Food Policy
5.3K views | +1 today
Follow
 
Scooped by Alexander J. Stein
onto Food Policy
Scoop.it!

Amazon ecology: Footprints in the forest - Nature (2013)

Amazon ecology: Footprints in the forest - Nature (2013) | Food Policy | Scoop.it

Researchers are tracking just how much impact ancient peoples had on the Amazon. 


Crystal McMichael first led a crew into the Amazon jungle in 2007, looking for signs of ancient human disturbances. Armed with machetes, they hacked their way through thick vegetation while fending off spiders, mosquitoes and bees. They were exploring around Ecuador's Lake Ayauchi, which McMichael knew held the earliest record of maize (corn) cultivation in the Amazon from around 6,000 years ago. But the jungle hid its secrets well. “If you looked at the forest you wouldn't realize there was any ancient disturbance... You have to dig.”

 

Scientists have struggled for decades to uncover humanity's historical footprint in the forest and determine what kind of an impact people had centuries to millennia ago. Their goal is to understand the evolution of the rainforest and just how much of the landscape we see today is 'natural' versus how much has been shaped by human hands. 

 

Studies dating back to the 1950s suggested that small indigenous tribes merely scratched out a living in primitive villages before the arrival of Europeans. But more recently, researchers have proposed that the Amazon hosted complex societies that turned swathes of the forest into farms and orchards. Some estimates place the prehistoric population of the Amazon as high as 10 million — a huge number considering that the current population is around 30 million.

 

The debate is heated. When McMichael and her colleagues reported last year that indigenous occupations might have been rare in the most-remote parts of the jungle, their paper outraged archaeologists. The topic evokes strong emotions in part because it touches on the sensitive issue of indigenous land claims and goes to the heart of conservation philosophy.


If prehistoric human populations were limited and today's Amazon is relatively pristine, then one might assume that this otherwise stable and natural ecosystem would be altered by any human disturbance — let alone the clearance of vast tracts of forest for agriculture (in Brazil alone, an area greater than Germany has been cleared over the past 25 years). By contrast, if the primeval Amazon was filled with people who managed the landscape, then the forest might be capable of absorbing further human impacts. Encouraging indigenous practices, even on a large scale, might allow people to live in balance with the rainforest.

 

“The people who refuse to accept the human role are never going to understand how the environment that we appreciate today came to be,” says anthropologist Clark Erickson of the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, who believes that people were widespread throughout the Amazon. “And if you don't understand that, you will never know how to manage it.” ... 

 

http://www.nature.com/news/amazon-ecology-footprints-in-the-forest-1.13902

 
Alexander J. Stein's insight:

Again the question what is natural? ... 

more...
No comment yet.
Food Policy
Scoops relating to international food policy and development issues (not necessarily endorsements). CLICK on the titles to get to the full, original, and possibly hyperlinked versions!
Your new post is loading...
Your new post is loading...
Scooped by Alexander J. Stein
Scoop.it!

Rethinking the Measurement of Undernutrition in a Broader Health Context: Should We Look at Possible Causes or Actual Effects? - Stein (2014) - Global Food Security

Rethinking the Measurement of Undernutrition in a Broader Health Context: Should We Look at Possible Causes or Actual Effects? - Stein (2014) - Global Food Security | Food Policy | Scoop.it

When measuring food and nutrition security, focusing on proxy indicators such as food availability, or on selected head count figures such as stunting rates, gives an incomplete picture. Outcome-based global burden of disease (GBD) studies offer an alternative for monitoring the burden of chronic and hidden hunger. Judging by this measure, the international goal of halving global hunger between 1990 and 2015 has already been achieved.

 

Disability-adjusted life years (DALYs) that are used as metric in GBD studies can be converted into more easily understood monetary terms. The resulting estimate of the annual cost of global hunger of up to 1.9 trillion international dollars may be better suited to illustrate the magnitude of the remaining problem...

 

It is pertinent to recall why we are concerned about hunger and malnutrition: because of the negative consequences it has for people’s health and well-being. Food and nutrition insecurity is usually defined in terms of what determines hunger... However, to measure hunger... the outcome of food and nutrition insecurity, i.e. the burden of disease that is caused by hunger, should be used...

 

One challenge when trying to measure health outcomes of undernutrition is the multitude of adverse health consequences that can be attributed to hunger, in particular to micronutrient deficiencies... Therefore the question is whether health can be measured in a consistent way across such diverse outcomes. To make the burden imposed by different health outcomes comparable... the World Bank introduced the concept of disability-adjusted life years (DALYs)...

 

The WHO used DALYs to quantify the global burden of disease (GBD), for which it reported results at the country level and for a range of health outcomes. Based on these readily available data, DALYs can be used to quantify the global burden of hunger... A more recent GBD study... represents an improvement since it covers more causes and risk factors of poor nutrition... per year more than 160 million DALYs are lost due to hunger, which is more than 6 percent of the total burden of disease...

 

While... using DALYs to measure hunger is a better approach... one challenge for the use of DALYs is their abstractness: what exactly is a “disability-adjusted life year”? ... One way of illustrating the magnitude of the burden of hunger is to express it in money... While there are obvious problems with the monetization of social costs... it offers a coherent framework that permits conducting the kind of broad analyses and comparisons that are needed to guide policy making...

 

Using this approach produces an estimate for the global cost of hunger of Int$1.9 trillion per year, or 2.4 percent of world income. One indication that the global cost of hunger falls indeed into the trillion-dollar range is the estimate for the worldwide cost of undernutrition of US$1.4 trillion to US$2.1 trillion that the FAO gives... using a very different approach...

 

The “cost” of hunger is an opportunity cost, i.e. it provides an estimate for the additional annual national income that society foregoes by not solving undernutrition... One estimate of the costs that would have to be incurred to reach more than 80 percent of the world’s undernourished children with key nutrition interventions suggests this could be as (relatively) little as $10 billion a year, i.e. only one-hundredth of the current cost of hunger...

 

It is interesting to compare the estimate of the number of hungry people with that of the number of DALYs lost due to hunger over time. Judging by the FAO’s indicator, the achievement of MDG 1 is not very likely. However, if the objective was indeed more generally to “reduce hunger by half”, this has already been achieved – if hunger is measured using DALYs... in 1990 the burden of hunger was 320 million DALYs lost, but by 2010 this burden had already shrunk by half to 160 million DALYs lost...

 

The discrepancy in the assessment of the development of global hunger if based on food availability versus actual health outcomes might be surprising, but as... discussed above, food availability is but one determinant of (or input into) hunger, whereas DALYs measure the outcome of hunger that results from all inputs combined. In this case – in the presence of other, uncorrelated inputs into hunger that change over time – an indicator that monitors only one input is bound to show a different development than an indicator that measures the final outcome...

 

Not least in light of the discussion of the post-2015 development agenda... it is important that agreed-upon targets can be operationalized based on indicators that allow precise monitoring of progress… Stakeholders in food and nutrition security need to be aware of the advantages of outcome-based measures like DALYs... those working on GBD studies should pay more attention to undernutrition and to related health risks, and more frequent updates of the GBD or relevant subsets could further increase the usefulness of DALYs...

 

Using DALYs to quantify the burden of hunger has shown that the international efforts to improve global welfare are bearing fruit and that progress in the fight against undernutrition has been more rapid than is generally believed. Still, the problem of global hunger remains unresolved, and its magnitude becomes especially apparent when approximated in more familiar monetary terms. With more detailed, country-level DALYs data becoming available, further research can determine in which countries and for which nutrition-related health outcomes the biggest reductions in the burden of hunger have been achieved – and it can help explain why...

 

Original article: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.gfs.2014.09.003

 

Audio-slides, 4 min.: http://audioslides.elsevier.com/ViewerSmall.aspx?doi=10.1016/j.gfs.2014.09.003

 

more...
Neohouse's comment, July 27, 6:04 AM
Woa bài viết rấy hay . Mong nhận được nhiều bài viết từ bạn
Scooped by Alexander J. Stein
Scoop.it!

The FBI’s Hunt for Two Missing Piglets Reveals the Federal Cover-Up of Barbaric Factory Farms - Intercept (2017) 

FBI agents are devoting substantial resources to a multistate hunt for two baby piglets... The two piglets were removed over the summer from the Circle Four Farm in Utah by animal rights activists who had entered the Smithfield Foods-owned factory farm to film the brutal, torturous conditions in which the pigs are bred in order to be slaughtered.

While filming the conditions at the Smithfield facility, activists saw the two ailing baby piglets laying on the ground, visibly ill and near death, surrounded by the rotting corpses of dead piglets. “One was swollen and barely able to stand; the other had been trampled and was covered in blood”...  

Rather than leave the two piglets at Circle Four Farm to wait for an imminent and painful death, the DxE activists decided to rescue them. They carried them out of the pens where they had been suffering and took them to an animal sanctuary to be treated and nursed back to health... 


This single Smithfield Foods farm breeds and then slaughters more than 1 million pigs each year. One of the odd aspects of animal mistreatment in the U.S. is that species regarded as more intelligent and emotionally complex – dogs, dolphins, cats, primates – generally receive more public concern and more legal protection. Yet pigs – among the planet’s most intelligent, social, and emotionally complicated species, capable of great joy, play, love, connection, suffering and pain, at least on a par with dogs – receive almost no protections, and are subject to savage systematic abuse by U.S. factory farms. 


At Smithfield, like most industrial pig farms, the abuse and torture primarily comes not from rogue employees violating company procedures. Instead, the cruelty is inherent in the procedures themselves... 


Under normal circumstances, a large industrial farming company such as Smithfield Foods would never notice that two sick piglets of the millions it breeds and then slaughters were missing. Nor would they care: A sick and dying piglet has no commercial value to them. Yet the rescue of these two particular piglets has literally become a federal case... a matter of great importance to the Department of Justice. On the last day of August, a six-car armada of FBI agents in bulletproof vests, armed with search warrants, descended upon two small shelters for abandoned farm animals...  These sanctuaries have no connection to DxE or any other rescue groups. They simply serve as a shelter for sick, abandoned, or otherwise injured animals. Run by a small staff and a team of animal-loving volunteers, they are open to the public to teach about farm animals... 


Subsequent events confirmed that this show of FBI force was designed to intimidate the sanctuaries, which played no role in the rescue... What has vested these two piglets with such importance to the FBI is that their rescue is now part of what has become an increasingly visible public campaign by DxE and other activists to highlight the barbaric suffering and abuse that animals endure on farms like Circle Four. Obviously, the FBI and Smithfield – the nation’s largest industrial farm corporation – don’t really care about the missing piglets they are searching for. What they care about is the efficacy of a political campaign intent on showing the public how animals are abused at factory farms, and they are determined to intimidate those responsible. Deterring such campaigns and intimidating the activists behind them is, manifestly, the only goal here... 


Plainly, the “crime” of these activists that has galvanized the FBI is not the “theft” of two dying piglets; it is political activism and investigative journalism, which exposes the cruelty and abuse at the heart of this powerful industry... 


https://theintercept.com/2017/10/05/factory-farms-fbi-missing-piglets-animal-rights-glenn-greenwald/


more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Alexander J. Stein
Scoop.it!

Grass-fed beef is bad for the planet and causes climate change - New Scientist (2017) 

Grass-fed beef is bad for the planet and causes climate change - New Scientist (2017)  | Food Policy | Scoop.it

Prince Charles is wrong to support grass-fed beef. The idea that beef from cows raised on bucolic pastures is good for the environment, and that we can therefore eat as much meat as we want, doesn’t add up. New calculations suggest cattle pastures contribute to climate change. “Sadly, though it would be nice if the pro-grazers were right, they aren’t... The truth is, we cannot eat as much meat as we like and save the planet.”

Many meat eaters have long felt guilty that the beef steaks they love are bringing environmental disaster. A key problem is that microorganisms in the guts of cattle emit millions of tonnes of methane every year... Since methane is a greenhouse gas, this exacerbates global warming. Meanwhile, feeding the beasts destroys forests by taking land for pasture or to grow feed – and this deforestation also contributes to greenhouse gas emissions.

But a counter-view has gained currency... it argues that grazing cattle on pastures is actually good for the climate. The idea is that plants on pastures capture carbon from the air, especially when fertilised by manure. Pastures should also reduce our need for food crops grown on land that releases carbon when ploughed.

Confused by conflicting claims, Garnett and her colleagues calculated the flow of greenhouse gases into and out of pastures. She found that “in some circumstances, you can get carbon capture, but not always and the effect is small. You cannot extrapolate from a nicely run Dorset farm to a global food strategy.”

At best, carbon capture only offsets 20 to 60 per cent of greenhouse gas emissions from grazing, mostly the methane from cattle. “And the carbon capture stops after a few decades”... when the carbon-enriched soils reach equilibrium with the air. “Meanwhile, the cattle continue to belch methane”... 

The analysis is more comprehensive than past studies... “It asks, if we are to eat meat, is there a better way to grow it? The answer is: not really”... conclusion is supported by a study... which found that methane emissions from cattle are 11 per cent larger than older methods would suggest, and thus a bigger contributor to global warming... 


“We need to reduce emissions from livestock... That needs to come from dietary change.”


https://www.newscientist.com/article/2149220-grass-fed-beef-is-bad-for-the-planet-and-causes-climate-change/


more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Alexander J. Stein
Scoop.it!

Imagine a world free from hunger and malnutrition - Lancet (2017) 

Imagine a world free from hunger and malnutrition - Lancet (2017)  | Food Policy | Scoop.it

The UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) published its annual comprehensive report, "The State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World: Building Resilience for Peace and Food Security." Since its first publication in 1947, this... has been called "The State of Food and Agriculture", but this year's title has been expanded to include the word nutrition. Also for the first time, this year's report has a wider authorship group including UN Partners... IFAD, UNICEF, WFP and WHO.

To achieve Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 2, “End hunger, achieve food security and improve nutrition, and promote sustainable agriculture”, coherent multi-sectoral policy actions must meet diverse, yet specific, targets, such as ending hunger, addressing all forms of malnutrition, including overweight and obesity, wasting and stunting, and addressing the nutritional needs of vulnerable groups such as children, older people, and pregnant and lactating women. 


This report observes that we have entered a new era for monitoring progress, with peace taking centre stage, as conflict and natural disasters cause shifting patterns of migration. However, underlying poor global governance and a continuing lack of political will to fix a broken system remain obstacles to a world free from hunger and malnutrition in all its forms... 

In the past year there has been an unexpected and alarming increase in the number of food-deprived people – a trend that had previously been declining since 2012. The FAO definition of undernourishment is based on the availability of food in a community... 2016 data found one in nine people hungry, with an absolute global number of 815 million, up from 2015's 777 million, and returning to a level last seen in 2012... 


Poor governance has now been exacerbated by the effects of natural disasters and conflict, leading to a surge in hunger with famine outbreaks in several countries, including Nigeria, Somalia, and Yemen.

Using new indicators that measure severity of deprivation and access to food, the report finds that prevalence of hunger is greatest in Africa, with the highest absolute number of people facing hunger in Asia (520 million). Prevalence of stunting has fallen to 23% in the past decade; globally there are 155 million children younger than 5 years with stunting, and 52 million affected by wasting, with 28 million of those children living in southern Asia... There are a further 41 million children under 5 years of age who are overweight... 

Malnutrition will not end without politically peaceful solutions that bring an end to avoidable conflict and violence, as per SDG 16: “Promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development”. Displacement caused by climate change disasters and vast waves of migration are compounding food insecurity. This report calls urgently for new ways of “conflict-sensitive” working, and finding more effective means of supporting and implementing appropriate government and humanitarian programmes and policies... 


Political will remains the underlying problem – food systems need stronger political leadership, with a vision that extends beyond 2030, bringing the rights of future generations and our diminishing planetary resources into better focus... 

As long as the global food system continues to deliver diets that are not healthy or sustainable, we will continue to see both undernutrition and overnutrition, resulting from an unsustainable food system that wreaks devastating effects on the environment. While global conflicts pose further obstacles to overcome by 2030 and beyond, the shocking figures from last week's report must spur words into action, and shift the imagining of a world without hunger and malnutrition towards a reality.


http://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(17)32549-7/fulltext


Underlying report: http://www.fao.org/news/story/en/item/1037253/icode/


more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Alexander J. Stein
Scoop.it!

Massive projected increase in use of antimicrobials in animals could lead to widespread antimicrobial resistance in humans - U Cambridge (2017) 

Massive projected increase in use of antimicrobials in animals could lead to widespread antimicrobial resistance in humans - U Cambridge (2017)  | Food Policy | Scoop.it

The amount of antimicrobials given to animals destined for human consumption is expected to rise by a staggering 52% and reach 200,000 tonnes by 2030 unless policies are implemented to limit their use... 


Researchers... conducted the first global assessment of different intervention policies that could help limit the projected increase of antimicrobial use in food production. Their results... represent an alarming revision from already pessimistic estimates made in 2010, pushed up mostly by recent reports of high antimicrobial use in animals in China.

In modern animal farming, large quantities of antimicrobials are used for disease prevention and for growth promotion. “Worldwide, animals receive almost triple the amount of antibiotics that people do, although much of this use is not medically necessary, and many new strains of antibiotic-resistant infections are now common in people after originating in our livestock... 


As global demand for meat grows and agriculture continues to transition from extensive farming and smallholdings to more intensive practices, the use of antimicrobials in food production will increasingly threaten the efficacy of these life-saving drugs.”

Global policies based on a user fee and stricter regulation could help mitigate those ominous projections. “Under a user fee policy, the billions of dollars raised in revenues could be invested in the development of new antimicrobial compounds, or put towards improving farm hygiene around the world to reduce the need for antibiotics, in particular in low- and middle-income countries”... 


Compared to a business as usual scenario, a global regulation putting a cap of 50 mg of antimicrobials per kilogram of animal per year in OECD countries could reduce global consumption by 60% without affecting livestock-related economic development in low-income countries.

However, such a policy may be challenging to enforce in resource-limited settings. An alternative solution could be to impose a user fee of 50% of the current price on veterinary antimicrobials: this could reduce global consumption by 31% and generate yearly revenues of between US$ 1.7 and 4.6 billion.

An important limiting factor in performing this global assessment was accessing sufficient data on veterinary antimicrobial sales volumes and prices. The present study is based on publicly available data, limited to 37 countries. Representatives from the animal health industry were approach for this study but all declined to share information on antimicrobial sales or prices... 


http://www.cam.ac.uk/research/news/massive-projected-increase-in-use-of-antimicrobials-in-animals-could-lead-to-widespread


Underlying study: http://doi.org/10.1126/science.aao1495

 

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Alexander J. Stein
Scoop.it!

Drought: a cause of riots - UNIGE (2017) 

Drought: a cause of riots - UNIGE (2017)  | Food Policy | Scoop.it

The scientific community has been working on the possibility of a relationship between periods of drought and rioting... formally verified this hypothesis by studying almost 1,800 riots that occurred over a 20-year period in sub-Saharan Africa. The researchers observed a systematic link between the sudden depletion of water resources and the outbreak of unrest. They also succeeded in quantifying the impact of geographic and social factors... The findings... underline the importance of the role of political institutions in the event of a drought... 

Several case studies have reported that drought provokes tensions in the affected population. For example, when a period of drought hits a particular region, it has been shown that there is a drop in agricultural production and income; food becomes scarcer and prices rise; and towns no longer receive adequate supplies – all of which leads to outbreaks of rioting. But is there a systematic link between drought and riots? 


Most of the data used in the research has been too aggregated until now to provide an accurate answer: researchers based their analyses on figures indicating the average amount of rainfall for each country over a year and the manifestation of unrest in the same year per country. However, the data was too unrepresentative of the quantity of water actually required by the populations. Moreover, it was unsuitable for studying riots, which are typically of a local nature, and usually shorter and more explosive than civil conflicts... 


A team of economists... decided to focus their studies on the case of sub-Saharan Africa. This region, characterised by an economic structure that heavily depends on the presence of water, is ideal for demonstrating the systematic existence of the link. Forty-three countries with a minimum of one million inhabitants were analysed.

The researchers used a drought indicator devised by hydrologists, the Standardised Precipitation-Evapotranspiration Index (SPEI)... The SPEI can be used on a very detailed scale: for each 50km by 50km area, it indicates the month-by-month availability of water over a period of approximately 100 years. The economists subsequently cross-referenced the SPEI information with data from the Social Conflict Analysis Database (SCAD), which lists 1,800 incidents of rioting between 1990 and 2011, precisely geolocated in sub-Saharan Africa... 


“The problem was to look beyond the simple drought-conflict correlation and examine the other factors potentially linked to these two aspects that could misrepresent the relationship between drought and conflict... The researchers had to be careful not to consider drought as the main cause of a riot. “In order of importance, it is political, economic and social causes that create tension. Droughts are a factor that add fuel to flames that are already burning”.

The researchers, who controlled for a very wide range of ancillary variables, found that a period of drought increases the overall possibility of rioting by 10%... “But... if you cross-reference other geographical and social factors, this percentage rises dramatically.” In fact, three key elements play a leading role in the likelihood of drought-related riots. 


The first is population density: the more densely populated a region is, the greater the need for water. If there is shortage... in the most dense areas, the probability of a riot breaking out jumps by 50%. Similarly, if a region where there are no lakes or rivers is struck by drought, the risk of a conflict breaking out is multiplied by two... Finally, if several different ethnic groups share the same water resource within the same region, traditional institutional arrangements may temporarily collapse in the event of a shortage, swelling the risk of conflict by a factor of two.

The study shows the systematic and immediate link between droughts and rioting. The economists found that drought-related conflicts erupt in the same month as the onset of a water shortage, demonstrating that populations react quickly to a problem that affects agriculture, the economy and health... “We now have to use this data to examine in detail what mechanisms could be put in place by political institutions to avoid riots, such as setting up redistribution systems in areas affected by drought.”


https://www.unige.ch/communication/communiques/en/2017/la-secheresse-source-demeutes/


Underlying study: http://doi.org/10.1016/j.jeem.2017.06.002


more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Alexander J. Stein
Scoop.it!

How the humble potato fuelled the rise of liberal capitalism - Conversation (2017) 

There was a growing consensus across Europe that much of the population was crippling itself with poorly chosen eating habits. For instance, the renowned Scottish physician William Buchan argued this in his 1797 book... 


Buchan believed that most “common people” ate too much meat and white bread, and drank too much beer. They did not eat enough vegetables. 


The inevitable result, he stated, was ill health, with diseases... wreaking havoc in the bodies of working men, women and children. This, in turn, undermined British trade and weakened the nation... 

Alexander J. Stein's insight:
1797? Sounds pretty contemporary... 
more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Alexander J. Stein
Scoop.it!

Contribution of improved rice varieties to poverty reduction and food security in sub-Saharan Africa - Arouna &al (2017) - Global Food Sec

Contribution of improved rice varieties to poverty reduction and food security in sub-Saharan Africa - Arouna &al (2017) - Global Food Sec | Food Policy | Scoop.it

The dissemination of improved rice varieties could contribute significantly to achieving food security and reducing poverty in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). This study assesses the number of households and individuals lifted out of poverty and food insecurity... 


Data collected from sixteen countries were analyzed. A positive impact of improved varieties on food security and poverty reduction was observed over the period 2000-2014. In addition, the rate of adoption of these varieties increased over these years and this increase was more significant after the 2008 food crisis. 


Average income also increased from 25 US$/capita to 58 US$/capita for... adopters... Eight million persons lifted out of poverty and food insecurity in 2014 in SSA...These trends could be enhanced by addressing production constraints and certified seed bottlenecks... 


https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2211912417300044



more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Alexander J. Stein
Scoop.it!

Food Security, International Agricultural Trade, and Economic Growth in China - Kang (2017) - Kyobo

China, with the largest population in the world, has always been concerned about its food security. Recently, rapid economic growth in China has led to the disappearance of absolute hunger, but an increase in food consumption and environmental problems still threaten the maintenance of China’s food security. 


This study aims to analyze the effects of main factors on Chinese food security... 

(1) an inverted U-shaped relationship exists between Chinese food security and main factors (economic growth, agricultural trade, and CO2), 

(2) there is a positive impact of economic growth on food security but negative impact of agricultural trade and CO2 on food
security with respect to the linear relationship, and 

(3) there is Granger causality between the main factors and food security. 


Based on the analysis, this study suggests that the Chinese government needs to continue investment in agriculture, environmental regulations, and the expansion of domestic agricultural production base to improve its food security.


http://scholar.dkyobobook.co.kr/searchDetail.laf?barcode=4010025852582


more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Alexander J. Stein
Scoop.it!

Temperature increase reduces global yields of major crops in four independent estimates - Zhao &al (2017) - PNAS

Temperature increase reduces global yields of major crops in four independent estimates - Zhao &al (2017) - PNAS | Food Policy | Scoop.it

Agricultural production is vulnerable to climate change. Understanding climate change, especially the temperature impacts, is critical if policymakers, agriculturalists, and crop breeders are to ensure global food security... 


Wheat, rice, maize, and soybean provide two-thirds of human caloric intake. Assessing the impact of global temperature increase on production of these crops is therefore critical to maintaining global food supply, but different studies have yielded different results. Here, we investigated the impacts of temperature on yields of the four crops by compiling extensive published results from four analytical methods: global grid-based and local point-based models, statistical regressions, and field-warming experiments. 


Results from the different methods consistently showed negative temperature impacts on crop yield at the global scale, generally underpinned by similar impacts at country and site scales. Without CO2 fertilization, effective adaptation, and genetic improvement, each degree-Celsius increase in global mean temperature would, on average, reduce global yields of wheat by 6.0%, rice by 3.2%, maize by 7.4%, and soybean by 3.1%. 


Results are highly heterogeneous across crops and geographical areas, with some positive impact estimates. Multimethod analyses improved the confidence in assessments of future climate impacts on global major crops and suggest crop- and region-specific adaptation strategies to ensure food security for an increasing world population.


http://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1701762114



more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Alexander J. Stein
Scoop.it!

If Everyone Ate Beans Instead of Beef - Atlantic (2017) 

If Everyone Ate Beans Instead of Beef - Atlantic (2017)  | Food Policy | Scoop.it

With one dietary change, the U.S. could almost meet greenhouse-gas emission goals.


Helen Harwatt is a researcher trained in environmental nutrition, a field focused on developing food systems that balance human health and sustainability. She’s interested in policy, but realistic about how much progress can be expected under the aforementioned leadership. So she and colleagues have done research on maximizing the impacts of individuals. As with so many things in life and health, that tends to come down to food.

Recently Harwatt and a team of scientists... calculated just what would happen if every American made one dietary change: substituting beans for beef. They found that if everyone were willing and able to do that... the U.S. could still come close to meeting its 2020 greenhouse-gas emission goals, pledged by President Barack Obama in 2009.

That is, even if nothing about our energy infrastructure or transportation system changed – and even if people kept eating chicken and pork and eggs and cheese – this one dietary change could achieve somewhere between 46 and 74 percent of the reductions needed to meet the target.

“I think there’s genuinely a lack of awareness about how much impact this sort of change can have”... This study is novel for the idea that a person’s dedication to the cause doesn’t have to be complete in order to matter. A relatively small, single-food substitution could be the most powerful change a person makes in terms of their lifetime environmental impact – more so than downsizing one’s car, or being vigilant about turning off light bulbs, and certainly more than quitting showering. 


To understand why the climate impact of beef alone is so large... a sea of soybeans... these beans will be eaten by cows, and the cows will convert the beans to meat, and the humans will eat the meat. In the process, the cows will emit much greenhouse gas, and they will consume far more calories in beans than they will yield in meat, meaning far more clearcutting of forests to farm cattle feed than would be necessary if the beans above were simply eaten by people.

This inefficient process happens on a massive scale. Brazil, the world’s largest exporter of red meat, holds around 212 million cattle... 33 percent of arable land on Earth is used to grow feed for livestock. Even more, 26 percent of the ice-free terrestrial surface of Earth is used for grazing livestock. In all, almost a third of the land on Earth is used to produce meat and animal products. This means much less deforestation and land degradation if so many plant crops weren’t run through the digestive tracts of cattle. If Americans traded their beef for beans, the researchers found, that would free up 42 percent of U.S. crop land.

“The real beauty of this kind of thing is that climate impact doesn’t have to be policy-driven... It can just be a positive, empowering thing for consumers to see that they can make a significant impact by doing something as simple as eating beans instead of beef... The ‘beans for beef’ scenario offers significant climate change mitigation and other environmental benefits, illustrating the high potential of animal to plant food shifts”... 

“I think it’s such an easy-to-grasp concept that it could be less challenging than a whole dietary shift”... thinking on what it means to eat well – to consume responsibly, conscientiously. Rather the beans for beef scenario is the dietary equivalent of effective altruism – focusing on where efforts will have the highest yield. “It’s kind of a worst-first approach, looking at the hottest spot in the food system in terms of greenhouse-gas emissions, and what could that be substituted with without losing protein and calories in the food system? And at the same time, gaining health benefits.”

In addition to the well-documented health benefits of a plant-based diet, this case also brings empowerment... there is some recourse in knowing how far individuals can go... 


https://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2017/08/if-everyone-ate-beans-instead-of-beef/535536/


Underlying study: http://doi.org/10.1007/s10584-017-1969-1


more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Alexander J. Stein
Scoop.it!

Cash Transfers and Child Nutrition: Pathways and Impacts - de Groot &al (2017) - Dev Pol Rev

Cash Transfers and Child Nutrition: Pathways and Impacts - de Groot &al (2017) - Dev Pol Rev | Food Policy | Scoop.it

Childhood malnutrition remains a significant global problem, with an estimated 162 million children under the age of five suffering from stunted growth. 


This article examines the extent to which cash transfer [CT] programmes can improve child nutrition. It adopts a framework that captures and explains the pathways and determinants of child nutrition. The framework is then used to organize and discuss relevant evidence... to identify critical elements that determine child nutrition outcomes as well as knowledge gaps requiring further research, such as children's dietary diversity, caregiver behaviours and stress... 


First, there is strong evidence that CTs have a positive effect on the resources for food security. Households use the transfer to buy larger quantities and higher quality of food (i.e., more nutritious and diverse) and, in many cases, household food security indicators improve. 


Second, in terms of resources for health, the evidence points in general to positive impacts. CTs increase preventive healthcare visits and antenatal care- seeking in most cases. There are also positive effects on better hygiene and on the probability of using improved sanitation or water sources. 


Third, the concept of resources for care in relation to CTs is generally understudied. The broader literature suggests that there is a clear relation between nutritional outcomes, caregiver feeding be-haviours and practices and psychosocial care. There is, however, very little evidence of the impact of CTs on these caregiver behaviours. On the other hand, there is promising evidence that CTs improve the mental health of beneficiaries, including reducing levels of stress... Furthermore, studies suggest that CTs may decrease IPV [intimate partner violence]... Women’s empowerment has been studied extensively in relation to CTs, but while qualitative evidence points to a positive effect... lack of consensus on how to measure women’s empowerment with quantitative indicators. 


Fourth, we identified evidence of impacts of CTs on the two immediate determinants of child nutritional status, dietary intake and health status. The few studies that look specifically at children’s dietary intake found no increase in caloric intake of young children, while three studies found an increase in the number of days children consumed more nutritious food. In terms of children’s health status, the evidence is mixed and the pathways are unclear. Some studies have found a significant reduction in common children’s illnesses... while in other cases no significant or negative effects were found. Similar mixed findings appear for vaccination coverage. The only study that investigated children’s levels of a stress-related biomarker found a significant reduction due to the CT. 


Fifth, the evidence of direct impact of CTs on children’s nutritional status is mixed... the evidence points to a lack of knowledge on the impact pathways, a gap recognized by authors reviewing the link between CTs and child nutritional status...  


In summary, while an increasing number of studies have highlighted the positive role of CTs in increasing resources for food, health and care, the evidence to date on the immediate determinants of child nutrition is mixed with respect to whether CTs can positively impact growth-related outcomes among children. Key gaps should be addressed in future research, including examination of CT impacts on proximate outcomes such as children’s dietary diversity, as well as caregiver behaviours, IPV, and caregiver stress/mental health, all of which have implications for child health and well-being.


http://doi.org/10.1111/dpr.12255


more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Alexander J. Stein
Scoop.it!

Millions may face protein deficiency as a result of human-caused carbon dioxide emissions - Harvard (2017) 

Millions may face protein deficiency as a result of human-caused carbon dioxide emissions - Harvard (2017)  | Food Policy | Scoop.it

If CO2 levels continue to rise as projected, the populations of 18 countries may lose more than 5% of their dietary protein by 2050 due to a decline in the nutritional value of rice, wheat, and other staple crops... Researchers estimate that roughly an additional 150 million people may be placed at risk of protein deficiency because of elevated levels of CO2 in the atmosphere... 

“This study highlights the need for countries that are most at risk to actively monitor their populations’ nutritional sufficiency, and, more fundamentally, the need for countries to curb human-caused CO2 emissions”... 


Globally, 76% of the population derives most of their daily protein from plants. To estimate their current and future risk of protein deficiency, the researchers combined data from experiments in which crops were exposed to high concentrations of CO2 with global dietary information... and measures of income inequality and demographics.

They found that under elevated CO2 concentrations, the protein contents of rice, wheat, barley, and potatoes decreased by 7.6%, 7.8%, 14.1%, and 6.4%, respectively. The results suggest continuing challenges for Sub Saharan Africa, where millions already experience protein deficiency, and growing challenges for South Asian countries, including India, where rice and wheat supply a large portion of daily protein. The researchers found that India may lose 5.3% of protein from a standard diet, putting a predicted 53 million people at new risk of protein deficiency.

A companion paper... found that CO2-related reductions in iron content in staple food crops are likely to also exacerbate the already significant problem of iron deficiency worldwide. Those most at risk include 354 million children under 5 and 1.06 billion women of childbearing age – predominantly in South Asia and North Africa – who live in countries already experiencing high rates of anemia and who are expected to lose more than 3.8% of dietary iron as a result of this CO2 effect.

These two studies, taken alongside a 2015 study... showing that elevated CO2 emissions are also likely to drive roughly 200 million people into zinc deficiency, quantify the significant nutritional toll expected to arise from human-caused CO2 emissions.

“Strategies to maintain adequate diets need to focus on the most vulnerable countries and populations, and thought must be given to reducing vulnerability to nutrient deficiencies through supporting more diverse and nutritious diets, enriching the nutritional content of staple crops, and breeding crops less sensitive to these CO2 effects. And, of course, we need to dramatically reduce global CO2 emissions as quickly as possible”... 


https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/news/press-releases/climate-change-carbon-emissions-protein-deficiency/


Underlying articles: 

https://ehp.niehs.nih.gov/ehp41/

http://doi.org/10.1002/2016GH000018



more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Alexander J. Stein
Scoop.it!

Global Food Policy Report: Synopsis - IFPRI (2017) 

Global Food Policy Report: Synopsis - IFPRI (2017)  | Food Policy | Scoop.it

Important signs of progress in food security and nutrition and a commitment to sustainable development marked 2016. Yet challenges arising from dramatically changing political, economic, and demographic landscapes are sure to test the international momentum behind the new sustainable development agenda. 


As rapid urbanization continues around the world, poverty, food insecurity, and malnutrition are increasingly becoming urban problems. This rapid shift is changing diets and reshaping food chains – from small farms to modern supermarkets. 


Going forward, policies and investments to end hunger and malnutrition must take account of the needs of poor urban populations and develop strong links between rural food producers and urban markets to support both rural and urban populations. 


https://www.ifpri.org/publication/2017-global-food-policy-report-synopsis


more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Alexander J. Stein
Scoop.it!

Measuring nutritional quality of agricultural production systems: Application to fish production - Bogard &al (2017) - Global Food Sec

Measuring nutritional quality of agricultural production systems: Application to fish production - Bogard &al (2017) - Global Food Sec | Food Policy | Scoop.it

Reorienting food systems towards improving nutrition outcomes is vital if the global goal of ending all forms of malnutrition is to be achieved. Crucial to transitioning to nutrition-sensitive agriculture is valuing and measuring nutritional quality of the outputs of agricultural production. 


We review existing indicators which capture an element of nutritional quality applicable to different stages of the food and nutrition system. Applying relevant indicators from the agricultural production stage to selected aquaculture systems, we compare and contrast their strengths and limitations. 


‘Nutritional yields’, ‘potential nutrient adequacy’ and ‘Rao's quadratic entropy’ show particular promise in capturing the ability of a production system to nourish the most people and could be useful tools for prioritising investments and decision-making in the public, non-government and private sectors driving agriculture... 


Food systems can be conceptualised as consisting of all of the inputs and activities required to produce and distribute food for human consumption. Various conceptual models of food systems include several stages such as agricultural production, distribution, and consumption; each of which involves inputs, which undergo transformation and result in various outputs which continue their flow throughout the system. 


Several authors propose a broader concept of food systems which incorporates nutrition and health outcomes, emphasising the interdependence of agricultural production, food consumption and nutritional status. An advantage of this conceptual approach is that an understanding of the drivers of, inputs to, transformations within, interactions between, and outputs at each stage of the system allows more effective guidance of interventions at various stages in the system to achieve desired nutrition and health outcomes... 


This study presents a comparative analysis of the merits and limitations of existing indicators that capture some elements of nutritional quality of the outputs of agricultural production sub-systems... There are several limitations to this analysis. In keeping the focus on the agricultural production stage of food systems, the review of indicators focused on key sources in the food and nutrition security literature, thereby, potentially excluding indicators of nutritional quality from other sources... 


https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2211912417300366


Alexander J. Stein's insight:
The authors acknowledge that their analysis is limited because they focus on the agricultural side of things and review (only) the food and nutrition security literature -- thereby excluding potentially useful indicators from other sources. 

Given that in Figure 1 they even show "health outcomes" following the "nutrition stage", they might have wanted to include indicators for this last stage instead of stopping at the nutrition stage. 

One example for such an indicator could be DALYs, which I discussed in the same journal some time ago, as summarised here: http://www.scoop.it/t/publications-of-a-j-stein/p/4030363107/

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Alexander J. Stein
Scoop.it!

Win-win strategies for climate and food security - IIASA (2017) 

Win-win strategies for climate and food security - IIASA (2017)  | Food Policy | Scoop.it

Efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the agriculture and forestry sectors could lead to increased food prices – but new research identifies strategies that could help mitigate climate change while avoiding steep hikes in food prices. 


Climate policies that target agriculture and forests could lead to increased food prices, but reducing deforestation and increasing soil carbon sequestration in agriculture could significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions while avoiding risk to food security... 

As countries look to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions, many see potential in their forests and farms. The land-use sector, which includes agriculture and forestry, contributes approximately 25% of the human-caused greenhouse gas emissions that are contributing to climate change. At the same time, vegetation, including natural as well as agricultural lands, take up CO2 from the atmosphere and can store it in biomass and the soil.

“The land-use sector is key for successful climate change mitigation... But providing an increasing amount of biomass for energy production to substitute fossil fuels while at the same time reducing emissions from the land use sector, for example through a carbon tax, could also have the effect of raising food prices and reducing food availability”...  

The study showed that a stringent mitigation target for the agriculture and forestry sectors could lead to increased food prices and reduced food production. Though globally coordinated mitigation policies outperform regional or national policies both with respect to emission abatement and food security, adverse impacts on food security remain. 


The study presents two strategies that could bring benefits for climate while simultaneously maintaining food security: reducing deforestation and increasing soil carbon sequestration... The study found that in countries with a lot of land and a high proportion of emissions from land-use change, such as Brazil or Congo Basin countries, there is a large potential for forest restoration and preventing deforestation. However, in more densely populated countries with emission intensive agriculture such as China and India, strict efforts to reduce agricultural emissions could lead to substantial impacts on food security, while not providing big climate benefits due to emission leakage... emissions that are saved due to a policy within one country would be replaced by additional emissions outside the country.

“In some countries, stopping deforestation could provide a big reduction in emissions with only a marginal effect on food availability”... In places like China and India, the focus should be on soil organic carbon sequestration and other win-win options that decrease the emission intensity of agriculture.”

Certain farming practices, such as crop rotation, cover cropping, and residue management, can preserve greater amounts of carbon stored in soils. It turns out that these practices also generally lead to greater crop yields. “You keep the soil healthy, you offset greenhouse gas emissions, and you preserve crop yields at the same time”... In fact, under a carbon price policy, soil carbon sequestration measures could even provide additional revenue for farmers as they get paid for the carbon sink they provide... 

http://www.iiasa.ac.at/web/home/about/news/171002-soil-climate.html


Underlying article: http://doi.org/10.1088/1748-9326/aa8c83


more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Alexander J. Stein
Scoop.it!

Global methane emissions from agriculture larger than reported, according to new estimates - ScienceDaily (2017) 

Global methane emissions from agriculture larger than reported, according to new estimates - ScienceDaily (2017)  | Food Policy | Scoop.it

Global methane emissions from agriculture are larger than estimated due to the previous use of out-of-date data on carbon emissions generated by livestock... 

Researchers... found that global livestock methane (CH4) emissions for 2011 are 11% higher than the estimates based on guidelines provided by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in 2006. This encompasses an 8.4% increase in CH4 from enteric fermentation (digestion) in dairy cows and other cattle and a 37% increase in manure management CH4 compared to IPCC-based estimates. Revised manure management CH4 emissions estimates for 2011 in the US from this study were 72% higher than IPPC-based estimates...

"In many regions of the world, livestock numbers are changing, and breeding has resulted in larger animals with higher intakes of food. This, along with changes in livestock management, can lead to higher methane emissions. 


Methane is an important moderator of the Earth's atmospheric temperature. It has about four times the atmospheric warming potential of carbon dioxide. Direct measurements of methane emissions are not available for all sources of methane. Thus, emissions are reported as estimates based on different methods and assumptions... 


The authors re-evaluated the data used to calculate IPCC 2006 CH4 emission factors resulting from enteric fermentation in dairy cows and other cattle, and manure management from dairy cows, other cattle and swine. They show that estimating livestock CH4 emissions with the revised emissions factors, created in this study, results in larger emission estimates compared to calculations made using IPCC 2006 emission factors for most regions, although emission estimates varied considerably by region...

"Among global regions, there was notable variability in trends in estimated emissions over recent decades. For example, we found that total livestock methane emissions have increased the most in rapidly developing regions of Asia, Latin America and Africa. In contrast, emissions increased less in the US and Canada, and decreased slightly in Western Europe. We found the largest increases in annual emissions to be over the northern tropics, followed by the southern tropics."

The estimates presented in this study are also 15% larger than global estimates provided by... EPA... 4% larger than EDGAR (Emissions Database for Global Atmospheric Research) global estimates... Both the EPA and EDGAR use IPCC 2006 default information which may have contributed to their under estimations.


https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/09/170929093248.htm


Underlying study: http://doi.org/10.1186/s13021-017-0084-y


more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Alexander J. Stein
Scoop.it!

Is it time to take vertical indoor farming seriously? - Pinstrup-Andersen (2017) - Global Food Sec

Is it time to take vertical indoor farming seriously? - Pinstrup-Andersen (2017) - Global Food Sec | Food Policy | Scoop.it

Is it time to take vertical indoor farming seriously? My answer is yes, and here are five reasons why. 


First, a very large number of people suffer from micronutrient deficiencies and the health problems they cause... the number that keeps coming up is 2 billion, or more than 25% of the world's population. Given the serious health consequences, it is fair to characterize this as a serious global public health problem... Rapid growth in low-income countries’ urban populations, together with widespread urban poverty and dietary changes towards calorie-dense, nutrient-poor foods are resulting in a rapid increase in the number of urban households with micronutrient-deficient members. While fortification, including biofortification, may play an important role in both urban and rural populations... access to a healthy and diversified diet, which includes vegetables and other micronutrient-dense foods, is the key to sustainable elimination of this public health problem. Although access to affordable vegetables does not assure their consumption, it is a precondition. Unfortunately, large shares of poor and non-poor urban households in both high and low-income countries do not have regular, daily, year-round access to fresh vegetables at prices they can afford... 


Second, the production of vegetables in open fields is associated with large risks and uncertainties from biotic and abiotic stresses, such as pest attacks, droughts, floods and strong winds. Climate change and associated irregular weather patterns and extreme weather events add to these uncertainties. Use of pesticides may introduce real and/or perceived health risks. Aeroponic or aquaponics production of vegetables in indoor, controlled environments, whether in high-rises or containers, will require no pesticides, no soil, no land, except for the building's or container's footprint, and only 5% of the water used in the production of the same quantity of vegetables in an open field... The yields of vegetables are higher and the growing cycle are shorter when grown with the most appropriate technology, including the most recent lighting management, in a controlled environment... 


Third, the supply chain for vegetables produced in open fields or greenhouses is frequently long... Infrastructure investments, CO2 emissions and related energy expenditures in transportation may be large. Vertical indoor farming can be undertaken within or near urban or peri-urban areas because its footprint is very small... yields per unit of land are very high. The supply chain would be short, the energy costs, nutrient losses and CO2 emission during transportation would be low and time from harvesting to consumer purchase would be very short, assuring freshness...


Fourth, climate change and related extreme weather events are causing higher risks and uncertainty in agricultural production. Increasing temperature brings new pests and plant diseases for which solutions may not be available. Higher frequency of extreme weather events are resulting in large production fluctuations with frequent crop losses, large yield variations and volatile food prices. Production of vegetables in open fields is particularly volatile. As climate change proceeds, the benefits from enhanced control of the production environment will be even more obvious to assure a continued supply of a diversified portfolio of foods to meet nutritional needs... 


Fifth, continued population growth and increasing incomes translate to increasing food demand... the world population will require about 50% more food by 2050... An increasing share of the food demand will come from urban areas in low and middle-income countries and the debate about... urban agriculture... is taking on increasing importance. The on-going diet transition is shifting the demand... Will consumers shift to more nutrient-dense foods such as fruits, vegetables and animal source foods or will they move towards more calorie-dense processed foods with high content of sugar, sweeteners and fat but relatively poor in micronutrients? The answer will be influenced in part by physical access and relative prices. Enhanced access and lower prices for vegetables can be expected to lead to increasing consumption, a healthier diet and better nutrition. High vegetable prices and low prices for calorie-dense packaged foods leads to unhealthy diets, overweight, obesity and related chronic diseases. Vertical indoor vegetable production can help expand the supply and lower prices...  


While technological change has greatly changes the economic relationships in favor of vertical indoor farming or container farming, during the last 7 years, we may not be there yet. In particular, much more evidence is needed to estimate the economic feasibility of vertical indoor vegetable production in urban areas of low-income countries... So, I believe it is premature to issue a proclamation that vertical indoor production of vegetables is key... But I firmly believe it would be a mistake to continue to ignore opportunities associated with vertical indoor production of vegetables. Based on the limited evidence we have from existing production units, it appears that the tipping point for when it becomes economically viable, may have been reached... the behavior of venture capitalists is one indication. Taking its potential seriously means taking action to push it over the tipping point for the benefit of people's nutritional status and health. In my opinion, solid economic analyses of past experience and current practices are urgently needed... 


I am much more concerned about the large-scale outdoor production unit outcompeting smallholders. Efforts to promote increased production of fruits and vegetables on small farms in low-income countries have been very disappointing. The progress has been very slow, in part due to poorly functioning supply chains and large postharvest scale economies and partly because agricultural research continues to prioritize productivity increases in staple foods, while all but ignoring the opportunities for increased productivity and lower unit costs in vegetables... 


Vertical indoor production of vegetables may contribute to better nutrition... help reducing water usage in agriculture... [and] climate change risks. There is an urgent need for economic assessments of vertical indoor farming. Unsubstantiated rejection of vertical indoor farming is harmful to nutrition. 


http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2211912417300755


more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Alexander J. Stein
Scoop.it!

Supermarket purchase contributes to nutrition-related non-communicable diseases in urban Kenya - Demmler &al (2017) - PLOS ONE

Supermarket purchase contributes to nutrition-related non-communicable diseases in urban Kenya - Demmler &al (2017) - PLOS ONE | Food Policy | Scoop.it

While undernutrition and related infectious diseases are still pervasive in many developing countries, the prevalence of non-communicable diseases (NCD), typically associated with high body mass index (BMI), is rapidly rising. The fast spread of supermarkets and related shifts in diets were identified as possible factors contributing to overweight and obesity in developing countries... 


This study investigates the effects of purchasing food in supermarkets on people’s BMI, as well as on health indicators such as fasting blood glucose (FBG), blood pressure (BP), and the metabolic syndrome.

This study uses cross-section observational data from urban Kenya. Demographic, anthropometric, and bio-medical data were collected from 550 randomly selected adults. Purchasing food in supermarkets is defined as a binary variable that takes a value of one if any food was purchased in supermarkets... In a robustness check, the share of food purchased in supermarkets is defined as a continuous variable... 


Purchasing food in supermarkets contributes to higher BMI (+ 1.8 kg/m2) and an increased probability (+ 20 percentage points) of being overweight or obese. Purchasing food in supermarkets also contributes to higher levels of FBG (+ 0.3 mmol/L) and a higher likelihood (+ 16 percentage points) of suffering from pre-diabetes and the metabolic syndrome (+ 7 percentage points)... 

Supermarkets and their food sales strategies seem to have direct effects on people’s health. In addition to increasing overweight and obesity, supermarkets contribute to nutrition-related NCDs. Effects of supermarkets on nutrition and health can mainly be ascribed to changes in the composition of people’s food choices.


https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0185148


more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Alexander J. Stein
Scoop.it!

The association between food insecurity and academic achievement in Canadian school-aged children - Faught  &al (2017) - Public Health Nutr

Education is a crucial social determinant of health. Food insecurity can be detrimental to children’s academic achievement, potentially perpetuating a cycle of poverty and food insecurity. We aimed to assess the relationship between food insecurity and academic achievement... 


Parents completed the short-form Household Food Security Survey Module and questions about income and education level (socio-economic status). Children completed FFQ. Data were prospectively linked to children’s performance on standardized exams written one year later. Mixed-effect logistic regression was employed to assess the relationship between food insecurity and likelihood of meeting academic expectations adjusting for socio-economic status, diet quality and potential confounders... 

Low food security was reported by 9.8% of households; very low food security by 7.1% of households. Students from low-income households and reporting poor diet quality were less likely to do well in school. Children who lived in households reporting very low food security had 0.65 times the odds of meeting expectations for reading and 0.62 times the odds of meeting expectations for mathematics.
Very low household insecurity is associated with poor academic achievement... 


http://doi.org/10.1017/S1368980017001562


more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Alexander J. Stein
Scoop.it!

Livestock: On our plates or eating at our table? A new analysis of the feed/food debate - Mottet &al (2017) - Global Food Sec

Livestock: On our plates or eating at our table? A new analysis of the feed/food debate - Mottet &al (2017) - Global Food Sec | Food Policy | Scoop.it

Livestock contribute to food security by supplying essential macro- and micro-nutrients, providing manure and draught power, and generating income. But they also consume food edible by humans and graze on pastures that could be used for crop production. 


Livestock, especially ruminants, are often seen as poor converters of feed into food products. This paper analyses global livestock feed rations and feed conversion ratios, with specific insight on the diversity in production systems and feed materials. 


Results estimate that livestock consume 6 billion tonnes of feed (dry matter) annually – including one third of global cereal production – of which 86% is made of materials that are currently not eaten by humans. In addition, soybean cakes, which production can be considered as main driver or land-use, represent 4% of the global livestock feed intake. 


Producing 1 kg of boneless meat requires an average of 2.8 kg human-edible feed in ruminant systems and 3.2 kg in monogastric systems. While livestock is estimated to use 2.5 billion ha of land, modest improvements in feed use efficiency can reduce further expansion.


https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2211912416300013


more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Alexander J. Stein
Scoop.it!

Empirical effects of short-term export bans: The case of African maize - Porteous (2017) - Food Pol

Empirical effects of short-term export bans: The case of African maize - Porteous (2017) - Food Pol | Food Policy | Scoop.it

Temporary export restrictions have been widely used in recent years in an attempt to stabilize domestic prices of staple grains. I... investigate the empirical effects of... export bans on maize implemented... in East and Southern Africa. I find no statistically significant effect of export bans on the price gaps between pairs of affected cross-border markets... 


However, prices and price volatility in the implementing country are significantly higher during export ban periods... Export bans in the region are imperfectly enforced, divert trade into the informal sector, and appear to destabilize domestic markets rather than stabilizing them.


https://doi.org/10.1016/j.foodpol.2017.07.003


more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Alexander J. Stein
Scoop.it!

Comparative Study of Biofortified and Non-biofortified Wheat in Uttar Pradesh, India: Combating Nutritional Security through Biofortification - Tewari &al (2017) - Int J Ag Stat Sci

Comparative Study of Biofortified and Non-biofortified Wheat in Uttar Pradesh, India: Combating Nutritional Security through Biofortification  - Tewari &al (2017) - Int J Ag Stat Sci | Food Policy | Scoop.it
Biofortification is the process of enriching the staple food crops with nutrients and a way towards more nourishing future. 

India ranks number one in terms of low birth weight infants at an estimated 7.4 million undernourished kids. Mild to moderate zinc deficiency (ZnD) is common in India because the commonly consumed staple foods have low zinc contents. The prevalence of zinc deficiency is reported 48.1 per cent among under five years children in Uttar Pradesh. 

The present study is carried out to assess the health benefits of biofortified wheat in Uttar Pradesh by using Disability-adjusted Life Years (DALYs) method. The current burden of ZnD in Uttar Pradesh is estimated to be 0.91 million DALYs lost, out of which 890,000 DALYs from mortality and 24,500 DALYs due to morbidity. 

The comparative economics between biofortified and non-biofortified wheat variety revealed that there is no significant difference in the cost of cultivation and other characteristics like cooking quality, taste, appearance of the varieties... 

Zinc biofortification was found to be very cost-effective as the cost of saving one DALYs ranges from Rs. 79 to Rs. 177. Therefore, the zinc biofortification is a promising tool to achieve the goal of nutritional security in Uttar Pradesh as well as India.


Alexander J. Stein's insight:
Share your insight
more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Alexander J. Stein
Scoop.it!

Comparative analysis of environmental impacts of agricultural production systems, agricultural input efficiency, and food choice - Clark & Tilman (2017) - Env Res Letters 

Comparative analysis of environmental impacts of agricultural production systems, agricultural input efficiency, and food choice - Clark & Tilman (2017) - Env Res Letters  | Food Policy | Scoop.it

Global agricultural feeds over 7 billion people, but is also a leading cause of environmental degradation. Understanding how alternative agricultural production systems, agricultural input efficiency, and food choice drive environmental degradation is necessary for reducing agriculture's environmental impacts. 


A meta-analysis of life cycle assessments that includes 742 agricultural systems and over 90 unique foods produced primarily in high-input systems shows that, per unit of food, organic systems require more land, cause more eutrophication, use less energy, but emit similar greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs) as conventional systems; that grass-fed beef requires more land and emits similar GHG emissions as grain-feed beef; and that low-input aquaculture and non-trawling fisheries have much lower GHG emissions than trawling fisheries... 


Further, for all environmental indicators and nutritional units examined, plant-based foods have the lowest environmental impacts; eggs, dairy, pork, poultry, non-trawling fisheries, and non-recirculating aquaculture have intermediate impacts; and ruminant meat has impacts ~100 times those of plant-based foods. 


Our analyses show that dietary shifts towards low-impact foods and increases in agricultural input use efficiency would offer larger environmental benefits than would switches from conventional agricultural systems to alternatives such as organic agriculture or grass-fed beef.


https://doi.org/10.1088/1748-9326/aa6cd5


more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Alexander J. Stein
Scoop.it!

Nutrition sensitive value chains: Theory, progress, and open questions -  Allen & de Brauw (2017) - Global Food Sec

Nutrition sensitive value chains: Theory, progress, and open questions -  Allen & de Brauw (2017) - Global Food Sec | Food Policy | Scoop.it

The second Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) challenges the world to achieve food security and improve nutrition by 2030 but food insecurity and micronutrient deficiencies remain stubbornly high and rates of overweight and obesity are rising throughout the world. 


To attain SDG 2, food systems must deliver more nutritious food to populations. For food systems to do so, value chains for micronutrient-rich foods must be improved, making such foods more available and affordable to consumers... 


We take a consumer focus on the value chains to consider the types of interventions that could lead to improved intakes of micronutrient-rich foods, and review the present literature on the types of value chain assessments, interventions, and initiatives that are attempting to improve nutrition as well as potential future directions... 


In this paper, we present a simple model to illustrate how the triple burden of malnutrition arises, and argue that agricultural value chains are potentially an important tool to reduce all three forms of malnutrition. From the consumer perspective, we describe three classes of interventions that fit our simple model, and how they might act to reduce malnutrition... 


First, more evidence on the effectiveness of BCC [behavior change communication] programs linked to agricultural and value chain interventions is required; if multiple forms of messages are necessary, it remains important to identify the most efficient and cost-effective methods of delivering those messages, and in particular more research is necessary on BCCs linked to overnutrition. 


Second, improving the labeling of all packaged foods in developing countries could improve information regarding food choices. However, more evidence is needed to understand whether that information leads to improved or increased intakes of nutritious foods or smaller intakes of less nutritious foods, and relative cost effectiveness of such labels. 


Third, interventions that can lower transaction costs such as improved cold chain technology could quickly change farmer incentives, making it possible to grow more fruits and vegetables that would otherwise spoil en route to market. 


To ensure that value chain interventions have sustainable impacts on nutrition outcomes, interventions must engage with the private sector throughout. Private actors in agricultural value chains range from large, vertically-integrated multinational corporations to individuals who transport, store, aggregate, or sell food. While the private sector can be engaged to include goals such as improved nutrition or sustainability, such interventions are more likely to be taken to scale if profit incentives can be aligned with nutritional outcomes. 


Finally, an increased commitment to collect indicators appropriate to measure food security and nutrition is also critical to assessing progress towards the SDGs... several countries collect insufficient data to be able to measure progress on malnutrition. Without this data on malnutrition in all its forms, it will be impossible to understand that progress that is being made to reduce malnutrition and the gaps that still exist. 


It is important that as more activities take place, indicators selected for measurement are appropriately matched to program activities; many programs are not sufficiently large to measure impact on nutritional status but can measure impacts to dietary quality or consumption. 


Being able to demonstrate impact on indicators of both food security and nutrition will be important to engage with the private sector on a number of these interventions that are not provided by the public sector. It is hoped that as a result, partnerships between public and private sectors are strengthened and more informed, longer-term interventions can be incorporated in national or regional policies.


http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2211912416301171


more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Alexander J. Stein
Scoop.it!

Climate Change and Food Security: Threats and Adaptation - Chen &al (2017) - World Ag Res Food Sec

Food security is at risk from climate change... and its drivers already affect food production through increased temperatures, changed precipitation patterns, extreme event frequency, and escalated carbon dioxide (CO2) and ozone... This will cause changes to agricultural production worldwide with regional consequences for global food security... 


Adaptations must be pursued that help agriculture maintain and enhance productivity under climate change while meeting growing demands for food. This chapter reviews the current literature on the impacts of climate change on agriculture and possible adaptation strategies to combat its effects... 


Food production systems around the world will be altered unevenly by climate change, with some gaining and many losing. Possible adaptation strategies will be suggested and successful implementation will need to include both public and private actions... 


http://doi.org/http://10.1108/S1574-871520170000017006


more...
No comment yet.