Climate change is affecting crop yields and reducing global food supplies

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Posted by admin | Posted in Agri Knowledge, Climate Change, Food Security | Posted on 10-07-2019

Farm land near Holly Bluff, Miss., covered with backwater flooding, May 23, 2019. AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis

Deepak Ray, University of Minnesota

Farmers are used to dealing with weather, but climate change is making it harder by altering temperature and rainfall patterns, as in this year’s unusually cool and wet spring in the central U.S. In a recently published study, I worked with other scientists to see whether climate change was measurably affecting crop productivity and global food security.

To analyze these questions, a team of researchers led by the University of Minnesota’s Institute on the Environment spent four years collecting information on crop productivity from around the world. We focused on the top 10 global crops that provide the bulk of consumable food calories: Maize (corn), rice, wheat, soybeans, oil palm, sugarcane, barley, rapeseed (canola), cassava and sorghum. Roughly 83 percent of consumable food calories come from just these 10 sources. Other than cassava and oil palm, all are important U.S. crops. Read the rest of this entry »

The State of Food and Agriculture: 2018

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Posted by admin | Posted in Food Security, United Nations | Posted on 15-09-2018

The State of Food and Agriculture: 2018
Migration, agriculture and rural development

Can investments influence people’s decisions about whether to migrate? Can policies maximize the positive impacts of migration while minimizing the negative ones?

SOFA 2018 looks at how internal and international migratory flows link to economic development, demographic change, and natural-resource pressure. The report provides a thorough analysis of the factors in rural areas which contribute to migration decisions and recommends tailored policy and investment responses to make migration work for all.

Digital Report | Full Report In Brief | Flyer | E-Book MOBI | EPUB Read the rest of this entry »

Why developing countries should boost the ways of small-scale farming

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Posted by admin | Posted in Agri Extension, Agri Knowledge, Climate Change, Food Security | Posted on 02-09-2018

A diversity of seeds on sale in Nanyuki market, Kenya. K Dekeyser

Rachel Wynberg, University of Cape Town and Laura Pereira, Stellenbosch University

Industrial agriculture – farming that involves the intensive production of livestock, poultry, fish and crops – is one of the most environmentally destructive forms of land use. It depends on mechanisation and on inputs like synthetic fertiliser and harmful pesticides and herbicides and has led to widespread contamination of soil and water. It also relies on just a few major crops like wheat, maize, soybean and rice, the seeds of which are owned by a mere handful of companies.

A different approach to agriculture is sorely needed. This should, ideally, deliver household food security, ensure sustainable livelihoods and produce quality nutrition in a rapidly changing climate.

Developing countries that are industrialising at a pace are uniquely placed to avoid developing a dependency on one type of technological innovation at the expense of others. This is what is known as technological lock-in, with industrial agriculture being one form of lock-in. Such countries are also well placed to establish alternative ways to grow food that maximise livelihoods and sustainable food production. 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 »

We don’t need to double world food production by 2050 – here’s why

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Posted by admin | Posted in Agri Knowledge, Agri Sci, Food Security | Posted on 15-04-2017

New research challenges the assumption that world food production must double by 2050 to keep up with demand. The authors call for more focus on conservation through measures such as these diverse winter cover crops planted on a Pennsylvania dairy farm. Mitch Hunter, Author provided

Mitch Hunter, Pennsylvania State University

For decades, American agriculture has been a paragon of productivity, churning out record crops at a steady clip. We have exported both our farm products and our way of farming around the world, and global production has risen relentlessly.

Yet now there is concern that even this is not enough. The United Nations projects that the global population will increase from 7.3 billion in 2015 to 9.7 billion in 2050. This growth will be concentrated in the world’s poorest countries, where standards of living are set to rise rapidly, increasing demand for resource-intensive meat and dairy products. Together, these trends are heightening fears that the world’s cupboards may run bare in the coming decades. Read the rest of this entry »