Amidst a backdrop of rising food insecurity worldwide and a global food supply chain crisis, many countries are attempting to increase the level of food self-production. One improved input for farming which is receiving renewed attention is improved seed. The two most populous countries in the world, China and India, have recently made ground-breaking moves to improve their competitive position by developing new seeds which will improve their food production and increase resilience to climate change. So far, in 2022, new regulations on using biotechnology (genetic modification and gene editing
) have been put in place by both countries to ultimately allow smallholder farmers to benefit from these new seeds.
The recently disseminated Zero Draft Ministerial Declaration of the High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF)-- the main UN event to track the member states’ progress to achieve the Agenda 2030 slated to be held in the first half of July-- is a disappointment.
Two months after the start of the war, on 24 February, the data on the substantial increase in the cost of food products, the rise in prices and shortages of fertilizers, the destruction of land and plantations in Ukraine, the sanctions, the difficulties with the transport of cereals from the world’s main granary, represented by Russia and Ukraine, and the massive migrations, especially from rural areas, are just a few aspects that confirm the pessimism that had been generated after the outbreak of the conflict.
In case you were not aware, please know that humanity used to cultivate more than 6.000 plant species for food, but now instead fewer than 200 of these species make major contributions to food production. Out of these, only 9% account for 66% of total crop production.
"I like lettuce, but not tomatoes and cucumbers," said nine-year-old Paulo Henrique da Silva de Jesus, a third grader at the João Baptista Caffaro Municipal School in the southeastern Brazilian city of Itaboraí.
Every other Tuesday at 5:00 p.m. sharp, a group of 26 Mexican women meet for an hour to discuss the progress of their work and immediate tasks. Anyone who arrives late must pay a fine of about 25 cents on the dollar.
The breakout of the conflict in Ukraine and the following imposition of heavy Western sanctions
on Russia are causing sharp price increases
in food and energy commodities —of which both Ukraine and Russia represent key exporters — as well as disruptions to global supply chains, impacting the post-pandemic economic recovery.
The space consists of just 300 square meters full of green where there is an agro-ecological vegetable garden and nursery, which are the work and dream of 14 women. Behind it can be seen the imposing silhouettes of the high rises that are a symbol of the most modern and sought-after part of Argentina's capital city.
Despite an abundance of fisheries reserves along Kwale County’s lush coastline located on the south coast of Kenya, fishers can no longer cast a net just past the coral reef and expect an abundant crab or prawn harvest.
The unprecedented flow of arms to Ukraine, and the rising miliary spending by European nations to strengthen their defenses, are threatening to undermine development aid to the world’s poorer nations.
Which country do you think best recognises the potential for changes to food systems to reduce emissions? Presumably a developed country, where agriculture is predominantly intensive, heavily subsidised and fuelled by fertilisers and irrigation, and where high consumption of animal proteins is the norm?
A group of preschool students enthusiastically planted cucumbers and other vegetables in their small school garden in southern El Salvador, a sign that school feeding programs are being revived as the world emerges from the COVID-19 pandemic.
Even as erratic weather and extremely high temperatures increase pest infestation and affect harvests, a combination of traditional methods, integrated pest management through intercropping and multilayering is helping farmers in Ahmednagar and Aurangabad districts of Maharashtra, India.
How would the late Archbishop Desmond Tutu have reacted to the Russian Invasion of Ukraine? Differently than you might think.
The invasion of Ukraine is a mass human tragedy. It is killing Ukrainians, exposing families to violent atrocities, and has driven a refugee crisis of over 4 million people and counting. The war in Ukraine has also reawakened our fear of global war - even nuclear war - and the importance we place on global peace.
Food systems are under severe stress around the world now. The thresholds of tolerance are already exceeding limits with millions facing acute food and water scarcity throughout all continents. Over a quarter of Africa’s population are facing hunger and food insecurity. Conflict, droughts, flooding, rising unemployment, inequality, economic crises, and the impacts of Covid-19 pandemic have been ravaging the Continent on an unprecedented scale.
India began its journey as an independent nation in 1947 with fresh memory of the Bengal Famine of 1943 which claimed 1.5 to 3 million lives. Against this backdrop, the First Five Year Plan (1951-56) prioritized agriculture which, however, shifted to heavily industrialization in the second Plan.
When Canada and Nepal are used in the same sentence it’s usually because the former is supporting development efforts in the latter. Not when it comes to feeding children at school.
Three giant concrete cylinders with inflated membrane roofs are a strange sight in the industrial park of Zárate, a world of factories 90 kilometers from Buenos Aires that heavy trucks drive in and out of all day long. They are the heart of a plant that is about to start producing energy from agro-industrial waste, for the first time in Argentina.
As he points to a white shelf that holds bean seeds, Austrian biologist Peter Wenzl explains that one of them, obtained in Ecuador, provided a gene for the discovery that major seed protein arcelin offers resistance to the bean weevil.
In a short period, the war in Ukraine has already had a major effect on the world economy. The United States and the European Union have levied sanctions on an unprecedented scale against Russia, energy prices have skyrocketed, and with the Black Sea closed, the world’s most fertile region is no longer linked to its markets. This will cause an appreciation of food prices that could wreak havoc in the European periphery.
The situation in Ukraine is first and foremost a humanitarian crisis, and the food security and wellbeing of the people of Ukraine should be our immediate concern. However, because of the dominant roles of Russia and Ukraine in global food, fuel and fertiliser markets, there are also massive knock-on effects for people around the world. This is particularly true for the supply and cost of food. Here are three ways that the invasion of Ukraine leads to potential risks to food security in other countries.