Food & Agriculture

The Global Economy of Pulses: Impressive Gains and the Way Forward

Pulses are highly nutritious and their consumption is associated with many health benefits. They are rich in proteins and minerals, high in fibre and have a low fat content. Pulses are produced by plants of the Leguminosae family. These plants have root nodules that absorb inert nitrogen from soil air and convert it into biologically useful ammonia, a process referred to as biological nitrogen fixation. Consequently, the pulse crops do not need any additional nitrogen as fertilizer and help reduce the requirement of fossil fuel-based chemical nitrogen fertilization for other crops. Expansion of pulse production, therefore, can play a vital role in mitigating the effects of climate change.

Will Artificial Intelligence Help Resolve the Food Crisis?

When UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres made a global appeal for “zero hunger” on World Food Day last month, he provided some grim statistics rich in irony: more than 820 million people do not have enough to eat, he said, while two billion people are overweight or obese.

Rock Glaciers Supply Water to Highlands Communities in Argentina

In Argentina's Puna region, at 4,000 metres above sea level, the color green is rare in the arid landscape, which is dominated by different shades of brown and yellow. In this inhospitable environment, daily life has improved thanks to a system of piping water downhill from rock glaciers to local communities.

Nearly Half of Nepali Children Still Malnourished

For the first two decades after 1990, Nepal took great strides in reducing malnutrition. But progress has stalled.

Italy’s Olive-Oil Industry Sees Simmering Threats from Climate Change and Nasty Bacteria

On a warm Saturday morning in late October, the silver-green leaves of the 200 productive olive trees on a rolling country property in Umbria, in central Italy, sparkled in the brilliant sun. Fausto Venturi, a local farmer who devotes autumn weekends to making olive oil, could not have been happier.

Burkina Faso: Climate Change Triggers Rural Exodus

Ibrahim Harouna and his neighbours sit under a tree at his uncle’s house, playing chess and chatting amid the simmering heat of Ouagadougou, the capital of Burkina Faso.

The Fight for Bread Became a Fight for Freedom

My name is Alaa Salah. I am 22 years old and I grew up in Khartoum. Before the revolution, I was a student of architectural engineering. I did not grow up around politics, but in an ordinary middle-class family—my mother is a designer and my father owns a construction company.

How Can We All Hear That the World is on Fire?

The annual rhythm of the United Nations year peaks with the General Assembly in September. One month on, it’s a good time to reflect on this year’s gathering which was remarkable for its focus on fighting climate change, the transforming effect of one 16 year old girl telling it like it is, and the way people heard her words in a way they haven’t heard before.

Mother Earth’s Café Dares Climate Crises in India

The sun has barely risen when Phlida Kharshala shakes her 8-year-old grandson awake. He hoists an empty cone-shaped bamboo basket on his back, sets the woven strap flat across his forehead and off they go into the wilderness.

Climate Change to Further Escalate Violence in Western Africa

Nearly 50 million people in west Africa rely on agriculture and livestock for their livelihood but the land available for pastoral use has been rapidly shrinking.

Nutrition – the Best Investment for a Developing Africa

There is evident correlation between countries with high levels of children under five years of age who are stunted or wasted and the existence of political instability and/or frequent exposure to natural calamities, experts say. But current food systems in Africa are not addressing nutrition because of the combination of poor investment in the agriculture value chain, inadequate policies and lack of accountability in addressing malnutrition.

Insurance Scheme Offers Hope for Drought-stricken African Farmers

A partnership between United Nations and African Union (AU) agencies will help African economies insure themselves against the droughts and other extreme weather events that plague the continent, organisers say.

Agro-tech Offers Answers for African Farmers at Iowa Meet

Experts vaunted new strains of seeds, drone aircraft and other technological breakthroughs as solutions-in-the-making for farmers in Africa, where hunger, drought and food price hikes are continent-wide problems.

Displaced by the Desert: An expanding Sahara leaves Broken Families and Violence in its Wake

Abdoulaye Maiga proudly displays an album showing photos of him and his family during happier times when they all lived together in their home in northern Mali. Today, these memories seem distant and painful.

Ghana’s Grains and Groundnuts Face Increasing Contamination Amid Increasing Temperatures

Adwoa Frimpomaah, a smallholder farmer from Dandwa, a farming community in Nkoranza, in Ghana's Bono East Region, and her two children have been consuming insect-infested and discoloured grains produced from their three-acre farm.

Let Plants be Thy Medicine – You Are What You Eat

United Nations World Food Day is celebrated around the world on October 16 under the theme: “Our Actions ARE Our Future. Healthy Diets for a Zero Hunger World”. This theme is timely, especially, because across Africa and around the world, there has been a gradual rise in malnutrition and diet-related non communicable diseases, as highlighted in The Lancet study and a United Nations Report published earlier this year.

Global Challenges for the ‘NextGen’

Success has many parents – so the saying goes. In the case of the massive successes of international agricultural research, no one person can claim parentage. There are heroes along the way such as Norman Borlaug and his early cereal breeding, and the team that eliminated the cattle disease Rinderpest from the world – smallpox is the only other disease that has been totally eradicated. Another is the founder of The Crawford Fund, Derek Tribe, who was also instrumental in the creation of what is now the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI), which I chair. However, it would be more correct to highlight the thousands of scientists who have contributed to the world’s greatest feat of feeding an extra three billion people when pundits said it was impossible.

A Major Step Forward in Reducing Food Loss and Waste is Critical to Achieve the SDGs

A new FAO report launched today by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization provides insights into how much food is lost - as well as where and why - at different stages of the food supply chain, calls for informed decisions for an effective reduction and offers new ways to measure progress.

Stop the Waste: UN Food Agencies Call for Action to Reduce Global Hunger

With one-third of food produced for human consumption lost or wasted, and millions still going hungry, the UN’s food-related agencies are shining a spotlight on the issue: on Monday, the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) published its annual State of Food and Agriculture report with findings that could lead to a reduction in food loss and waste, and, earlier in October, the World Food Programme (WFP) launched its awareness-raising #StopTheWaste campaign.

Free Trade is Dead

In recent years, global trade and trade policy have become central socio-political issues. The planned EU-US trade agreement TTIP triggered an unprecedented storm of indignation and resistance.

Rural Poverty Is Still a Scar on the Soul of Colombia, but a New Program Supporting Agri-Entrepreneurship Can Help Heal the Wounds

Rural poverty and inequality continue inflicting large swaths of population in Colombia, especially in rural areas. This situation, endemic since at least the beginning of the twentieth century, was at the root of the 50-year long conflict that shattered the country, leaving 220,000 deaths and 5.7 million displaced persons, and devastating a significant part of the rural areas, where government services and infrastructure vanished.

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