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FAO - News Article: Food wastage: Key facts and figures

FAO - News Article: Food wastage: Key facts and figures | Organic farming |

Via Ciheam Bari FTN Press-Review
Ciheam Bari FTN Press-Review's curator insight, November 29, 2013 5:49 AM

Food wastage: Key facts and figures

- The global volume of food wastage is estimated at 1.6 billion tonnes of "primary product equivalents." Total food wastage for the edible part of this amounts to 1.3 billion tonnes.

- Food wastage's carbon footprint is estimated at 3.3 billion tonnes of CO2 equivalent of GHG released into the atmosphere per year.

- The total volume of water used each year to produce food that is lost or wasted (250km3) is equivalent to the annual flow of Russia's Volga River, or three times the volume of Lake Geneva.

- Similarly, 1.4 billion hectares of land - 28 percent of the world's agricultural area - is used annually to produce food that is lost or wasted.

- Agriculture is responsible for a majority of threats to at-risk plant and animal species tracked by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.

- A low percentage of all food wastage is composted: much of it ends up in landfills, and represents a large part of municipal solid waste. Methane emissions from landfills represents one of the largest sources of GHG emissions from the waste sector.

- Home composting can potentially divert up to 150 kg of food waste per household per year from local collection authorities.

- Developing countries suffer more food losses during agricultural production, while in middle- and high-income regions, food waste at the retail and consumer level tends to be higher.

- The direct economic consequences of food wastage (excluding fish and seafood) run to the tune of $750 billion annually.

Rescooped by Govarthanan Narasimhan from Organic Farming!

Ultra High Density Plantation

 A farmer from Sivaganga District, Tamil Nadu  India has gone in for UHDP of mango trees . Drip irrigation, fertigation and scientific pruning at later stages will reward the farmer by high yields.

Mangoes are supposed to be good foreign exchange earners and India can  boast of having some exclusive varieties which cannot be found anywhere.

Via Giri Kumar
Govarthanan Narasimhan's insight:

Very good article

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Israeli Ag Biotech Firm Developing Non-GM Yield Enhanced Varieties

Israeli Ag Biotech Firm Developing Non-GM Yield Enhanced Varieties | Organic farming |

November 17/Reuters) -- Kaiima Bio-Agritech , a Galilee-based enterprise that aims to boost global crop yields without the aid of genetic modification, says it will sow its first commercial seeds within three years.

Based at Moshav Sarona near Tiberias, the seed technology firm says it has developed a way to greatly speed up the multiplication of the genome of crops – known as genome doubling – without changing their DNA or genetic fingerprint. It is, they say, as if a piece of string were thickened into a rope by adding more fiber of the same material, making it stronger and more durable. In agriculture, it means enhancing seeds so that they produce more plentiful and robust crops.

Kaiima has kept secret how it has achieved its breakthrough, and says it has filed a number of patents worldwide. Independent experts declined to comment on the work, saying they did not have enough details.

In a tour of Kaiima’s experimental crop fields in northern Israel, company officials displayed examples of what they said were crops improved by its new technique.

Kaiima CEO Doron Gal said that, by 2050, farmers will need to meet the “daunting challenge” of producing 70 percent more food than they do currently to sustain a growing world population. Kaiima - the company name comes from the Hebrew word for sustainability - said that, by 2016, it expects to be able to deliver the basis for producing seeds for enhanced wheat, corn and rice for food, and castor for biofuel and biopolymer production.

Israel is considered a world leader in agricultural technology development, with irrigation techniques, hothouses and computerized animal-feeding systems among leading exported products, the Israel Export Institute said. Income from agritech exports in 2011 amounted to $3.4 billion - out of a total of $91.7 billion in Israeli exports for that year - according to official figures.

Kaiima, founded in 2007, said last September that it had raised some $65 million in equity from international investors. It does not have any plans for an IPO in the foreseeable future.

“Our plan is for this funding to finance our operation through 2016, when we are going to be able to bring our product to the market ... we will produce seeds together with partners that will be similar in price to regular seeds,” Gal said.

Genome doubling evolves in nature, but only over thousands of years. Scientists have, since the 1940s, been trying to speed up the process, but had not been able to avoid damage to a crop’s core characteristics. Gal said Kaiima had managed to achieve a crop’s stability by respecting the integrity of its original DNA. Kaiima expects that its technology will result in an initial 25% improvement in crop yields.

Asked about Kaiima’s breakthrough claim, five experts in the field of agricultural genetics at leading Israeli academic institutions declined to comment, saying they did not have enough information about the company’s work. One scientist confirmed Gal’s statement that attempts to speed up genome doubling had been tried for decades, but added that neither he nor any other researcher he knew of had managed to unlock the secret for doing it successfully.

Stronger plants have been developed during genome-doubling attempts in the past, but Gal said their lack of genetic stability meant they could not produce seeds for subsequent generations. Kaiima’s main center is based in a cluster of portable cabins in a cooperative farming community on the road between Kibbutz Degania and Kfar Tavor. The company has taken over a number of fields at various locations in the area for its crop experiments.

In its rice crop trial Kaiima planted seed variants, and breeders picked out the best results to continue laboratory work on the most successful strains.

Alon Lerner, Kaiima’s senior breeder, displayed an enhanced yield of bigger plants and grains. He said they had received the same amount of water and nutrition as crops to which the technology had not been applied.

Kaiima’s recent cash injection has come from three new investors: Horizons Ventures, which manages the private technology investments of Asia’s richest man, Li Ka-shing; the World Bank’s private sector arm, International Finance Corp. (IFC); and Infinity Group, a China-focused private equity fund. It also received new funds from existing investors, including DFJ Tamir Fishman, Mitsui, KPCB, Oberlee and Musea Ventures.

Kaiima's EP™ (Enhanced Ploidy) technology works by multiplying the plant genome without damaging its DNA – it is rapid and its products are not transgenic. EP™ has been successfully demonstrated in several different species from algae – to trees.

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