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Farmer-friendly policies enable China to feed itself - Xinhua ( 2012)

Farmer-friendly policies enable China to feed itself - Xinhua ( 2012) | Food Policy | Scoop.it

Wang Shixue still remembers the days when the taxes he paid on his half acre of land amounted to more than his earnings from it.

"In 1999, I got 1,250 yuan (197 U.S. dollars) from farming but had to pay 1,500 yuan in 13 kinds of tax to the government, including agriculture tax, animal slaughter tax and education tax," says Wang, 40, a farmer in Yuandu Town, Fengcheng City of east China's Jiangxi Province. Unable to bear the taxes, many farmers gave up the trade and let their land become barren, which led Chinese grain output to drop from 500 billion kg in 1998 to 430.7 billion kg in 2003... Today, however, China has emphatically calmed the panic through a series of corrective government policies. Wang's annual earnings from his 2011 harvest stood at 200,000 yuan, as the government's purchasing price for grain grew from 70 yuan per 50 kg in 2004 to 120 yuan per 50 kg in 2012. This summer, China has seen a bumper harvest in wheat and rice, marking year-on-year increases of 8.4 million tonnes and 9 million tonnes, respectively...

It has been a long road to this point for Wang and the people of Yuandu... China started a process of rural tax reduction in 2001 and completely abolished all rural taxes in 2006, ending its 2,600-year history of taxation on farmers...

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How to secure food for the world - Fan (2012) - China Daily

A series of natural disasters in several food producing countries have lowered current and future production forecasts and driven up prices of many staples central to the global agricultural market. Much of the United States is experiencing the worst drought since the 1950s. About 75 percent of the corn and soybean production in the US is being affected by drought "considered severe or greater", as reported by the Economic Research Service of the US Department of Agriculture. The US is the world's largest producer and exporter of corn and soybean, and its export prices for the two products have increased by a record 30 and 18 percent since June, according to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization. In India, poor monsoon may reduce rice production by 5-8 percent. A similar story is being played out in Russia, where soaring temperatures and reduced rainfall in June and July have lowered wheat production outlooks. Russia is the world's third largest exporter of wheat, and its production in 2012-13 is expected to fall by 13.2 million tons, a 24 percent drop compared with last year, according to the Foreign Agricultural Service of the USDA. Global wheat prices have increased by 26 percent in the past three months. Flash floods on Russia's Black Sea coast in early July have created further export complications, causing infrastructure damage to the country's major point of grain export. In Northern China, the worst floods in 60 years have affected nearly 1 million hectares of farmland, according to the Xinhua News Agency. Agricultural production in other parts of the country has also suffered as the Yellow and Huai river regions have seen below average rainfall since the beginning of June, which has created drought-like conditions in 5 million hectares of farmland. Similar trends are being seen in other major food producing countries across the world... Several urgent actions have to be taken to address the current situation and prevent a potential global food price crisis... 

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Organic farms continue to use persistent toxic pollutants to control crop disease--two centuries behind the times - Tribe (2012) - Blog

Copper is a persistent fungicide that selects for antibiotic resistant bacteria. These make antibiotics useless in medicine. Organic farming systems have few other options for fungal disease control in crops. Synthetic chemical alternatives are available which are much better for the environment. But organic farms don't use them, for ideological reasons. The story below shows this environmentally appalling practice continues today.

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Policy Brief: OECD Obesity Update 2012 - OECD (2012)

Policy Brief: OECD Obesity Update 2012 - OECD (2012) | Food Policy | Scoop.it

The obesity epidemic slowed down in several OECD countries during the past three years... However, rates remain high and social disparities in obesity are unabated. Many governments stepped up efforts to tackle the root causes of obesity, embracing increasingly comprehensive strategies and involving communities and key stakeholders. There has been a new interest in the use of taxes on foods rich in fat and sugar, with several governments (e.g. Denmark, Finland, France, Hungary) passing new legislation in 2011. A policy brief issued today presents an update of analyses of trends and social disparities in obesity originally presented in OECD’s report “Obesity and the Economics of Prevention: Fit not Fat”... 

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Rice Harvest in India Set to Drop as Drought Curbs Sowing - Bloomberg (2012)

Rice Harvest in India Set to Drop as Drought Curbs Sowing - Bloomberg (2012) | Food Policy | Scoop.it

Rice production in India, the world’s second-biggest grower, is poised to slump from a record as the worst monsoon since 2009 reduces planting, potentially lowering exports and boosting global prices. The monsoon-sown harvest may be between 5 million metric tons and 7 million tons below a record 91.5 million tons a year earlier, said P.K. Joshi, director for the South Asia region at the Washington-based International Food Policy Research Institute. Production of food grains, including corn and lentils, may slide as much as 12 percent from 129.9 million tons a year earlier, he said. Rice has rallied 6.3 percent in Chicago since the end of May on prospects for a lower Indian crop and export curbs, adding to global food costs that the United Nations estimates jumped 6.2 percent in July. Corn and soybeans have soared to records as the worst U.S. drought in half a century killed crops. Global rice production this year will be smaller than previously forecast, according to the UN’s Food & Agriculture Organization. “A lot of importing countries looking toward India for more competitive prices are likely to shift to Thailand or Vietnam,” Abah Ofon, an analyst at Standard Chartered Plc, said by phone from Singapore. “If we see a drop in India’s rice output, it is not going to have a significant impact on global inventories. There may be slight moderation in exports.”

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Facilitating Long-term Investments in Agricultural Technology - Rosegrant (2012) - IFPRI

Facilitating Long-term Investments in Agricultural Technology - Rosegrant (2012) - IFPRI | Food Policy | Scoop.it

After decades of declining food prices, recent food, fuel and financial crises have ushered in a new reality. As outlined in the International Food Policy Research Institute’s (IFPRI) 2011 Global Food Policy Report, food prices rose dramatically in 2007-08 and then again in 2010-11. What’s more, prices of most cereals and meats are projected to keep increasing – fueled by increasing demand for food and energy from a growing population, and exacerbated by climate change-related weather patterns and destructive floods and droughts.IFPRI’s estimates indicate that if we want to meet the rapidly growing food demand, cereal production will need to increase by 70 percent in the next four decades. Although the challenge is dire, there are reasons for optimism. The international community, governments, and the private sector are increasingly recognizing the centrality of agriculture, not only for human nutrition and health, but also as a basis of economic growth; and are providing much-needed investments in the sector... but what is missing is transparent evidence-based information to support decisions on technology adoption strategies. In 2011 IFPRI, in collaboration with Croplife International and other donors, launched a study to address these knowledge gaps and provide some clarity about benefits and risks associated with different options. By modeling technology-induced changes in crop yields for rice, maize, and wheat disaggregated to the pixel level, based on data collected across the globe, we hope to understand how different technologies affect not only productivity, but also food prices, trade flows, as well as calorie availability, especially for developing countries... 

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Total and per capita value of food loss in the United States - Buzby & Hyman (2012) - Food Pol

Total and per capita value of food loss in the United States - Buzby & Hyman (2012) - Food Pol | Food Policy | Scoop.it

There are few peer-reviewed or major published studies that estimate the total amount of food loss in developed countries and even fewer attempt to estimate the monetary value. We compiled estimates of the amount and value of food loss for more than 200 individual foods in the United States using the US Department of Agriculture’s Economic Research Service’s Loss-Adjusted Food Availability data and then aggregated these values to estimate the total value of food loss and the value by food group. The results indicate that in 2008, the estimated total value of food loss at the retail and consumer levels in the United States as purchased at retail prices was $165.6 billion. The top three food groups in terms of the value of food loss at these levels are: meat, poultry, and fish (41%); vegetables (17%); and dairy products (14%). Looking more closely at the estimates for the consumer level, this level of loss translates into almost 124 kg (273 lb) of food lost from human consumption, per capita, in 2008 at an estimated retail price of $390/capita/year. Food loss represents a significant share of household food expenditures: our estimates suggest that the annual value of food loss is almost 10% of the average amount spent on food per consumer in 2008 and over 1% of the average disposable income. This consumer level loss translates into over .3 kg (0.7 lb) of food per capita per day valued at $1.07/day. Our estimates of the total value of food loss in the United States and loss estimates by food group are useful in that they can generate awareness of the issue among the food industry members, governments, and consumers. Potential large-scale approaches and economic incentives to mitigate food loss in developed countries are also discussed.

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High Level Panel of Experts on Food Security and Nutrition of the Committee on World Food Security - FAO (2012)

High Level Panel of Experts on Food Security and Nutrition of the Committee on World Food Security - FAO (2012) | Food Policy | Scoop.it

HLPE reports: Social Protection for Food Security; Food Security and Climate Change; Price Volatility and Food Security; Land Tenure and International Investments in Agriculture. The High Level Panel of Experts (HLPE) on food security and nutrition has been created as part of the reform of the international governance of food security to advise the Committee on World Food Security (CFS) which is the foremost intergovernmental and international platform dealing with food security and nutrition. During 2009 the Committee on World Food Security went through a reform to make it more effective by including a wider group of stakeholders and increasing its ability to promote policies that reduce food insecurity. An important part of this reform was the creation of the HLPE to keep CFS up to date with world wide knowledge and abreast of emerging trends in food security. The HLPE should lead to more informed policy debates and improve the quality, effectiveness and coherence of food security and nutrition policies from local to international levels. 

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How the US farm bill could save both money and lives in Africa - ONE (2012)

How the US farm bill could save both money and lives in Africa - ONE (2012) | Food Policy | Scoop.it

... last summer in Western Kenya... local farmers were dealt a frustrating blow. They had a surplus of maize and no one to buy it, yet just 200 kilometers away, aid workers were feeding their fellow Kenyans corn shipped all the way from the American Midwest. “Why don’t they buy our corn?” they asked. Farmers in the crisis-stricken Sahel region — an arid band of land in West Africa just south of the Sahara that stretches across Mali, Niger, Burkina Faso and other countries — may be asking the same question right now. The perplexing answer has to do with the domestic politics of the U.S. Farm Bill. The Farm Bill is an unwieldy five-year bill dedicated to shaping the U.S. government’s policies and spending on energy, farm subsidies, food stamps, conservation policies, and international agricultural trade, which includes the largest donor food aid program in the world, known as “Food for Peace.” While Congress debates the bill, close to 16 million farmers and herders in the Sahel are facing an intense and life-threatening version of their annual “hunger season.” The crisis is being addressed in part — the World Food Program and others are keeping nearly 10 million people afloat with a combination of food, cash and animal fodder for herds. However, the remaining 6 million people are growing thinner, skipping meals and beginning to sell their cows, pails and hoes in an effort to survive. In order to close this gap in the short-term, donor countries must fulfill the UN’s appeal for humanitarian aid and link emergency aid with development assistance. By my back-of-the-envelope calculations, Congress has the opportunity to make changes to the Farm Bill that would allow U.S. food assistance to reach 6 million more people with the same amount of funding...

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The new ‘G’ on the block - Devex (2012)

The new ‘G’ on the block - Devex (2012) | Food Policy | Scoop.it

There’s the G-7, G-8, G-20 and G-77. Now meet the g07, which was born at last week’s Rio+20. The group comprises donor countries that have met or are on their way to meeting the internationally agreed target of spending 0.7 percent of their gross national incomes on development cooperation. It aims to raise awareness on that target and urge other donors to do more toward achieving the goal. As such, g07 is a really small group, with only Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Luxembourg and the United Kingdom so far making the cut. Christian Friis Bach, the Danish minister for development cooperation, spearheaded the creation of the g07. His country has consistently exceeded the target since 1978, eight years after the aid spending goal was set. “In spite of the fact that the world’s rich nations have had four decades to reach the target of providing 0.7 percent of GNI to development assistance, the network currently only consists of five countries,” Bach said in a June 22 press release. “We certainly do not hope that the g07 network will continue to [be] such an exclusive club and I would certainly celebrate any new country able to join the g07.”

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Sustainability & Resource Productivity - McKinsey (2012)

Sustainability & Resource Productivity - McKinsey (2012) | Food Policy | Scoop.it

In the coming decades, demand for resources is set to continue to rise precipitously even as supply constraints multiply, posing challenges for economic growth, the environment, and social well-being. Yet many of these challenges could be overcome if organizations were to adopt existing technologies and approaches—and invest in developing new ones—that improve resource productivity and increase sustainability. In launching McKinsey on Sustainability & Resource Productivity, our goal is to serve as a catalyst for action, presenting insights and approaches that organizations can use to seize the opportunity to transform how they manage resources and drive sustainable growth. Our research suggests that rapid economic development in emerging markets could bring as many as three billion more consumers into the middle class in the next 20 years, raising demand for a wide range of goods and the resources required to produce and use them. At the same time, supply constraints are multiplying. Inadequate production capacity, actual shortfalls, and political uncertainty are just a few factors that could make it more difficult to gain access to many resources. Prices for resources are likely to rise as a result, but they are also likely to be more volatile. And depletion of resources such as water and the planet’s carbon-carrying capacity could cause irreversible damage to the natural environment, in addition to posing threats to quality of life. But if the scale of the resource challenge is unprecedented, so, too, is the know-how available to address it. Existing solutions could dramatically alter current trends, and many technologies and approaches are verging on breakthroughs that could bring about transformational change. Battery and renewable generation technologies are improving at rapid rates, and companies are pursuing business-model innovations that enable them to increase efficiency across their value chains while delivering more sustainable products and services to their customers.

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Humanitarian leaders meet in Brussels to discuss Sahel crisis - Devex (2012)

Humanitarian leaders meet in Brussels to discuss Sahel crisis - Devex (2012) | Food Policy | Scoop.it

High-level officials from major donors and nongovernmental organizations will convene Monday, June 18, to explore solutions to lingering food and nutrition problems in Africa’s Sahel region... The meeting comes as hunger that could affect up to 18 million people across the region is expected to reach its peak in the coming weeks.

Moreover, the European Commission has announced additional humanitarian funding worth €40 million ($50.6 million) for the region. The money will be used to finance blanket feeding programs for children and to distribute food or money to the poorest households, according to a press release.

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African nations agree to put a price on nature - SciDev.Net (2012)

African nations agree to put a price on nature - SciDev.Net (2012) | Food Policy | Scoop.it

Ten African nations have pledged, ahead of Rio+20, to include the economic value of natural resources in their national accounts. Africa has taken the lead in the quest to persuade nations to include the full economic value of their natural resources in their national accounts, with the promise last month by ten of its nations to do so.

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Social protection for all: a “must” to achieve sustainable development and eradication of poverty - Piebalgs (2012) - EC Blog

Social protection for all: a “must” to achieve sustainable development and eradication of poverty - Piebalgs (2012) - EC Blog | Food Policy | Scoop.it

To most European citizens having easy and immediate access to medical services, to education, and to other forms of social protection, such as pensions or unemployment support, may seem like obvious rights. They protect us against sudden shocks like serious illness or natural disasters and life-cycle processes, such as ageing. Without this protective cushion most people would be condemned to a precarious existence with a constant risk of falling into poverty. Yet for millions of people in the world it would still be considered a luxury. Currently only 20 percent of the world’s working-age population have access to comprehensive social protection, including the basic ingredients of social security –income security and access to healthcare – , and only one third of the world’s countries (home to less than 30% of the world’s population) have comprehensive social protection systems. What’s more, developing countries spend a much smaller proportion of their budgets than advanced economies do on social protection and their budgets as a whole are, of course, much smaller. As a result the world’s poorest people are even more vulnerable and less able to cope with things like the financial crisis or rises in food prices.

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Quinoa mired in controversy - Crops for the Future (2012)

Quinoa mired in controversy - Crops for the Future (2012) | Food Policy | Scoop.it

The UN has recently declared 2013 the International Year of Quinoa turning the world’s attention on this native Andean grain, which has good nutritional value and a long history of use by native Andean communities. UN resolution 66/221 also hints at the income opportunities that have resulted from the strongly growing demand of quinoa in export markets, especially in the health food segment. In Bolivia, the main quinoa producing country, the export (FOB) value of quinoa was US$ 46 million in 2011, up from US$ 2 million in 2000, translating into an average annual growth rate of 33%! Quinoa’s success hasn’t all been plain sailing though. News of soaring domestic quinoa prices to levels at which poor Bolivians can no longer afford the “superfood”, have even been picked up by international media. However, complaints about the alienation of Andean people from their traditional diets mostly ignore that quinoa has never been a significant staple in the Andes and is inconvenient to use. Moreover, income from high-value export quinoa allows rural producers to diversify their diets in terms of greater meat and vegetable consumption. On a weight basis, quinoa is nutritionally superior to other common starchy grains in the Andes such as wheat and rice, but a dollar spent on these commodities, because of their much lower cost, buys significantly more protein, energy and even minerals. Much more worrisome than nutritional concerns seems to be the resource degradation believed by some to have accompanied the quinoa boom of the last few years, as described in a paper by Sven Jacobsen of the University of Copenhagen. His description of expansion of quinoa cultivation into unsuited and sloped land, the use of deep ploughing of fragile soils, and soil mining has been rebuked by Winkel et al. (2012), but it resonates with our own travel impressions and other reports of declining quinoa yields and increasing soil erosion in the Southern Bolivian Altiplano. Despite a growing perception of the decline in soil fertility of quinoa growing areas, commercially motivated demands abound that the “purity” of quinoa production be maintained, and that only organic fertilisers be used in quinoa production as required by “organic” quality standards in export markets. However, animal dung in the Altiplano is often scarce or unavailable, and because of shortened or non-existent fallow periods, it is plausible that there is net extraction of nutrients from the soil. It would be worth a study to determine, whether in the name of certified organic production methods so dear to distant quinoa consumers, the application of rational and science-based fertilisation practices -- including the use of mineral fertilisers to replenish nutrients removed by harvested produce -- is being prevented?

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Reducing Food Waste and Losses in the U.S. Food Supply - NRDC (2012)

Reducing Food Waste and Losses in the U.S. Food Supply - NRDC (2012) | Food Policy | Scoop.it

Food is simply too good to waste. Even the most sustainably farmed food does us no good if the food is never eaten. Getting food to our tables eats up 10 percent of the total U.S. energy budget, uses 50 percent of U.S. land, and swallows 80 percent of freshwater consumed in the United States. Yet, 40 percent of food in the United States today goes uneaten. That is more than 20 pounds of food per person every month. Not only does this mean that Americans are throwing out the equivalent of $165 billion each year, but also 25 percent of all freshwater and huge amounts of unnecessary chemicals, energy, and land. Moreover, almost all of that uneaten food ends up rotting in landfills where it accounts for almost 25 percent of U.S. methane emissions. Nutrition is also lost in the mix -- food saved by reducing losses by just 15 percent could feed more than 25 million Americans every year at a time when one in six Americans lack a secure supply of food to their tables. Given all the resources demanded for food production, it is critical to make sure that the least amount possible is needlessly squandered on its journey to our plates.

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FOOD: How bad is the crisis? - IRIN (2012)

FOOD: How bad is the crisis? - IRIN (2012) | Food Policy | Scoop.it

Lower output forecasts for US maize and soybeans and wheat from Russia in 2012/13 have been jumped on by the international media as evidence that a food crisis is almost certainly on the way. But a range of economists and food experts are also warning against overreaction that could create panic, causing governments to apply export controls that would restrict supplies of grains. This would affect markets and push prices still higher, they say... “The crisis is not here yet,” said Shenggen Fan, director of the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI). “But if droughts in India, Russia and a couple of other major food producers become worse, we will see continued tightened food supply. Trade restrictions by these countries will make the situation worse.” Barrett notes that “Ill-advised export bans by a major exporter” could cause wheat prices to jump. “Rice harvests and stocks on hand remain reasonably good, so those markets are calm. So long as those markets remain reasonably calm, we should avoid major social problems of the sort seen in 2008 and 2011.” The crises in 2007/08 and in 2010/11 were largely created by export bans. In his take on the 2007/08 crisis, Brian Wright, professor of agricultural and resource economics at the University of California, Berkeley, said grain supplies then were sufficient “to meet food demands without such great jumps in price, had exporters and importers not panicked”, leading to a cascade of export bans and taxes that cut off importers from their usual suppliers.

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China firm eyes controversial 58-sq-mile Australia farm project - Reuters (2012)

A Chinese property conglomerate is bidding for a 58-sq-mile (15,000-hectare) farming project in the Australian outback as Canberra looks to open the remote north for farming to tap booming demand for food from Asia, especially China. Shanghai Zhongfu Group is bidding for the Ord East Kimberley Expansion project in Western Australia state, with plans to develop agriculture business in the sub-tropical region, but may face opposition from politicians increasingly concerned about foreign investment in Australian farms... China, the world's most populous country, does not grow enough food to feed its 1.4 billion people, and central planners have long worried that the lack of self-sufficiency leaves the country vulnerable to sharp fluctuations in international prices for soybeans, grains and other edible commodities... Some Chinese companies have responded by attempting to acquire land overseas to grow crops for export back to China, in some cases sparking local unease over the threat of a Chinese land-grab... Australia outlined its ambition to become the food bowl for Asia in its first draft National Food Plan last week... 

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Bioenergy: Opportunities and Limits - German National Academy of Sciences (2012)

Bioenergy: Opportunities and Limits - German National Academy of Sciences (2012) | Food Policy | Scoop.it

In a statement on the chances and limits of using bioenergy, the German National Academy of Sciences Leopoldina has come to the conclusion that in quantitative terms, bioenergy plays a minor role in the transition to renewable, sustainable energy sources in Germany at the present time and probably in the future. Bioenergy requires more surface area, is associated with higher greenhouse gas emissions and is more harmful to the environment than other renewable sources such as photovoltaic, solar thermal energy and wind energy. In addition, energy crops potentially compete with food crops. The report recommends finding strategies for saving energy and increasing energy efficiency. The Leopoldina’s statement “Bioenergy – Chances and Limits” was compiled by a working group of more than 20 expert scientists established in 2010. The report provides recommendations for using bioenergy, defined as energy obtained from burning of non-fossil plant biomass or biofuels derived primarily from biomass. The statement also outlines under which conditions the utilization of bioenergy is appropriate and what kind of technologies are currently available or are being developed to convert biomass into biofuels such as bioethanol and biodiesel. In addition, it introduces various scientific approaches aimed at producing hydrogen from water in a sustainable and environmentally friendly manner.

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Innovation and R&D 'key to meeting rising food demands' - SciDev.Net (2012)

Innovation and R&D 'key to meeting rising food demands' - SciDev.Net (2012) | Food Policy | Scoop.it

Developing nations must invest heavily in agricultural innovation, particularly research and development (R&D), if rising food demands are to be met, according to... OECD-FAO Agricultural Outlook 2012-2021 report... over the next 40 years, agricultural production must increase by 60 per cent — equivalent to one billion additional tonnes of cereals and 200 million extra tonnes of meat per year — in order to meet global demands. This will require strengthening agricultural innovation systems, particularly in the developing world, where most countries do not yet have innovation policies, but where the highest rates of agricultural growth will occur. 

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Agriculture and the green economy: the view from Rio+20 - Points of View - New Agriculturist (2012)

Agriculture and the green economy: the view from Rio+20 - Points of View - New Agriculturist (2012) | Food Policy | Scoop.it

With the global population predicted to reach 9 billion by 2050, combined with the trend towards more affluent lifestyles, the need for economic growth is a given. But how to balance that growth with the already precarious state of our natural resource base? At the Rio+20 Earth Summit, the development of a green economy was a central theme, with the agriculture sector pressing its case to be at the heart of that process. But is the notion of a green economy any different from the concept of sustainable development, and what role should agriculture play in achieving it? There is currently much talk of sustainable intensification, as the means to boost food production while protecting natural resources, such as land, water and energy. But what does this mean in practice, and where should investment be targeted to capitalise on the most promising opportunities?

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Insights 2-2 - IFPRI (2012)

Insights 2-2 - IFPRI (2012) | Food Policy | Scoop.it

What's Behind the Palm Oil Boom, is it feeding people or cars? /#/ Crowd Cartography, mapping global cropland /#/ Power in Numbers, measuring women’s empowerment /#/ A Root Cause, more nutritious cassava makes its debut /#/ Going Big, lessons on scaling up development projects /#/ Mapping African Agriculture, a wealth of data comes online /#/ Talking with Jikun Huang, the director of the Center for Chinese Agricultural Policy /#/ From Bartering to Bidding, Ethiopia’s growing commodity exchange /#/ Building a Future, Yemen turns to the challenge of reducing poverty and hunger /#/ When Medicine Is Not Enough, enlisting food and nutrition in the fight against HIV/AIDS /#/ Development in Reverse, moving to less productive forms of employment /#/ Measuring the Spending Gap, agricultural research to meet the world's food needs /#/ Farming Smarter, conservation agriculture is increasingly common /#/ Farming for the Long Haul, how conservation agriculture works

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European Commissioners underline importance of sustainable and inclusive agriculture in fighting poverty - EC (2012)

"About 500 million smallholdings of less than 2 hectares provide a living and food for 2 billion people in Asia and in Africa. Imagine what even a small gain of productivity multiplied by half a billion could mean for food security at global level. Increasing agricultural productivity needs long term commitments, followed steadily by national governments, private sector as well as international donors. Sustainable agriculture is not a luxury but a necessity. It concerns us all, whether we live in Europe, or on any other place on Earth", stated Dacian Cioloş, EU Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development in the opening of the event. "Agriculture and food security are pivotal in driving growth. There is an obvious link between our natural resource base and lifting people out of poverty. Addressing poverty is about access to safe drinking water, sufficient, healthy and nutritious food, sustainable energy and a safe and healthy environment. The green economy cannot take off unless crucial resources such as water, energy and land are well managed and sustainable economic activity in these areas is allowed to prosper. That is why sustainable agriculture is a top priority in the European Union's Agenda for Change", underlined Andris Piebalgs, EU Commissioner for Development in his key note speech.

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State of Play on Biofuel Subsidies: Are policies ready to shift? - Gerasimchuk &al (2012) - IISD

This paper summarizes and discusses policy literature on the state of play of the over US$ 20 billion in subsidies for biofuel production and consumption: Why are governments subsidizing biofuels? What are the actual impacts? Is there a need for change? In particular, it examines the influence of three dynamic factors on the biofuels debate: the “food versus fuel” debate, advanced biofuels developments and the austerity policies necessitated by the financial and economic crisis.

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Rio+20 and a Green Economy - Fan (2012) - On Line Opinion

Rio+20 and a Green Economy - Fan (2012) - On Line Opinion | Food Policy | Scoop.it

One of the critical issues in the upcoming discussions at the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20) will be food security in a "green economy." In such an economy, the pursuit of growth is reconciled with sustainable development through increased resource-use efficiency, with the ultimate objective of simultaneously promoting economic development, environmental protection, and social welfare... This raises important questions, which are addressed in a recent IFPRI policy brief: What are the implications of a green economy for the poor and hungry? And what role can agriculture play?... The following eight policy actions are recommended: 1) Integrate food and nutrition security into sustainable development; 2) Factor in full costs and benefits of natural resources in decisionmaking to improve efficiency of natural resource use and to decrease postharvest losses and food waste; 3) Establish social protection systems to protect the poor when food prices go up; 4) Ensure open trade so countries can exploit the comparative advantages of their natural resource endowments; 5) Promote innovations in biological sciences, food technologies, and natural resource use that prioritize the needs of smallholders in developing countries; 6) Identify new indicators to evaluate impacts and policy implications of a green economy; 7) Establish local capacities for strategy development in the relevant sectors; and 8) Engage multiple stakeholders including smallholders, and both the public and private sector.

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