Natural Resources

Asia, Looking Beyond the Green Revolution

More than 2.2 billion people in Asia rely on agriculture for their livelihoods, but the Asian Development Bank warns that stagnant and declining yields of major crops such as rice and wheat can be ultimately linked to declining investments in agriculture. Public investments in agriculture in India, for instance, have been roughly the same since 2004.

Nurturing African Agriculture

While agriculture could be the driving force to lift millions of Africans out of poverty and alleviate hunger, its full potential remains untapped. For example, only between five and seven percent of the continent’s cultivated land is irrigated, leaving farmers vulnerable to climate shocks like the devastating El Nino-driven drought in southern Africa. That's why international agencies like the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) are forging key partnerships to enhance agricultural production, sustainable natural resource management and increased market access.

Ships Bring Your Coffee, Snack and TV Set, But Also Pests and Diseases

“Every evening, millions of people all over the world will settle into their armchairs to watch some TV after a hard day at work. Many will have a snack or something to drink…

Smart Technologies Key to Youth Involvement in Agriculture

She is only 24 and already running her father’s farm with 110 milking cows. Cornelia Flatten sees herself as a farmer for the rest of her life.

Concern over Profit-Oriented Approach to Biodiversity in Latin America

In July 2015, the Mexican government granted a U.S. corporation permission for the use of genetic material obtained in Mexican territory for commercial and non-commercial purposes, in one of the cases that has fuelled concern in Latin America about the profit-oriented approach to biodiversity.

Dhaka Could Be Underwater in a Decade

Like many other fast-growing megacities, the Bangladeshi capital of Dhaka faces severe water and sanitation problems, chiefly the annual flooding during monsoon season due to unplanned urbanisation, destruction of wetlands and poor city governance.

Arable Lands Lost at Unprecedented Rate: 33,000 Hectares… a Day!

Humankind is a witness every single day to a new, unprecedented challenge. One of them is the very fact that the world's arable lands are being lost at 30 to 35 times the historical rate. Each year, 12 million hectares are lost. That means 33,000 hectares a day!

Ethiopian Food Aid Jammed Up in Djibouti Port

Bags of wheat speed down multiple conveyor belts to be heaved onto trucks lined up during the middle of a blisteringly hot afternoon beside the busy docks of Djibouti Port.

Adaptation to Climate Change: Need for a Human Rights Approach

The memories of Cyclone Sidr and Aila are fresh in the mind of Razia Begum, a victim of climate change, of Dacope Upazila, Khulna. The standing field crops and houses of her community were destroyed, and they suffered the loss of cattle as well as people who perished in these natural disasters. She says mournfully that Saturkhali, Kamarkhola, Koilashganj and Baniashanta are the most vulnerable unions where access to necessary human rights is disrupted. Furthermore, salinity, flood, river erosion, heavy rain, cyclone, water logging and seasonal variations etc. are the most devastating impacts of climate change in those areas.

War on Climate Terror (II): Fleeing Disasters, Escaping Drought, Migrating

"No one can deny the terrible similarities between those running from the threat of guns and those fleeing creeping desertification, water shortages, floods and hurricanes.”

War on Climate Terror (I): Deserts Bury Two Thirds of African Lands

Two-thirds of the African continent is already desert or dry-lands. But while this vast extension of the second largest continent on Earth after Asia is “vital” for agriculture and food production, nearly three-fourths of it is estimated to be degraded to varying degrees.

Education: An Elusive Dream for Cameroon’s Indigenous Peoples

It is a sunny afternoon in Boui, a small village in the Boumba and Ngoko Division of Cameroon’s South East Region. A primary school teacher is drawing some wild animals on the blackboard. Then she turns to the class of fifteen pupils.

African Farmers Can Feed the World, If Only…

Can African farmers feed the world?. Apparently the answer is “yes.” Bold as it may sound, this statement is based on specific facts: Africa is home to 60-65 per cent of the world’s uncultivated arable land and 10 per cent of renewable freshwater resources, and it has registered a 160 per cent increase in agricultural output over the past 30 years.

The Devil in Development

The word “development” - eliciting as it does grandiloquent notions of progress - has become, at least in Bangladesh, something of a red herring. It is used as a catch-all phrase to justify just about anything — from eviction of slum-dwellers to make way for high-rise housing projects to forceful grabbing of ancestral lands to build eco-parks and tourism spots, from rampant deforestation of our woodlands to unapologetic pollution of our rivers, from undemocratic and top-down imposition of anti-people projects to suppression of dissent through violence both sponsored or otherwise. It matters little that such so-called development only exacerbates the extreme vulnerabilities of people already on the margins, destroys scarce natural resources and intensifies the ever-widening gap between the haves and the have-nots; that it does precisely the opposite of what “development”—real, pro-people development—ought to do. If one protests these actions as unjust, undemocratic or inequitable, one can be easily dismissed as being “anti-development”, and by extension, “unpatriotic”, making it ever more difficult to have any sort of constructive conversation about Bangladesh's development priorities (or the lack thereof).

Climate-Smart Agriculture for Drought-Stricken Madagascar

Mirantsoa Faniry Rakotomalala is different from most farmers in the Greater South of Madagascar, who are devastated after losing an estimated 80 percent of their crops during the recent May/June harvesting season to the ongoing drought here, said to be the most severe in 35 years.

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