Howard G. Buffett recently published a great article about his view of conservation agriculture and its importance for the future in which he is addressing ten common myths of conservation agriculture when applied to smallholder farmers.
In a world where some countries will experience temperature peaks over 45-50°C, finding crops and vegetation that can deal with such heat stress will be a struggle. There may in fact be a limit to how much we’ll be able to adapt. But there are things we can do that make us armed enough to tackle the climate challenge. One of these things is looking at what climate smart agriculture can offer smallholder farmers.
Can you imagine farmers in the field putting down their sickles, and picking up their smart phones? It’s happening. Mobile phones, internet cafés and sophisticated satellite devices are now literally everywhere.Read here a brief, well documented, piece of information on agriculture 2.0
The European Commission proposes a fund that would support Member State schemes providing food to the most deprived people and clothing and other essential goods to homeless people and materially-deprived children in the EU. The EC proposes a budget of €2.5 billion for the Fund for the period 2014-2020. Member States would be responsible for paying 15% of the costs of their national programmes, with the remaining 85% coming from the Fund.
The MAP (Better Conditions for Productivity) program of the IDB will support two activities and two research projects as the winners of the MAP Third Call for Proposals. The awarded projects will improve risk management in the agricultural sector, helping to develop new financial instruments, such as insurance products or rural credit portfolio analysis, in order to mitigate food security risks, improve income stability, and promote productive investments. The MAP also seeks to conduct research and activities that provide lessons and best practices through nuanced and sound impact evaluation and cost benefit analysis. Thus, the projects awarded will provide important lessons for public policy making.
One of the selected projects takes place in Mexico:
Technology Guarantee Program: "How to improve the productivity of maize in Mexico"
The Mexican institution Fideicomisos Instituidos en Relación con la Agricultura (FIRA) will provide adequate risk management and improved productivity of maize producers through a Technological Guarantee Program (Programa de Garantías Tecnológicas, PGT). This innovative program combines three major components: investment financing, technical assistance for technological change and a basic income guarantee. In order to extract relevant policy lessons an impact evaluation of the program will be conducted by the MIT Poverty Action Lab team.
You’re in the supermarket eyeing a basket of sweet, juicy plums. You reach for the conventionally grown stone fruit, then decide to spring the extra $1/pound for its organic cousin. You figure you’ve just made the healthier decision by choosing the organic product — but new findings from Stanford University cast some doubt on your thinking.
A team of Stanford did the most comprehensive meta-analysis to date of existing studies comparing organic and conventional foods. They did not find strong evidence that organic foods are more nutritious or carry fewer health risks than conventional alternatives, though consumption of organic foods can reduce the risk of pesticide exposure.
Barbados will host this year’s XV Inter-American Microenterprise Forum (Foromic 2012), the biggest annual microfinance and microenterprise development event in Latin America and the Caribbean.More than 1,000 participants are expected to attend Foromic, which for the first time ever will be held in an English-speaking Caribbean country.
The event this year will focus on innovative ways to unlock entrepreneurship and will take place in Bridgetown October 1–3. It is being organized by the Multilateral Investment Fund (MIF), a member of the IDB Group, in collaboration with the Government of Barbados.
Interesting article on crowdsourcing development data and collective intelligence.
Data collection in development projects has been impacted by the new crowdsourcing trends. With its emergence a new door opens to generate ideas and develop projects using what some call collective intelligence. Today, this collective intelligence is used by NGOs, multilateral organizations and many governments around the world, allowing them to instantly collect real data that would take years or would be impossible to collect if they used conventional methodologies.
FAO makes a strong statement towards blending small/scale local food and large production for food security purposes. Each of them has its own purpose, value and beneficiaries. This is a great statement to support and ease the understanding of both systems coexistence.
TEXCOCO (Reuters) - Carlos Slim and Bill Gates, the two richest men on the planet, inaugurated a new agricultural research center outside Mexico's capital, touting the millions they have donated to bolster...
Voters are counting on the next president to find a solution to the country's alarming rise in organised crime.
This interactive features shows temporal and spatial data on drug-related deaths in Mexico since 2007. Also connected are profiles of the presidential candidates of the three major political parties (PRI, PAN and PRD) and with their platform on drugs and ways to curtail the accompanying violence. Mexico's presidents can only hold office for one term, but it is a six-year term...2012 isn't just about Obama and Romney.
After years of negotiation, Iceland was able to declare a full victory in the Icesave dispute. The EFTA Court announced some days ago that the Icelandic state had won both cases filed against it by the EFTA Surveillance Authority.
Find in Iceland Review a list of important events in the saga 2008-2013.
Once shuttered off by tariffs and trade controls, Mexico has opened up to become a place where the world does business. Each year Mexico exports manufactured goods to about the same value as the rest of Latin America put together. Mexico has become indeed a popular place for entrepreneurs in recent years. Venture capital firms are popping up quickly, and the country’s economy is developing at a relatively rapid pace. Now, crowdsourcing is expanding as a cheap, quick and efficient way to raise funds for every kind of business.
Crowdfunder, a business crowdfunding platform and social media network for entrepreneurs and
investors, recently expanded into Mexico with the launch of Crowdfunder.mx.
New FAO report focuses on investments in developing countries, urging caution on large-scale land acquisitions.
International investments that give local farmers an active role and leave them in control of their land have the most positive effects on local economies and social development, according to a new FAO report published today.
The report, Trends and Impacts of Foreign Investment in Developing Country Agriculture, emphasizes that investment projects that combine the strengths of the investor (capital, management and marketing expertise, and technology) with those of local farmers (labour, land, local knowledge) are most successful.
IDB launches new version of INTrade with access to information about tariffs and trade agreements. It is the most complete trade information system in the region.
The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) launched a new version of the INTrade portal, with an enhanced design and user-friendly structure for easy access to content that will help companies and countries in Latin America and the Caribbean navigate through complex trade agreements to find new markets for their products.
INTrade is a free web-based tool that combines information on integration agreements in the region, trade statistics, and indicators that measure the export performance of Latin America and the Caribbean.
A new IDB study examines successful strategies adopted by dozens of pioneering exporters of goods and services
Latin American companies that took a bold, early plunge into China are providing a valuable roadmap for scores of smaller firms that are eager to follow their example, according to a new study published by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) that explores the successful strategies used to tap one of the world’s largest and most dynamic markets.
“Pathways To China: The Story of Latin American Firms in the Chinese Market,” looks at the challenges of investing in China and shows how companies from the region are boosting exports and linking up with global supply chains there.
IDB launches call for innovative solutions and disruptive ideas to benefit people with disabilities in Latin America and the Caribbean.
Call for solutions for the labor inclusion of people-with a focus on gender-with disabilities in Latin America and the Caribbean. More inclusive, more responsible and more competitive firms through technology and innovation.Call for ideas that can break those barriers that limit the labor inclusion of women and men with disabilities.
The Inter-American Development Bank, through the competitiveness and Innovation Division’s Innovation Lab, is launching two international calls for proposals to benefit people with disabilities in Latin America and the Caribbean, based on a methodology called “crowdsourcing,” a process whereby certain activities are outsourced through a crowd of people (usually in dispersed locations) that respond to a call to try and solve a problem. This initiative is financed by the Italian Trust Fund on Information and Communication Technologies for Development.
Deadline for proposals submission is December 31, 2012.
The US, Denmark, France, the Netherlands and Spain are amongst the most food secure countries in the world, according to the Economist Intelligence Unit’s Global Food Security Index recently released.
The index deepens the dialogue on food security by examining the core issues of food affordability, availability, and quality across a set of 105 developed and developing countries worldwide.
Food systems today are under severe and increasing strains from population pressures, high input prices, changing consumer patterns and dramatic weather and price shocks. In this context, the Global Food Security Index looks beyond hunger to examine the underlying factors and key risks affecting food security in a structured, rigorous framework. The index is a dynamic benchmarking model that uses quantitative and qualitative indicators to provide a standard against which countries can be measured.
Urgent action is needed to ensure rising world food prices don't turn into a catastrophe, the United Nations said Tuesday, but it cautioned that panic buying and export restrictions aren't the solution.Summer droughts have scorched crops across the globe, causing sharp increases in the price of corn, wheat and soybeans, and raising fears of a repeat of the 2007-08 world food crisis. Such problems could be prevented by swift, coordinated international action, the Food and Agriculture Organization, World Food Program and International Fund for Agricultural Development said.
The agencies said sustainable food production must be promoted in poor, food-importing countries to make more food available in local markets and to provide jobs and income. The fact that one-third of food produced is wasted or lost to spoilage and damage also needs to be addressed, they added.
The U.N. agencies said in a joint statement that adverse weather has driven all three international food-price spikes in the past five years, while increased financial speculation and diversion of stock for nonfood purposes also have contributed to increased prices and volatility. Food-price inflation climbed toward the top of the international agenda after hitting successive record highs in early 2011.
The FAO, WFP and IFAD said two interconnected problems must be tackled: the immediate issue of high food prices, which can weigh on import-dependent countries and the poorest people; and the long-term issue of how food is produced, traded and consumed in an age of increasing population, demand and climate change.
The three agencies said the world is vulnerable to food-price shocks because global grain production is barely sufficient to meet growing demands for food, feed and fuel, even in a good year. They said that risk stems from only a handful of nations being large producers of staple food commodities, and when they are affected, so is everyone else.
For those concerned with development and Africa, the three big questions during the EU budget negotiations are: “how much money is going to be available?”, “what is it going to be for?” and “which countries are going to get it?”.
One year has passed since the EU institutions started the cycle of negotiations for its next multiannual financial framework (MFF) covering the period 2014-2020. A key round of talks took place last week. Negotiations between Member States’ ministers are mostly centred on the “big ticket items” of spending inside the EU – Cohesion Policy and the Common Agricultural Policy – and not the relatively smaller part of external action, which currently makes up 6.8% of the proposed budget. Nevertheless, progress in the discussions about expenditure for external action, falling under “Heading 4 – EU as a global player”, has been achieved.