Last October, at the beginning of Indonesia’s rainy season, a 37-year-old farmer named Herinurdin took a leap of faith. Instead of planting corn in his entire 1.3-hectare rainfed farm in the Sukabumi town of West Java, as his family had done for generations, he sowed 1,600 square metres worth of rice instead.
For decades, commodity trade has been understood from the point of view of “commodity dependent” exporting countries, those whose revenues are largely generated by commodities exports. The trend of decreasing agricultural commodity prices was the focus of attention. However, from the beginning of the 2000s, there was an upward trend in agricultural commodity prices culminating in the price peak of 2007-08.
Around the world, but especially in the planet’s poorest regions, women represent a life force that renews itself daily, sometimes against all odds.
No-till farming is a response to climate change that fits well with the needs of the Caribbean: it increases the ability to capture water, while withstanding both drought and excessive rains, says expert Theodor Friedrich, representative of the United Nation’s Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) in Cuba.
In Africa's Sahel region, agroforestry techniques using traditional plantings known as "fertiliser trees" to increase soil fertility, as well as harvesting and grazing regulations, are offering new solutions to both food and human security.
A recurring question in crisis-stricken Spain is how to ensure that surplus agricultural products reach those most in need. One response is citizen initiatives to protest the waste of food and to advocate efficient management along the full length of the food chain.
With a population of five million crammed on a landmass of just 715 square kilometres, the tiny republic of Singapore has been forced to expand upwards, building high-rise residential complexes to house the country’s many inhabitants.
Qatar may be one of the richest countries in the world, but it has something in common with its African counterparts – food insecurity.
In a major endorsement for investment in women - the bulk of food growers in the developing world - United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said food security could not be achieved without women, and that the world's hungry also needed leaders to prioritise actions.
Reporting that the worst of the food crisis in the Sahel region of Africa appears to have been averted, the United Nations’ top official on the area, David Gressley, warned on Wednesday that the potential passing of the immediate emergency should not divert international attention from what needs to be done in 2013, which he calls a critical year for building resilience in the region.
Humanity's ability to feed itself is in serious doubt as climate change takes hold on land in the form of droughts and extreme weather, as well as on the world's oceans.
Investment in rural infrastructure and support for Africa's millions of small-scale farmers have increased in the past decade. But as these farmers begin to see increased yields, the question of better access to markets comes to the fore.
African leaders should take note of the lessons learned from the Arab Spring and realise that ensuring good governance and food security will avoid crises on the continent, says Kofi Annan, chairman of the Africa Green Revolution Alliance.
If women had equal access to productive farming resources, they could increase their yields by 20 to 30 percent and potentially raise total agricultural output in developing countries by 2.5 to four percent.
As the world searches desperately for ways to boost food production by at least 70 percent by 2050 to feed an increasingly hungry planet, many are looking to Africa as the place where a large part of this potential can be realised, mainly for its huge portion of arable land.