Eight ways to halt a global food crisis

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Posted by admin | Posted in Agri Knowledge, Farming | Posted on 15-07-2019

Stockr/Shutterstock.com

Michael Hamm, University of Oxford

There are serious challenges to global food supply everywhere we look. Intensive use of fertilisers in the US Midwest is causing nutrients to run off into rivers and streams, degrading the water quality and causing a Connecticut-size dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico. Chocolate production will soon be challenged in West Africa – home to over half of global production. A variety of nutritional impacts are predicted due to increased atmospheric carbon dioxide – including decreased protein content in food, which has a potential to exacerbate malnutrition. And this is just a very small sample of the risks to the food supply chain that are foreseen.

The future of food then, may sound rather bleak. But this does not have to be the case. The food system could become part of the solution for environmental challenges, if we make some changes to it. It could also be an instrument of human health, well-being, dignity, and livelihood – rather than the opposite. Read the rest of this entry »

Healthy soil is the real key to feeding the world

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Posted by admin | Posted in Agri Knowledge, Farming, Food Security | Posted on 03-04-2018

 Planting a diverse blend of crops and cover crops, and not tilling, helps promote soil health.
Catherine Ulitsky, USDA/Flickr, CC BY

David R. Montgomery, University of Washington

One of the biggest modern myths about agriculture is that organic farming is inherently sustainable. It can be, but it isn’t necessarily. After all, soil erosion from chemical-free tilled fields undermined the Roman Empire and other ancient societies around the world. Other agricultural myths hinder recognizing the potential to restore degraded soils to feed the world using fewer agrochemicals.

When I embarked on a six-month trip to visit farms around the world to research my forthcoming book, “Growing a Revolution: Bringing Our Soil Back to Life,” the innovative farmers I met showed me that regenerative farming practices can restore the world’s agricultural soils. In both the developed and developing worlds, these farmers rapidly rebuilt the fertility of their degraded soil, which then allowed them to maintain high yields using far less fertilizer and fewer pesticides. Read the rest of this entry »

Cereal Killer: Wheat Blast Haunts the Global Dinner Table

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Posted by admin | Posted in Agri Knowledge, Farming, Food Security | Posted on 07-08-2017

A deadly fungus jumped two oceans, from South America to Bangladesh. India and China could be next, and U.S. scientists are on guard.

August 1, 2017 by Aaron Levin

Alone in a field of deep green, the bleached yellow head of a single winter wheat plant jarred the experienced eye of an agronomist walking through a test plot in Princeton, Kentucky in May 2011.

DNA testing at the University of Kentucky confirmed the bad news: The plant had wheat blast, a disease that can drastically reduce a farmer’s yield, and for which little natural resistance is known. Magnaporthe oryzae, the fungus that causes it, had never been seen on wheat in the United States outside of a biosafety-level 3 lab. Read the rest of this entry »

Organic farming matters – just not in the way you think

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Posted by admin | Posted in Agri Knowledge, Farming, Food Security | Posted on 15-03-2017

Looks good, tastes good, but can it feed the world?

Verena Seufert, University of British Columbia and Navin Ramankutty, University of British Columbia

Is organic agriculture the solution to our global food system challenges? That’s been the premise and promise of the organic movement since its origins in the 1920s: farming that’s healthy, ecological, and socially just.

Many people – from consumers and farmers to scientists and international organisations – believe that organic agriculture can produce enough nutritious food to feed the world without destroying the environment, while being more resilient to climate change and improving the livelihoods of farmers.

But as with many important issues of our time, there are more passionate opinions about organic agriculture than there is scientific evidence to support them. And there’s nothing black or white about organic agriculture. Read the rest of this entry »