve food production significantly is through the adoption of high yielding varieties of food crops, but rates of adoption are often low, especially among the rural poor. In Timor-Leste, improved varieties of food crops with yield advantages across all agro-ecological zones have been introduced. However, despite yield advantages, suitability and high levels of food insecurity, discontinuance occurs and adoption rates are low. To identify factors related to adoption of the improved varieties across agro-ecological zones, binary logistic regression was performed on data collected from 1511 rural households. The results identified several factors related to adoption and showed that their impact varied across agro-ecological zones. The factor most strongly related to adoption was having a relationship to a grower of an improved variety of food crop and the closeness of this relationship. Furthermore, the following factors were related to adoption with variation across agro-ecological zones: age; education; size of farming plots; travel time between household and farming plot; involvement with the programme developing the improved varieties of food crops and participation in groups and training programmes. Overall, the findings of this study emphasize that dissemination strategies should embrace social relationships and be sensitive to agro-ecological zones.
Achieving food security in the face of climate change is a major challenge for humanity in the 21st century but comprehensive analyses of climate change impacts, including global market feedbacks are still lacking. In the context of uneven impacts of climate change across regions interconnected through trade, climate change impact and adaptation policies in one region need to be assessed in a global framework. Focusing on four Eastern Asian countries and using a global integrated modeling framework we show that i) once imports are considered, the overall climate change impact on the amount of food available could be of opposite sign to the direct domestic impacts and ii) production and trade adjustments following price signals could reduce the spread of climate change impacts on food availability. We then investigated how pressure on the food system in Eastern Asia could be mitigated by a consumer support policy. We found that the costs of adaptation policies to 2050 varied greatly across climate projections. The costs of consumer support policies would also be lower if only implemented in one region but market price leakage could exacerbate pressure on food systems in other regions. We conclude that climate adaptation should no longer be viewed only as a geographically isolated local problem.
Climate change one of the leading risks to food security, says UN Financial Times Climate change has become one of the leading risks to food security, with droughts, floods and hurricanes expected to result in production and price volatility, a...
LOCAL seeds experts are optimistic about government move to allow field trials of genetically engineered maize which has already proved successful in confined laboratory trials at Makutupora in Dodoma region.
A late-winter cold snap in Argentina raised concern about the country's recently sown wheat crop at a time of high world demand and soaring local prices, but local experts said on Monday that the low temperatures have done little or no damage.
Soybean (Glycine max [L.] Merr.) could possibly become a major crop in Africa due to its many uses as a food, feed, and in industry. Also, its ability to undertake symbiotic nitrogen fixation is a great advantage over cereal crops. This study simulated yield potential across west and east Africa. A number of areas were excluded from soybean production because of inadequate early season rains to allow timely sowing of the crop. Among the remaining areas, average yields greater than 200 g m−2 were commonly simulated. Two drought traits were examined as plant modifications to increase yields. These results identified those areas and plant traits in Africa where soybean has the potential to be an important, viable crop.
A primary goal of studying climate change adaptation is to estimate the net impacts of climate change. Many potential changes in agricultural management and technology, including shifts in crop phenology and improved drought and heat tolerance, would help to improve crop productivity but do not necessarily represent true adaptations. Here the importance of retaining a strict definition of adaptation – as an action that reduces negative or enhances positive impacts of climate change – is discussed, as are common ways in which studies misinterpret the adaptation benefits of various changes. These “adaptation illusions” arise from a combination of faulty logic, model errors, and management assumptions that ignore the tendency for farmers to maximize profits for a given technology. More consistent treatment of adaptation is needed to better inform synthetic assessments of climate change impacts, and to more easily identify innovations in agriculture that are truly more effective in future climates than in current or past ones. Of course, some of the best innovations in agriculture in coming decades may have no adaptation benefits, and that makes them no less worthy of attention.
This third annual report from IFPRI is written against the background of the end of the Millenium Development Goals in 2015 and consideration of what should succeed them. It consists of eight chapters, each of which is interspersed with one or more of 17 short features, illustrating a particular relevant point. After the last chapter there is a section headed “Food Policy Indicators: Tracking Change”. References and notes are given by chapter and reserved for the last section.
The State of Food Insecurity in the World 2014 presents updated estimates of undernourishment and progress towards the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) and World Food Summit (WFS) hunger targets. A stock-taking of where we stand on reducing hunger and malnutrition shows that progress in hunger reduction at the global level and in many countries has continued but that substantial additional effort is needed in others.
Sustained political commitment at the highest level is a prerequisite for hunger eradication. It entails placing food security and nutrition at the top of the political agenda and creating an enabling environment for improving food security and nutrition. This year’s report examines the diverse experiences of seven countries, with a specific focus on the enabling environment for food security and nutrition that reflects commitment and capacities across four dimensions: policies, programmes and legal frameworks; mobilization of human and financial resources; coordination mechanisms and partnerships; and evidence-based decision-making.
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Russia, Ukraine and Kazakhstan (RUK) are major players in the international grain markets and their exports help to improve global grain availability and hence food security. However, during the last decade the availability of RUK grain exports was repeatedly diminished by harvest failures and further reduced by the introduction of export restrictions. By simulating a reoccurrence of the 2010 RUK harvest situation this paper assesses the impact of grain harvest failures and subsequent temporary export restrictions (bans, quotas, taxes) on national and international food security, specifically quantifying the effects on agricultural market prices and quantities. For the analysis AGLINK-COSIMO, a recursive-dynamic, partial equilibrium, supply–demand model, has been employed. Simulation results highlight the importance of RUK’s grain production for world markets and global food security, indicating substantial price increases due to limited grain exports from RUK. Moreover, scenario results illustrate that temporary RUK export restrictions can considerably aggravate the situation on world grain markets, with particularly adverse effects for grain net importing countries. At the same time, results show that for a country like Ukraine, i.e. a country usually exporting large shares of its total grain production, the introduction of export restrictions could potentially result in decreases of domestic consumer prices to a level even below a situation with normal weather conditions. The results put international trade policy into focus and underline the necessity of greater cooperation on the part of exporting countries in order to avoid importing countries being denied necessary grain supplies.
Some forms of malnutrition are partly due to agriculture not having nutrient outputs as an explicit goal. A better understanding of what is required from agricultural production and food processing for healthy and sustainable diets is needed. Besides nutritional quality or nutrient output, important factors are: water, soil, health hazards, agrobiodiversity and seasonality. Therefore, possible interactions among constituents of the food chain – human health, the environment, knowledge and education – should be considered from a systemic perspective. Nutrition-sensitive agriculture needs to consider and understand the role of biodiversity in improving dietary quality and dietary diversity as well as seasonality in food supply. Apart from improving agricultural systems in order to close the nutrition gap, efficient storage and food processing technologies to prolong shelf-life are required. If processing is poor, high food losses can cause food insecurity or increase the risk of producing unsafe and unhealthy food. Food storage and processing technologies, particularly at household level, are challenging and often not applicable to traditional crops. In order to achieve the aims of nutrition-sensitive agriculture, it is necessary to comprehend its complexity and the factors that influence it. This will require a trans-disciplinary approach, which will include the three sectors agriculture, nutrition and health at research, extension and political levels. Ensuring that farmers are knowledgeable about production systems, which sustainably provide adequate amounts of nutritious food while conserving the environment is an essential part of nutrition-sensitive agriculture. At the same time, for the benefits of nutrition-sensitive agriculture to be realized, educated consumers are required who understand what constitutes a healthy and sustainable diet.
Higher production key to Jakarta Post Despite priding itself on being an agricultural country, Indonesia regularly suffers severe price inflation in basic food commodities, such as beef, chicken, garlic and soybeans.
Concerns are growing in Russia and Kazakhstan over a shortage of high-quality wheat -- already a major issue for Russia this season -- that could undermine their plans to increase exports, traders and analysts said.
Kenyan farmers and agriculture officials need to prepare for a possible geographic shift in maize production as climate change threatens to make some areas of the country much less productive for cultivation while simultaneously making others more...
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