Subsidies

Irrigation has greatly increased food production by farmers like Masuzgo Jere. Credit:  Pilirani Semu-Banda/IPS

DEVELOPMENT-MALAWI: Irrigation Promises to Increase Food Security

Wyson Chandanga, a small-holder Malawian farmer from the northern district of Mzimba, does not care if the country receives enough rain this year. He is also not concerned on whether the rains come on time or not.

DEVELOPMENT-SWAZILAND: Don't Blame Donor Dependency

What happens to a nation whose people depend on the largesse of international donor agencies for their existence, once support is withdrawn?

TRADE: Old Talks Never Die

"History tells us that multilateral trade negotiations never die, and the current Doha Round is no exception," said economist Carlos Pérez del Castillo, Uruguay’s former permanent representative to the World Trade Organisation (WTO) and chairman of the global body’s General Council in 2003 and 2004.

CUBA: Foreign Investors Keen on Sugar Production

Foreign direct investment in the sugar industry is acceptable to the Cuban government for producing alcohol and other derivatives, but it continues to be a topic that the authorities prefer not to talk about, at least in public, although experts regard it as desirable for the recovery of the industry.

ECONOMY-US: Activists Target Corporate Chiefs' Tax Subsidies

U.S. taxpayers shell out 20 billion dollars a year to pad business chiefs' earnings and to prop up the world's most lopsided corporate pay scales, say activists seeking to highlight inequality in this election year.

BULGARIA: Small Farmers Strike for Survival

Thousands of Bulgarian milk and meat producers have been protesting for more than a week in various regions around the country, warning the government that life for small farmers has become impossible in Bulgaria.

TRADE-CHINA: Food Security Prompted Tough Line at Geneva

China's tough stance at the 'Doha' trade talks in Geneva has less to do with political posturing than with the country's long-standing obsession with food security, experts here suggest.

Xe Om (motorbike taxi) drivers await custom in Hanoi.  Credit: Matt Bennett/IPS

VIETNAM: Coping With Skyrocketing Fuel Prices

Nguyen Van Minh has just delivered a consignment of apples from China in his modified Hyundai at Long Bien market where, each night, hundreds of trucks pull up laden with fruits and vegetables from distant provinces and neighbouring countries.

TRADE: Subsidies (and Food Prices) Soar at Doha

Bias in the WTO proposals to reform agricultural trade, which are being analysed for the second consecutive week, will definitely aggravate the food crisis caused in recent months by the high prices of farm commodities, according to Aftab Alam Khan, an expert with the non-governmental organisation ActionAid.

Sir David King Credit:

Q&A: "Humans Are Now the Primary Drivers of Our Climate"

Humanity faces enormous challenges at the start of the 21st century, says Sir David King, Britain's former chief scientific advisor and now director of the Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment at Oxford University in England.

TRADE: Realpolitik Takes Over

When a new round of world trade talks was launched in Doha almost seven years ago, there was no shortage of rhetoric about the need for global cooperation to bring tangible benefits for the poor and the vulnerable. "International trade can play a major role in the promotion of economic development and the alleviation of poverty," noted the official declaration issued by the World Trade Organisation as its conference in the Qatari capital concluded.

DEVELOPMENT: Live With EU's Contradictions

The European Union has "to live with" how its agricultural policies can cause hardship in poor countries, the man in charge of the bloc's development aid efforts has stated.

PHILIPPINES: Jatropha Key to Self Sufficiency?

The jatropha plant may be the key to addressing the problems of energy and food self-sufficiency in the Mekong region. Cultivating this hardy plant will not only provide biofuel but will also ensure that agricultural lands devoted to food production will not be diverted to fuel crops.

BRAZIL: Agroenergy Can Boost Food Production – Experts

The web of truth and lies surrounding the controversy over agrofuels has led to the distortion or oversight of certain facts. For instance, making biodiesel from soybeans does not reduce food production, but increases it, according to experts.

INDIA: Forum Addresses Rural Energy Security

For poor rural women in India, access to energy connotes having the means to own a non-polluting stove and lantern that can help them cook, do household chores and earn a living. And yet even these basic needs are barely met - a majority of these women still spend much of their time and effort collecting firewood and cow dung for cooking and lighting.

ENVIRONMENT-CHINA: Banking on Wind Power

China plans to triple its wind power capacity over the next two years in line with the central government’s goal of promoting clean energy and more sustainable economic development, says a senior policy development official.

LATIN AMERICA: Factors in Climbing Food Prices – A Baker’s Dozen

Where today’s high food prices are concerned, there are 13 villains of the piece: the structural and circumstantial causes associated with supply and demand, according to the Latin American and Caribbean Economic System (SELA), which says that to tackle them, regional cooperation is essential.

BRAZIL: Climate Change Will Weaken Renewable Energy Sources

To Brazil's credit, 45 percent of its energy comes from renewable sources, three times as much as in industrialised countries, but for that very reason it will be more vulnerable to climate change, according to a new study.

Ndougou Fall at the FAO meet. Credit: Sabina Zaccaro

DEVELOPMENT: About Farmers, Without Farmers

Record high food prices and their impact on poor countries will dominate the three-day UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) summit of world leaders that opened Tuesday in Rome. But the solutions to the food crisis cannot be left to governments only, according to several small farmers groups running a parallel civil society food forum.

Ali Mchumo Credit: Charles Jama/CFC

Q&A: 'Biofuels Must Include the Poor'

Biofuels are being criticised for contributing to the rise in commodity prices, but their energy potential can be developed too, on condition "that the poor are part of the production chain."

ECONOMY: 'Biofuels Will Keep Food Prices High'

In the next ten years, prices for agricultural commodities will come down from current record levels but remain higher than the mean of the past decade, according to a new prediction.

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