THE COMING FAMINE
The Global Food Crisis and What We Can Do to Avoid It
By Julian Cribb
248 pages. University of California Press. $24.95.
GlobalHort welcomes the submission of news features of interest to our communities. Please send your suggestions, features or publications that you would like to have disseminated to the editor.
October 17, 2016
Representatives of the Rwandan Ministry of Agriculture and Animal Resources met with Turkish investors to discuss opportunities to strengthen Turkish investment in the Rwandan flower industry. In the focus of the discussion was the Gishari Flower Park, a new flagship project in Rwamagana District, which is ready for further development. By setting the target to increase revenues of flower production to 140 million USD in export until 2020, Rwanda’s National Agricultural Export Development Board (NAEB) is confident to attract international investors. Expectations are based on figures of the Rwandan Development Board (RDB), which noted investment of 400 million USD from Turkish investors over the course of the last three years. Furthermore Rwanda and Turkey are planning to establish a Business Council to improve collaboration further. Currently Rwandan annual imports of produce from Turkey amount to 21 million USD, whereas Turkish imports of Rwandan produce lies at 8.5 million USD. To find more information on the topic please click here.
October 10, 2016
Vernonanthura phosphorica, a shrub native to Brazil is spreading rapidly in Zimbabwe, competing with crops and killing fruit trees. In the last five years the invasive species turned into a real problem that poses a threat to food security in the country. It started to appear after a tropical cyclone devastated large areas of Zimbabwe in 2000. But whether the cyclone was the main cause for the problem is still debated. It is suspected that it transported the seeds from neighbouring Mozambique, where the plant was presumably introduced for the purpose of honey production. Another aspect could also have been the devastating disturbance of natural ecosystems that offered seeding ground and reduced competition with other plants and therefore promoted the growth of Vernonanthura phosphorica. Another reason for the problem however could have been the Zambian land reform that started in the year of the cyclone. Clear is that neither farmers, nor timber producers, nor national park services were able to control the shrub manually or chemically and that capacities need to be combined to address the problem. For more information please read the original article here.
October 3, 2016
Bill Mollison, known as the father of permaculture, passed away on September 24th. He was 88 years old. Together with David Holmgren Bill Mollison developed the concept of permaculture and by doing so contributed greatly to finding solutions to the environmental challenges of our time, specifically related to the negative effects of food production on the environment. Meant to be a system for households to increase their self-sufficiency, while maintaining the natural environment permaculture rose to a system beyond the combination of horticultural and ecological principles to a movement that includes issues such as empowerment, land access and community building besides many more. You can find out more about Bill Mollison and the permaculture philosophy here.
September 26, 2016
The horticulture department of Gurgaon, a city not far from New Delhi, is leasing out land to citizens to grow their own vegetables. The “first-of its-kind initiative ” in India is meant to address specifically food safety issues on an individual level. Contaminants of pesticides and sewage water, which is widely used to irrigate the produce that ends up in Gurgaon are becoming a growing concern for the people in the city. The monthly lease will be 3,875 Rs. for a unit. Staff of the horticultural department will be responsible for the security and maintenance of the plots, while tenants will grow the actual crops. The official opening will take place on October 2nd. For more information click here and here.
September 21, 2016
Yesterday the Tanzania Food and Drugs Authority (TFDA), supported by the Tanzanian government, introduced the National Action Plan for Mitigation of Mycotoxins. The plan is to be implemented in the next three years and follows a recent spread of aflatoxin poisoning in the country that caused 17 deaths. Mycotoxins are poisonous substances produced by fungi that infest cereals but also nuts, dried fruit and more. Symptoms of mycotoxin poisoning vary depending on the fungus and the affected person or animal and show interactions with other factors such as vitamin deficiencies, malnutrition and infectious diseases, besides others. Part of the plan is the extension of food testing to determine the degree of contamination and prevention services. Please read the full article here. For more information on mycotoxins in general you can read this scientific study.
September 16, 2016
A project by the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) that aims to find resistant varieties to the two major cassava diseases Cassava Brown Streak Disease and Cassava Mosaic Disease showed first successes. The 5.7 million USD project, which is funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is running for four years and is taking place at 33 sites in Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Tanzania and Uganda. Results of studies showed that whereas 70% of fields were infested with Cassava Brown Streak Disease when old varieties were planted, the new varieties were able to reduce the disease to nearly 0%. Besides the major goal to eradicate the diseases farmers’ preferences are also taken into consideration through a participatory approach. Both diseases affect the tubers and leaves and lead to a yield loss of an estimated 1 billion USD each year. Cassava Brown Streak Disease was first found in Uganda and has spread to eight further African countries. For more information read the full article here.
September 9, 2016
At the International Symposium on Tropical Fruit 2016 in Davao City, Philippines Hannah Jaenicke of GlobalHort gave a plenary presentation on Horticulture for Sustainable Development & Food Security. The three days symposium from August 29th to September 3rd was organized by the International Tropical Fruits Network (TFNet), the Department of Agriculture – Bureau of Plant Industry, Philippines (BPI), and PhilFruits Association, Inc. (PFA). More than 300 participants discussed sustainable fruit production and food security. In her presentation, Dr. Jaenicke specifically informed about the potential of horticulture to contribute to the Sustainable Development Goals by affecting key issues such as woman empowerment, employment and health. You can find more information about Horticulture for Sustainable Development in GlobalHort’s Policy Brief No.1. For more information about the event please click here.
September 6, 2016
According to the National Roots Crops Research Institute Nigeria might face a severe reduction in potato yields next year due to the advancement of the Late Blight disease. It is caused by the fungus Phytophthora infrestans and was responsible for the major crop failure in 19th century Ireland known as the Irish potato famine. In Nigeria the disease was first reported in 2014 and worsened in 2015 and 2016. Symptoms start with gray spots and eventually lead to the rotting of the potato tuber itself. Fungicides to control the disease are not sufficiently available to farmers in Nigeria and there is a danger of resistance development to the chemicals by the fungus. Thus farmers are now being sensitised on preventive measures. For more information click here.
September 1, 2016
The Department of Horticulture and Plantation Crops of India is subsidizing small farmers by up to 100% to build drip irrigation systems across the country. In the last 5 years a total of 9.300 hectares of 9.534 beneficiaries were already equipped with drip irrigation through the government. This year 24 million Rs will be provided for 295 hectares of horticultural crops, such as turmeric, banana, tapioca, amla, flower, and mango. Furthermore, farmers are informed about the benefits of drip irrigation in workshops and seminars. The Department will also include protected cultivation measures such as shade nets and green houses, which will be subsidized with a total of 7.8 million Rs. For more information please click here.
August 24, 2016
The Consultative Group for International Agricultural Research (CGIAR) – “the world’s largest agricultural research for development partnership” – has appointed Elwyn Grainger-Jones as the new Executive Director of the CGIAR System. With his 20 year experience in development, agriculture and climate change Mr. Grainger-Jones will be entrusted with the implementation of CGIAR’s Strategy and Results Framework. In previous positions Mr. Grainger-Jones was working for the UK Department for International Development (DFID), the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and the World Bank. He will officially start his office in October and be based in Montpellier, France. For more information please follow this link.
August 16, 2016
Despite its estimated 84 million hectares of arable land and 230 billion cubic metres of water resources Nigeria is currently dependent on agricultural imports to meet domestic food requirements. But this has not always been the case. Nigeria even used to be the largest producer of groundnuts and palm oil in the world and a major exporter of cocoa at the time of its independence. From 1970 to 2010 the agricultural sector declined while more emphasis was given to the oil sector. Compared to the 1960s when agriculture made up more than half of the country’s GDP it has now declined to only a fifth. With the Agricultural Tansformation Agenda of 2011 a first step towards the revitalization of the agricultural sector was taken which is now followed by the Agricultural Promotion Policy (APP) Roadmap. The new policy roadmap addresses two major areas. Frist, to increase access of farmers to agricultural resources such as seeds and fertilizer as well as to agricultural technologies to regain self-sufficiency in food production. Furthermore it aims at increasing production to a degree that again allows for agricultural exports, while creating facilities for food testing and inspection and improving market opportunities. By focusing on 17 priority areas the APP Roadmap is supposed to reach those goals until 2020. For more information please follow this link.
July 20, 2016
As the sixth country, Malawi has established a national branch of the Ecosystem-Based Adaptation for Food Security Assembly (EBAFOSA). EBAFOSA is a pan-African framework and platform that fights food insecurity, climate change, ecosystem degradation and poverty in Africa. Through a decentralized development approach EBAFOSA avoids long bureaucratic processes in order to lead to results faster and in a more inclusive, participatory way. It was developed in UNEP’s 2nd Africa Ecosystem-Based Adaptation for Food Security Conference held in Nairobi, Kenya in July last year and is now part of the African Union’s 2030 Agenda for SDG’s. EBAFOSA was adopted by more than 1200 delegates of various stakeholders and has so far been implemented through national branches by Zambia, Kenya, Nigeria, Mozambique, Ivory Coast and now Malawi. The branches will be responsible for registering actors and facilitating collaboration to foster ecosystem-based adaptation in agriculture and its value chains. For more information please click here.
July 8, 2016
In recent months Madagascar, the world’s largest vanilla producer was hit hard by a decrease in quantity as well as quality of vanilla. Presumably initiated by poor flowering in 2014 production was expected to be low in 2015. Together with a steadily increasing demand since 2012 prices were expected to sky rocket, which motivated importers to stock up early and growers to harvest their crop prematurely and vacuum seal them rather than curing and drying them as usually. This increased prices and lead to decreased quality of vanilla, which worsened the shortage even further. Currently vanilla prices are 250 USD per kilo compared to 20 USD in 2012 with even the low quality beans selling for 210 USD. Vanilla belongs to the Orchid family and originated in Mexico. It needs a specific climate which limits its area of cultivation to a hand full of countries. Its only pollinator is endemic to Mexico, which is why flowers need to be hand pollinated during the 12 hours time window of their blossom. The long maturation and processing period of vanilla already makes it one of the most expensive spices in the word. Because of a good bloom for this year’s crop prices are expected to drop soon after harvest season begins this months. For more information please visit the following sources: (1), (2), (3).
June 23, 2016
The Australian apple producer Montague has released four new apple varieties with the names: smitten, envy, eve and ambrosia. In addition the company’s general manager of business development announced to build an Export Distribution and Engagement Center to promote trade and tourism in horticulture and specifically apple production. The center is to show best practices and most up to date technologies of the industry. It will also include an experimental orchard to demonstrate water conservation, crop protection, rootstock technology and variety innovation For more information please click here.
June 14, 2016
The Ethiopian government, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), and the Israeli Agency for International Development Cooperation (MASHAV) have signed the fourth phase of a Partnership Program to support the smallholder horticulture sector in Ethiopia. Two million USD in a period of three years will be dedicated to improve production and marketing of fruits and vegetables specifically in Oromia, Amhara, Tigray and SNNP States. The program is part of an overarching agricultural development project, which has already provided training and extension services since 2005 and is part of the USAID Feed the Future Initiative. For more information click here.
June 6, 2016
The European Commission’s Standing Committee on Plants, Animals, Food and Feed have again postponed the decision on extending the license of the most extensively used herbicide of the world. In today’s voting, the needed majority of 55% of EU countries was not reached due to abstention of some countries and a dissenting vote of Malta. The decision has turned into a highly politicized topic, which could have far reaching economic consequences for farmers, consumers and especially the largest agrochemical company Monsanto. Glyphosate is highly contested for its environmental effects, specifically its impact on human health. The proposal voted against today was meant to extend the license for 12 to 18 months, in order to give the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) more time to decide on the chemical’s carcinogenic potential. The initial proposal had envisioned a 15 year extension. The appeal comitee n is going to get together again on June 22nd and 23rd to anew try to take a decision. If still no majority will be reached the European Commission will have to take it on itself. For more information click here and here.
May 25, 2016
The Royal Botanic Gardens Kew, has published the first State of the World’s Plant report, which includes information on the total number of plants known to science, features new discoveries, and lists useful plants. It also gives insights into the state of knowledge on global threats to plants, including plant pests and diseases and throws a light on policies and international trade. Generated by more than 80 scientists the report suggest that 21% of all 391,000 vascular plants, that are estimated to be known to science, are threatened, with Agriculture being one of the major threats with 31%. The State of the World’s report is meant to be released annually from this year onward. To read the report and to find more information please visit the official website here.
May 16, 2016
The TotoGEO group has developed a 3D farm simulation video game called “Farm Defenders”. The game is based on real soil, climate and market data that has been collected by TotoGEO over the course of multiple years and with support of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, INSEAD and ICON Group International. Players can create their own virtual farm anywhere on the African continent and learn about the challenges of farming. Specifically this game was made for anyone interested in economic development and with the goal to model real-world conditions. TotoGEO has the aim to empower the world’s poorest people by offering information from a series of tools and databases, such as local weather forecasts as mobile phone audio files. For more information on the game watch this video and visit this website.
May 4, 2016
The 15th garden project is currently supplying people in 17 besieged cities with food from a total of 30 gardens. Named after the start of the revolution against Assad on March 15th, 2011 the project aims to contribute to food security and “raise awareness about the importance of food sovereignty and organics”. Everything started with a group of woman in Zabadani, a city in Syria under siege at that time, which were searching for seeds to grow food. Through the joint efforts of a network of German farmers, who raised money and organized heritage seeds, and a group of activists, who smuggled the seeds into the country the 15th garden project was born. Since that time activists in other cities copied it. Although gardens get repeatedly attacked and the city of Zabadani could not withstand the siege but is now evacuated, the 15th garden project keeps brining food and hope to people all across Syria. To read more about this project click here.
April 25, 2016
From March 14. to 18. the Horticulture Innovation Lab hosted its 2016 annual meeting in Cambodia. About 100 scientists and representatives of organizations working with horticulture participated in the event, including Dr. Detlef Virchow, Executive Secretary of GlobalHort and member of the International Advisory Board of the Horticulture Innovation Lab. The first day of the meeting consisted of brief, 5 minute lightning talks and discussions, followed by an Horticulture Expo with demonstrations from iDE Cambodia, the World Vegetable Center (AVRDC), Kasetsart University, Cambodia HARVEST, the ECHO Asia Impact Center, and the Horticulture Innovation Lab. The second day consisted of field trips to project sites hosted by Cambodia HARVEST and Beng Mealea Vegetables farmers cooperative. On the third day of the meeting updates on administrative topics and programmatic guidance were given, including a workshop on gender, and discussions on data management plans, monitoring social media and others. The annual meeting was closed with the Horticulture Innovation Lab’s international Advisory Board meeting and the “Symposium on Horticultural Science” at Cambodia’s Royal University of Agriculture with about 175 participants. For more information click here..
April 23, 2016
Last Wednesday Dr. Wopereis became the new Director General of the Word Vegetable Center (AVRDC). In an official ceremony at the headquarters in Taiwan, Dr. J.D.H. Dyno Keatinge, who was the AVRDC's Director General since 2008, handed over the office symbolically through a key to the Center, flags, and a stone seal engraved with the Center’s name in Chinese characters. Dr. Wopereis earned his education at Wageningen University and has been engaged in agricultural science research and management in the last 25 years, specifically in Africa and Asia. Previous to his new position he was the Deputy Director General and Director of Research for Development of the Africa Rice Center (AfricaRice). He has vast experience in management of resources and building partnerships from the local to the international level. For more information visit this link.
April 15, 2016
A project supported by the National Agricultural Advisory Services in Kampala City, Uganda, that aims to reduce poverty shows first successes. With classes ranging from poultry, and fishery to horticulture, the Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA) Agriculture Resource Center is offering free lectures to a wide audience and produces cheap seedlings to enable residents to increase their income. The facility is built on 31 acres and includes also a hydroponic system and a fish pond. Income is also generated from selling the produce, especially tomatoes, sweet pepper and sukumawiki, a native crop and substantial part of the Ugandan diet. For more information click here.
April 1, 2016
Longwood Gardens and the American Society for Horticultural Sciences (ASHS) launched the Seed Your Future initiative, which aims at increasing the awareness of horticulture in the United States and promoting horticulture as a career path. The youth campaign will be realized over a period of five years and multiple phases. On the official website you can find a list of programs offering education in the field of horticulture, as well as more information about the vision and goals of the initiative. Click here.
March 28, 2016
GlobalHort deeply mourns the loss of Dr. Norman Looney, a firm and passionate champion for improving the quality of life of the world’s poorest citizens through horticulture for sustainable development. Norman Earl Looney was born May 31, 1938 in Adrian, Oregon (USA) and died March 24, 2016 in Vancouver, B.C. (Canada). He left the world a better place through his contributions to horticultural science. Norman received his PhD in Horticulture at Washington State University and started his career at the Pacific Agri-Food Research Centre. Throughout his life he made significant contributions to Canadian Horticulture but also had an immense influence on international horticulture. He later served as President of the International Society for Horticultural Science and founded the Global Horticulture Initiative. A great man is walking away. His death leaves a big hole in the hearts of his multi-generation family as well as of his colleagues and partners in horticulture.
March 14, 2016
The ugly food movement from Europe has swept over to Canada. After a successful pilot phase of selling visually not as pleasing but otherwise completely enjoyable vegetables and fruits, the major food retailer in Canada, Loblaw, has decided to broaden its new label “Naturally Imperfect” across the whole nation. Through cutting down on food waste while also reducing prices, the new branding creates a win-win situation for environmentalists and consumers. To read the full article, click here.
February 29, 2016
In this first index of its kind the Access to Seed Foundation ranks the world’s leading seed companies on their efforts to increase the productivity of smallholder farmers across the world. With a focus on the seven major field crops, and the ten major vegetables, the report concludes that the world’s leading seed companies have to improve in enabling smallholder farmers’ to obtain seeds. The index was supported by the Dutch government and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to inform on the role of seed companies in food security and development. The ranking is based on various parameters including internal policies, stakeholder engagement and capacity building, research, and attitude towards intellectual property rights. To read the report, please follow this link.
February 16, 2016
The city of Pasadena in Texas, USA has decided to establish the first crowd-funded, open-source, publicly-owned, vertical farm and campus in the history of horticulture. The campus will carry the name Community Located Agricultural Research Area (CLARA) and is a joint project of the engineering firm Indoor Harvest Crop and a variety of non-profit partners, as well as the University of Texas MD and others. The project will focus on research and education to foster R&D in commercial vertical farming, while also addressing the local lack of healthy food. Please click here for more information.
February 2, 2016
An airplane company has initiated the first urban farm not just at any airport but at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York. Although flight passengers will, for the moment, not get to enjoy much of the produce yet, the garden is planned to be used for recycling of food waste and especially for educational purposes for local school children. You can find more information about this interesting project here.
January 25, 2016
The Africa Growth Initiative released its new report on challenges and opportunities for Africa, 2016. The report focusses on six key areas, including economic shocks, trade, human development, and urbanization. As a central factor of development, food production is repeatedly addressed in the report. Please find the report and more information here.
January 18, 2016
Farm Africa published a new report on “Strengthening the first mile: Enabling small and medium agribusinesses to unlock development in Tanzania, Uganda and Kenya”. The report points to the important role of small and medium agriculture businesses as a central component of rural economic development in East Africa. It also informs about the obstacles small and medium-sized enterprises are facing and gives a wide range of background information on farmers and markets in East Africa. Please find the full report as PDF here.
January 14, 2016
With today’s announcement of the WHO the Ebola crisis is officially history. On the basis of an evaluation of fruit and vegetable production in Guinea the Horticulture Innovation Lab produced a new report on horticulture in Guinea after the Ebola outbreak titled “Rapid Assessment of the Horticulture Sector in Guinea”. It informs about the challenges of Guinea’s horticultural production on the household and commercial level and gives advice on coping strategies. Information is drawn from various interviews and surveys of farmers, village leaders and market traders, as well as literature. Please follow this link for more information. The full report can be read here.
January 4, 2016
According to a report of the Indian Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare, India’s horticultural sector has produced more output in 2014-2015 than ever before. With a yield of 283.5 million tonnes in 2014-2015 horticultural outputs exceed the country’s foodgrain production by 30 million tonnes. This is especially remarkable as the 2014-2015 period was characterized by severe droughts and extreme weather events. Reasons for this seems to be an increase in horticultural area as well as increased annual production. Please find the report here, or follow this link for more detailed information.
News of 2015
December 21, 2015
195 countries have agreed to reduce emissions to limit "the increase of global temperatures to well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels”. In their new info note, the CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS) explains what this means for global food production. The note informs about the expected impacts of different scenarios on yields and implications for adaptation and mitigation and gives recommendations on how management in food production can contribute to reaching the goal. Please find the info note here.
December 1, 2015
Together with the government of Lesotho, NGOs and other UN agencies, the FAO aims at increasing resilience of small scale farmers to hazards of climate change. A central part of one initiative is the promotion of homestead gardens and the adoption of innovations like keyhole gardens. These raised bed systems allow to increase soil fertility and soil moisture, as well as to protect from frost and wind. Please find more details about this FAO project here.
November 24, 2015
The International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT) published a new online video on “how to cultivate and manage cassava while preventing soil erosion on sloping land.” The video was developed by farmers for farmers with the support of the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC), CIAT and Agro-Insight. Please find the download link to the video here.
November 21, 2015
In order to promote the use of pulses as a major source of protein and important nutrients all around the world, the United Nations has launched the International Year of Pulses 2016 (IYP 2016) at the FAO headquarters last week. The campaign not only aims at increasing awareness of the nutritional value of pulses, but also addresses strategies to improve supply and production. To obtain more information on the importance and use of pulses, as well as on challenges and potentials, please visit the official website of the IYP 2016 here. A list of events connected to the IYP 2016 can be found through this link.
November 9, 2015
The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the Bartlett Development Planning Unit (DPU) of the University College London are still looking for papers, that can contribute to their new book on Integrating food into urban planning. The book aims to draw attention to successful practices in strategic planning, sectoral, inter-sectoral, or spatial planning that deliberately take food systems into account. Papers can still be submitted until the end of this month, November 30. Please find more information here.
October 26, 2015
Leading horticultural companies from the Netherland and Saudi Arabia have joined to supply horticulturalists in the Middle East with components for their greenhouses to increase high quality production and crop yields. Desert Growing was formed by the major vegetable producer Saudi Greenhouse Management Group, Prins Group, which is highly experienced in greenhouse construction, Stolze, a technical supplier, as well as the automation supplier Hoogendoorn Growth Management. The cooperation provides a number of services, addressing issues from irrigation via renewable energies to heating and cooling systems by construction, trainings and customer advice. Projects are currently being developed, including a 7.5 ha large greenhouse system in the Riyadh area in Saudi Arabia and a high tech glass greenhouse in Al-Quassim, besides others. Please find more information about the consortium and its projects here.
October 15, 2015
The African Journal of Food, Agriculture, Nutrition and Development (AJFAND) has published their new issue. AJFAND is an open access peer reviewed journal published in Kenya with the aim to influence policy and decision making, as well as promoting research and regulation of new technologies. The journal covers a wide range of disciplines and includes a series of interesting articles on horticultural issues.
Please find more information about the journal and the new issue here.
October 8, 2015
On their new website Farming First offers a brief overview with excellent visualization on the SDGs that are specifically connected to food production and informs why agriculture is important to reach the goals.
September 29, 2015
Claphijo Enterprise has developed a technique for small-scale farmers to dry fresh fruits and vegetables. The technology was developed to reduce postharvest-losses and domestic food waste and to offer an opportunity to diversify income and diet. Through the use of merely solar energy moisture of fresh produce can be reduced from 60% to less than 10%. The technology is affordable and requires only very low expertise and technical knowledge. Ms. Clara Ancilla Ibihya, founder and managing director of Claphijo Enterprise, will demonstrate the Solar Energy Drier at the GFIA Africa in Durban.
Please find the reports and more information here.
September 24, 2015
With their new open access journal, the Journal of Urban Ecology, editor in Chief Mark J. McDonnell and a board of international editors aim to provide a platform for exchange of original research, and discussion on urban ecology. The journal covers topics such as organisms of urban areas, ecosystem services and social aspects connected to urban environments.
Please find the reports and more information here.
September 13, 2015
Home gardens can contribute significantly to food security, nutritional diversity, diversification of income and conservation of agrobiodiversity. Yet their role is often neglected or underestimated. With the ‘Home Garden Project’ in Nepal Biodiversity International aims at creating a scientific basis for the promotion of home gardens, by conducting research on biodiversity, nutrition and income generation with local partners. In its recent publication out of a series of impact assessment briefs, Biodiversity International informs about results of evaluations of the “Home Garden Project”.
Please find the reports and more information here.
September 11, 2015
Results of a joint initiative of START, UNEP and a number of partner organizations, on the assessment of Urban and Peri-urban Agriculture in nine cities of Africa and Asisa are now available.
“Urban and peri-urban agriculture (UPA) faces significant pressures from rapid urban expansion and related stresses. START and UNEP recently partnered with several organizations to undertake a nine-city assessment of UPA in Africa and Asia. The assessments examined key environmental and governance dimensions of UPA to advance understanding of how increasing urban pressures on land and water resources, and intensifying climate risks, are undermining the resilience of UPA in the face of rapid urban development. The assessments are helping to better inform city-based decision maaking on risk management for UPA that have direct implications for advancing urban adaptation and resilience planning.”
Please find the reports and more information here.
September 11, 2015
Freelance Journalist Elizabeth Royte gives an overview of community farming in primarily the USA, it’s challenges, advantages and overall contribution to society. The article is based on a number of interviews with gardeners as well as scientists and makes a strong statement for the role of urban farming in food security.
Please find the article here.
September 8, 2015
Read more about Ethiopia's horticulture success story here
September 8, 2015
You find the complete case study here. here .
April 13, 2015
Please find the article here.
April 23, 2015
GlobalHort, as part of the research initiative NutriHAF (“Diversifying agriculture for balanced nutrition through fruits and vegetables in multi-storey cropping systems”), will promote the cultivation of vegetables and fruits in multi-storey cropping systems in Ethiopia and Madagascar. Different goals are to be achieved: the reduction of malnutrition in Ethiopia and Madagascar; conservation of biodiversity and natural resources; and creating awareness for the importance of a varied diet through capacity building among farmers, consumers, politicians and extension services.
The aim of the research project is to find and introduce adequate varieties fruits of and vegetables that help to improve the nutritional status of the local population. Providing new sources of food and income will then help to reduce the pressure on natural resources and prevent resource depletion. A first step will be to find out more about the habits of food consumption in order to identify seasonal gaps in calorie- and nutrient intakes. These gaps are then to be filled with the consumption of the species that are introduced by the project. Awareness creation and trainings for local decision makers and extension workers will help to put nutrition and the importance of a diversified diet on the agenda.
Farmers, policy makers and other actors along the whole value chain will be involved at all stages of the project. Gender issues are a central aspect as women are often responsible not only for cooking but also for food production.
GlobalHort is a member of the project consortium. Furthermore, the consortium includes 13 other partners in Africa and Germany that are all involved in research and capacity building.
The project is funded by the German Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture (BMEL) for three years. The project is funded by the German Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture (BMEL) for three years. The NutriHAF consortium consist of the following organizations:
ZEF - Zentrum für Entwicklungsforschung (Center for Development Research)
FRC - Forestry Research Center from the Ethiopia Institute of Agricultural Research (EIAR)
April 23, 2015
The 2nd World Biostimulants Congress will see over 1,000 delegates gather to explore the recently acquired scientific and technical knowledge on biostimulant products, which are increasingly used in crop production around the world, as well as the various aspects of legislation on these products in the main markets around the world. Early bird registration is now open! Deadline for abstract submission is 10 May 2015. More details can be found here.
April 23, 2015
The Resource Magazine published an essay by AVRDC Director General and GlobalHort Board Chair Dyno Keatinge and Head of Communications of AVRDC Maureen Mecozzi titled “Feed the World in 2015…and Nourish it, too” in a special March/April 2015 issue.
April 23, 2015
The report Healthy Food for a Healthy World: Leveraging Agriculture and Food to Improve Global Nutrition by Douglas Bereuter and Dan Glickman (cochairs) calls on the United States to use the power of the agriculture and food sector to reduce the reality and risks of malnutrition globally. Please find more information here.
April 9, 2015
Please find the list here.
April 9, 2015
Please find more information here.
April 9, 2015
Bioversity International published a study on “Propagating quality planting material to improve plant health and crop performance, key practices for dessert banana, plantain and cooking banana: Illustrated guide” written by C. Staver and T. Lescot. Please find the study here.
March 10, 2015
All board members came to Rome for the two-day annual board meeting on February 16 and 17, 2015. Two guest participated in the meeting: John E. Bowman, Senior Agriculture Advisor, USAID Bureau for Food Security (BFS), Office of Agricultural Research & Policy (ARP) and Jozef van Assche, Executive Director of ISHS. Ann Tutwiler, Director General for Bioversity International, welcomed all Board members and their guests, wished them a successful meeting and stressed the various areas of opportunities of collaboration between Bioversity and GlobalHort. Dr. Dyno Keatinge, GlobalHort’s Board Chair and DG of AVRDC – The World Vegetable Center, welcomed Rod and thanked Dr. Didier Pillot, Vice-President of AGRINATURA from Montpellier SupAgro, France for serving GlobalHort’s Board as Vice-Chair for two years. GlobalHort’s Executive Secretary, Dr. Detlef Virchow, presented the annual report on the work of GlobalHort’s secretariat in 2014 and the board members discussed the forthcoming activities of GlobalHort. All members of the board reconfirmed the importance of GlobalHort as organization championing for horticulture for sustainable development (H4sD) through its work of:
Reflecting on the forthcoming sustainable development goals (SDGs), horticulture can be seen as opportunity and engine for sustainable development, affecting a wide range of important indicators for development (health, wealth, employment, market opportunities, women empowerment and other special challenges) and hence impacting on several of the SDGs.
From left to right: Jozef van Assche, Executive Director / ISHS (guest); Justin Rakotoarisaona, Board Treasurer / AFSTA; Detlef Virchow, Executive Secretary / GlobalHort; Raul Quimson Montemayor / Federation of Free Farmers; Elizabeth Mitcham, Board Secretary / Horticulture CRSP; Dyno Keatinge, Board Chair / AVRDC – The World Vegetable Center; Alison Hodder / FAO; John E. Bowman, Senior Agriculture Advisor/ USAID (guest); Stephan Weise / Bioversity International; Mark Holderness / GFAR; Rod Drew, Board Vice-Chair / ISHS; Didier Pillot / AGRINATURA
March 10, 2015
During their meeting, the Board of Directors of GlobalHort have elected Rod Drew as their new Vice Chair. In August 2014, Rod Drew was elected President of the International Society for Horticultural Science (ISHS), the world's leading independent organization of horticultural scientists with over 7,500 individual and institutional members. Rod Drew is professor at the Griffith University in Australia with a general research interest in biotechnology of tropical and subtropical horticultural crops. Rod is an expert on papaya. His research has focused on genetic improvement, particularly disease resistance. He is passionate about using horticultural crops to alleviate malnutrition worldwide and helping develop agriculture in developing countries in general and in Pacific countries in specific. Rod Drew has published more than 150 journal papers, book chapters and invited review papers and in excess of 50 of these have been on Carica papaya.
March 10, 2015
Horticulture is rapidly emerging as one of the key growth areas of The Gambian economy. Read more here.
March 10, 2015
The National Agriculture Export Board (Naeb) plans to set up a modern horticulture centre at Mulindi Gasabo District to help small scale farmers acquire skills and market information. Read more here.
News of 2014 and previous years
The RUFORUM programme described in this book draws on solid international experience, which illustrates how universities are central to achieving successful agricultural transformation. RUFORUM aims to build quality institutions closely linked to the agricultural spectrum; farmers, suppliers, processors and consumers.
This book shows how the RUFORUM member universities are building strong ties to business enterprises to provide role models, case studies and attachment opportunities. Collaboration among universities gives students, staff and; most importantly; farmers access to the knowledge and facilities held within the ambit of those universities. By pooling their efforts through networking, RUFORUM members have greater abilities to achieve their strategic goals in terms of training and impact oriented research. The outputs are graduates well versed in their chosen disciplines, and increased capacity at the less well-endowed universities. The RUFORUM strategy, which is detailed in the chapters of this book, draws on multiple channels and players to allow choices to emerge and be tested. Ultimately, the best of those have been adopted.
This report reviews existing national and international policies with regard to the use of ICT to enhance teaching and learning within institutions of tertiary education. Common areas of strength and weakness with reference to educational technology readiness in the Partnership for Higher Education in Africa (PHEA) countries are explored. These countries are Egypt, Ghana, Kenya, Madagascar, Mozambique, Nigeria, South Africa, Tanzania and Uganda. The authors outline the challenges to the deployment of ICT in tertiary education within the PHEA areas. Finally, lessons learned and possibilities for collaboration are highlighted.
Full text available as: Pdf
Last year Cornell University and partners put together a 'WorldAginfo' Design Team to test the premise that: "new collaborative information technologies offer an exciting opportunity to transform agricultural education and information systems in Asia and Africa." The Team was charged by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to explore the landscape of agricultural education and information systems in Asia and Africa, and to come up with "a set of recommendations for areas of investment that have the potential to improve the lives of smallholders through better access to agricultural education, training and information."
Full text available as: Pdf
A new book on Climate-Smart Landscapes: Multifunctionality in Practice has been published by ASB and the World Agroforestry Centre. You can read the book here.
Please click v.5 no.2-3, Summer-Fall, 2012 to access.
If you would like to be placed on the mailing list for future issues send a message to the Editor.
Prof. Umezuruike Linus Opara has recently written an editorial in the vol. 13(4), 2013 issue of AJFAND journal, "The Urgent Need for African Leadership in Science, Engineering and Technology to Transform African Agriculture into Agri-Food Value Chains"
In his editorial he concludes:
"The transformation and industrialization of African agriculture will be incomplete if we do not industrialize the food system through scientific and technological innovations in postharvest handling and food processing to reduce losses and add value. It is often said that one can import a mechanical device, but it is not possible to import all the human resources needed to operate and manage it sustainably. Africa must grow its own timber of human talent and thought leaders to lead the continent in this ever complex and increasingly science-driven global economy. Investing in agricultural education and research, building the necessary infrastructure and implementing the right policies to support farmers and private sector investors are critical to ensure success of the ongoing agricultural transformation agenda. Finding ways and means to addressing our socio-economic challenges will enable us contribute better to the broader global development agenda. Nothing short of these will guarantee our long-term success and competitiveness."
The World Farmer’s Organization recognizes the costs of food waste and food loss in the December edition of their F@rmletter Newsletter.
The World Farmer’s Organization recognizes the vital role of water to the world’s farmers and that many of the water-related issues facing our farmers are identified in the August edition of their F@rmletter Newsletter.
The world of horticultural science has indeed lost a dear friend and colleague. Jacky was clearly ‘one of a kind’. He demonstrated every day his love for horticultural science and his passion for finding new ways for horticulture to improve health, generate wealth, and enrich the near environment for people everywhere. When listening to a presentation at an ISHS symposium or congress, Jacky was never satisfied until he had asked a pertinent question or offered an informative comment. Everyone gained from Jacky’s curiosity and enthusiasm.
We must also remember Jacky’s service and dedication to the journal Fruits. We doubt if many colleagues outside of France realize just how instrumental Jacky was in growing this journal to its present stature. This was a labor of love for Jacky. It was another way he could demonstrate his love for horticultural science and especially his affection for tropical and sub-tropical fruit crops.
Jacky was involved with the ISHS Committee for Research Cooperation
(1998-2006) and was supportive of the Global Horticulture Initiative. It is
impossible to over-estimate the importance of those involvements. He sent many
messages encouraging us to make every effort to ensure that GlobalHort would
become a powerful force for international development. He had deep and
strong connections to key GlobalHort partners like Bioversity International,
the Global Forum for Agricultural Research, Agrinatura, FAO, and of course ISHS
This sad news was received during the 12th Board Meeting of GlobalHort held last week in Brussels. Everyone was shocked and deeply saddened, but we carried on with the work knowing that Jacky would not want us to waste time talking about what was lost and could not be recovered. Still, we clearly recognized that Jacky was very much a spiritual leader of GlobalHort. And we profoundly realized that this would not change.
Dr. Norman E. Looney, Remi Kahane and the Board of GlobalHort
Through the Promotion of Regional Opportunities for Produce through Enterprises and Linkages (PROPEL) project, the Canadian Hunger Foundation (CHF) will work with the Caribbean Farmers Network to enable farmers to increase the quality and quantity of fresh, regionally grown fruits and vegetables, and help these producers link with buyers such as regional grocery chains, cruise lines, airlines, hotels and restaurants. The project, which is supported by the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA)’s Caribbean Program, will also enable producers to maintain internationally accepted food quality and safety standards. PROPEL’s initial focus will be on Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, St. Lucia, Grenada, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Dominica, Barbados and Guyana.
Le Centre national de spécialisation en fruits et légumes (CNSL) organized a regional workshop from September 5-7, 2012, on the programming of its activities. Grouping participants from the economic Community of the States of western Africa, the meeting was aimed at elaborating and to validating projects of research and transfer of technologies for the development of the following commodity chains: mango, tomato and onion.
This national centre of specialization in fruits and vegetables (CNSL) is one of components of the West Africa Agricultural Productivity Program (WAAPP). In Burkina Faso where the centre is located the commodity chains on mango, onion and tomato are the areas of specialization. It is the role of this research structure to increase the productivity in these value chains by making of them expanding sectors and creating employment for the benefit of the population in western Africa.
Seeking to share horticulture’s scope and value with a wide readership, the International Society of Horticultural Science (ISHS) has released Harvesting the Sun: A Profile of World Horticulture. This full-color, extensively illustrated 70-page report examines how horticulture touches all of us. Harvesting the Sun traces the farm-to-table journey using simple language and informative graphics. It highlights innovations in crop breeding, production, and handling, presenting recent advances in how to control pests and diseases, promote food safety, and minimize post-harvest losses.It explores how horticulture offers myriad paths to economic growth, and offers insights into how the cultivation of plants nourishes the spirit as well as the body. Harvesting the Sun brings the benefits of horticultural science to the attention of a wider audience. ISHS hopes that this publication will spark new interest in the people and processes that coax fruits, roots, leaves, and flowers to yield health, wealth, and beauty worldwide. For further details contact the International Society for Horticultural Science.
In early March a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) was signed with the International Society for Horticultural Science (ISHS).
The President of ISHS, António Monteiro, was recently interviewed by News@GlobalHort in regard to the significance of this MOU with GlobalHort.
What is ISHS's commitment for horticultural science for development?
The ISHS is committed to promote research and education in all branches of horticultural science and to facilitate cooperation and knowledge transfer on a global scale through its symposia and congresses, publications and scientific structure. For many years our Society has organised symposia and workshops in many developing countries and we are proud to say that 30 % of our members come from countries ‘of the South’. We are confident that this figure will keep growing, and we do wish that this evolution will be further reflected in the leadership of the various sections / commissions / working groups. ISHS meetings and publications reach people involved in horticulture in developing countries directly and can be used for other activities related to capacity building. To maximize the output of these activities we are open to enter into agreements and establish partnerships with other organizations such as CTA, FAO, CGIAR, national scientific societies, and platforms as there is GlobalHort.
What is the significance of the MOU and what collaborative actions might be possible?
The significance of the MOU is that the seven constituency groups are ready to go for collaborative action. Collaborative activities are foreseen on conferences, publications, communication, website assistance, and education and training. In addition, since GlobalHort is registered as an international foundation in Belgium, the ISHS ensures that the annual tax declaration of GlobalHort is correctly and timely done by the ISHS Secretariat also based in Belgium.
What is your vision of our long term partnership in respect to continental congresses (what role for GlobalHort in the future AAHC, and in Asia and Latinamerica as well), and capacity building (training workshops associated with sections, commissions and/or symposia of ISHS)?
The International Horticultural Congress and the regional congresses are by nature the best platforms to discuss major issues of transnational, regional and global importance to horticulture. To be successful the stakeholders must be involved, and contributions should not be limited to academics or scholars. ISHS is keen to interact with horticultural industry, consumers, trade, civil society, and others. GlobalHort is welcome to share its experience with us.
I understand that ISHS is developing a new web portal. Could you give us some idea of the changes that will be made in terms of interactive communication and media possibilities? We would very much welcome a scoop on the new website to advertise in our newsletter.
The ISHS website is indeed under revision with the objective of being more interactive and providing better information. Horticulture advocacy is an important addition to the website. We are launching an advocacy tool entitled ‘Harvesting the Sun’ that will showcase the huge importance of horticultural science and industry and the relevance of the horticultural profession for increasing the quality of life both in the North and the South.
THE TOMATO, BRASSICA (Cabbage, Broccoli, Cauliflower etc), MANGO AND PASSION FRUIT FARMING HANDBOOKS are among a series of several good agricultural practices manuals being researched and developed by KENGAP HORTICULTURE for all crops in Kenya. The handbooks are aimed to be a ready reckoner to farmers, students, private and public agricultural advisors among others.
These HANDBOOKS contain technical information on all the critical agronomic aspects of Tomato, Brassica, Mango and Passion Fruit farming. Moreover, they have coloured photographs on various cultural practices, pests and diseases. The handbooks give tips on cultural, biological and chemical control options to optimize yields sustainably.
Contact Janet Njogu on 0723-491549 or Evelyn Kagendo on 0721-621174 for more details.
Get your copy at Kshs.1000 only while stocks last.
Garissa Rd,Third South Avenue
Kahawa Sukari, Off Thika Rd.
P.O Box 12898-00400 Nairobi,Kenya
Tel:020 8026476,020 8026477
Mobile:0722 575544,0723 491549
XXVIII International Horticultural Congress on Science and Horticulture for People (IHC2010): International Symposium on Horticulture for Development. ISHS Acta Horticulturae 921
Conveners R. Kahane, L. Wasilwa, L.M. Martín Martín, A. Martín, J. Ganry, S. Mitra
Editors R. Kahane, L.M. Martín Martín, A. Martín
Publication date 31 December 2011
Number of articles 24
Place Lisbon, Portugal
Undercover Farming Expo, an expo focusing on intensive farming techniques and farming industries, has joined forces with Agribusiness in Sustainable Natural African Plant Products (ASNAPP), an organisation promoting sustainable economic development, to host a three day conference for existing and potential producers and buyers of vegetables, flowers, fruit and seedlings being produced under protective shelter.
This conference will run concurrently with the inaugural Undercover Farming Expo, which will be held from 6 to 8 March 2012 at The Saint George Hotel & Convention Centre near Pretoria.
Topics covered during this conference will include the prospects for the marketing of fresh produce in South Africa & Africa, the impact and applicability of NEMA 28 (Environmental Duty of Care) in the agricultural sector, implementing lean manufacturing principles in the greenhouse industry, the production and export of flowers from South Africa, the role of The World Vegetable Center in the development of the fresh produce and vegetable seed industry in East and Southern Africa, and the potential for the production and export of fresh produce from Namibia.
large number of international speakers from countries such as The Netherlands,
Belgium, Zambia, Namibia and Tanzania will participate in this conference.
Delport says this conference, together with the expo, will serve as a business hub and will create an exclusive platform for industry professionals to be on the frontier of protected farming and to network with key players in the industry. “Tunnel and shade-net farming is one of the newest forms of food production in Southern Africa and offers the ideal solution to producers investigating alternative methods of farming because of the increasing dryer climate. This expo and conference will cover all the elements involved in this production method, from tunnel construction, growth enhancements and climate conditions to seedlings, packaging and export opportunities.”
The Undercover Farming Expo and Conference is supported by Intensive Agriculture South Africa (IASA), South African Flower Growers (SAFGA) and South African Seedling Growers Association (SAGA).
For more information about Undercover Farming Expo / ASNAPP Conference visit www.undercoverfarmingexpo.co.za
A Tanzanian Company, A to Z Textile Mills, member of a consortium of companies producing OlysetR nets in Joint Venture with Sumitomo Chemicals Japan recently started to manufacture Agronets farmers can use to cover horticultural crops and prevent them from pest attacks. A to Z is partnering with the Michigan State University, Kenya Agricultural Research Institute, CIRAD, France, Egerton University and International Centre for Insect Physiology and Ecology in a USAID funded project to test the efficacy of these nettings.
Vector Health International (VHI) which is the name of the Joint Venture is in the process of building a new state-of-the-art research-and-development facility in Kisongo area of Arusha town which it plans to utilize to diversify its products. VHI has recently recruited a Director for the Centre, Dr Johnson O. Odera, who has been charged with the responsibility of overseeing the development and testing of new products, especially insecticide treated materials, for crop protection and vector control. >>>More
Research now underway at the Kenya Agricultural Research Institute (Kari) shows that a modified form of the mosquito net can used to protect cabbage plants from aphids and caterpillars.
Traditionally, bed nets were used to trap and prevent mosquitoes from biting human beings and infecting them with malaria, a deadly tropical disease.
Dr Lusike Wasilwa, an assistant director in charge of horticulture and industrial crops at Kari, says the initiative could be the most effective method of pest control on cabbages and tomatoes.
Dr. Jacky Ganry, Scientific Director of Fruits, has provided a short overview of GlobalHort over the last five years in the vol. 66 (2011) issue of Fruits . Please click here to access his editorial, "5 years already gone for GlobalHort."
Specialty Crops for Pacific Islands
by Craig R. Elevitch (Editor)
Hardcover - 576 pages
Full color - over 940 photographs
Format - 8.75" X 11.25" (22.2 cm X 28.6 cm)
Weight: 5 lb (2.3 kg)
Release date: July 2011 (expected)
Publisher: Permanent Agriculture Resources
This book covers:
• 26 important specialty crops
• Value-added processing
• Enterprise development
• Accessing unique markets
• Sustainable local food production
• Economic and ecological viability
• Multi-crop agroforestry systems
• Local systems with export potential
Click here to order.
The Invasive Species Compendium is an online, open access reference work covering recognition, biology, distribution, impact and management of the world's invasive plants and animalsThe Invasive Species Compendium currently covers over 1,500 species with over 7,000 basic summary datasheets and 1,500 detailed datasheets. You can also access over 800 full text articles (in pdf format) and 65,000 abstract summaries, with plans to add 10,000 more by the end of 2011. This new resource has been built upon a brand new technical platform which enables our experts to update the datasheets and bibliographical data on a weekly basis.Go to the new, open-access Invasive Species Compendium
CABI, a UK-based not for profit organization, has launched Plantwise, a new global initiative aimed at improving food security and the lives of the rural poor by reducing crop losses. The program is broadly composed of a network of plant clinics to be established internationally, and a knowledge bank comprised of worldwide data on crops and crop pests (including insects, weeds, pathogens/diseases).
Partial funding will be provided by the Swiss Agency for Development and Co-operation to the tune of US$9.3 million over a five-year period. Plantwise is designed to generate immediate positive impacts for the globe's
smallholder farmers said to be "the backbone of rural economies," and to fill current production voids until additional scientific pest management research becomes available.
The clinics will be patterned as "doctor's style clinics for plants," according to CABI information materials. Establishment of hundreds of community-based clinics in developing regions is envisioned. Currently there are clinics operating in 14 countries while the goal anticipates expansion to 40 nations during the next three years. The clinics, operated by trained local personnel, advise farmers on pests in a manner similar to the way a health center does for humans.The Plantwise knowledge bank--a prototype is set for launch in May 2011--will be a repository for high-quality information, both historical and current, and is seen as an underpinning for the plant clinics. A wide range of international sources will provide material, augmented by validated observations from the clinics. The gathered information is to be digitized, aggregated, structured, updated, and made searchable, CABI documents explain, thus "providing a level of detail that has simply not been available before." It is hoped that the bank will become a "comprehensive source of plant health intelligence."
Food security is a major concern in large parts of the developing world. Food production must clearly increase significantly to meet the future demands of an increasing and more affluent world population. This study illustrate that one of the first mean to fight imbalances and reduce tensions between the necessary increase in consumption and the challenging increase in production, is to also promote food loss reduction which alone has a considerable potential to increase the efficiency of the whole food chain. In a world with limited natural resources (land, water, energy, fertilizer), and where cost-effective solutions are to be found to produce enough safe and nutritious food for all, reducing food losses should not be a forgotten priority. The study revealed that there are major data gaps in the knowledge of global food loss and waste. Further research in the area is urgent.
This new publication “Global Food Losses and Food Waste: Extent, Causes and Prevention” is based on studies carried out from August 2010 to January 2011 by The Swedish Institute for Food and Biotechnology (SIK) on request from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO). Two studies on global food losses (one for high/medium-income countries and one for low income countries) were conducted to serve as a basis for the international congress Save Food!, 16-17 May 2011, at the international packaging industry fair Interpack2011 in Düsseldorf, Germany. Save Food! The aim of this congress was to raise awareness on global food losses and waste, and on the impact of these on poverty and hunger in the world, as well as on climate change and on the use of natural resources.
The results of the study suggest that roughly one-third of food produced for human consumption is lost or wasted globally, which amounts to about 1.3 billion tons per year. This inevitably also means that huge amounts of the resources used in food production are used in vain, and that the greenhouse gas emissions caused by production of food that gets lost or wasted are also emissions in vain. Food is lost or wasted throughout the supply chain, from initial agricultural production down to final household consumption.
The food supply chains in developing countries need to be strengthened by, inter alia, encouraging small farmers to organize and to diversify and upscale their production and marketing. Investments in infrastructure, transportation, food industries and packaging industries are also required. Both the public and private sectors have a role to play in achieving this. The causes of food losses and waste in medium/high-income countries mainly relate to consumer behavior as well as to a lack of coordination between different actors in the supply chain. Farmer-buyer sales agreements may contribute to quantities of farm crops being wasted. Food can be wasted due to quality standards, which reject food items not perfect in shape or appearance. At the consumer level, insufficient purchase planning and expiring ‘best-before-dates’ also cause large amounts of waste, in combination with the careless attitude of those consumers who can afford to waste food. Food waste in industrialized countries can be reduced by raising awareness among food industries, retailers and consumers. There is a need to find good and beneficial use for safe food that is presently thrown away.
While increasing primary food production is paramount to meet the future increase in final demand, tensions between production and access to food can also be reduced by tapping into the potential to reduce food losses. Efficient solutions exist along the whole food chain, for reducing total amounts of food lost and wasted. Actions should not only be directed towards isolated parts of the chain, since what is done (or not done) in one part has effects in others. In low income countries, measures should foremost have a producer perspective, e.g. by improving harvest techniques, farmer education, storage facilities and cooling chains. In industrialized countries on the other hand, solutions at producer and industrial level would only be marginal if consumers continue to waste at current levels. Consumer households need to be informed and change the behavior which causes the current high levels of food waste. Another point to be stressed is that the food supply chain of today is more and more globalized. Certain food items are produced, transformed and consumed in very different parts of the world. The impact of growing international trade on food losses still has to be better assessed.
Due to lack of sufficient data, many assumptions on food waste levels at foremost the distribution and consumption levels had to be made. Therefore, the results in this study must be interpreted with great caution. Further research in the area is urgent, especially considering that food security is a major concern in large parts of the developing world.
Opportunities exist for collective actions involving GlobalHort, Crops for the Future, the Non-Timber Forest Products Partnership, Bioversity International, the Global Crop Diversity Trust, and others. These partners share the vision that encouraging and facilitating the cultivation and marketing of a greater diversity of high value specialty crops, both indigenous and exotic, can significantly improve incomes and health of the rural poor. They also point to the important environmental services pro-vided and to the ‘preservation through use’ of valuable plant genetic resources.
At a January 20-21 Workshop convened in Rome by the Global Forum for Agricultural Research (GFAR) and the Secretariat of the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (ITPGRFA), GlobalHort Board Chair, Norman Looney, helped to craft a manifesto for this kind of Collective Action. It was agreed that GFAR would provide the required leadership and coordination, noting that the promotion of High-Value Specialty Plants such as horticultural crops could make an important contribution to the GFAR effort to connect, inform, and identify priority issues for the global community of professionals engaged in agri-cultural and socio-economic research for development. Dr. Looney observed that GlobalHort can contribute importantly to ensuring that high-value specialty plants and crops receive the attention deserved within the context of reducing poverty and improving food and nutrition security of smallholders.
March 2011, Rome - If women in rural areas had the same access to land, technology, financial services, education and markets as men, agricultural production could be increased and the number of hungry people reduced by 100-150 million, FAO said in its 2010-11 edition of The State of Food and Agriculture report.
Yields on plots managed by women are lower than those managed by men, the report said. But this is not because women are worse farmers than men. They simply do not have the same access to inputs. If they did, their yields would go up, they would produce more and overall agricultural production would increase, the report said.
"The report makes a powerful business case for promoting gender equality in agriculture," said FAO Director-General Jacques Diouf.
"Gender equality is not just a lofty ideal, it is also crucial for agricultural development and food security. We must promote gender equality and empower women in agriculture to win, sustainably, the fight against hunger and extreme poverty," he added.
The 221-page report, titled Foresight. The Future of Food and Farming and written by the Government Office for Science in the United Kingdom. Released on Jan. 25 and produced by about 400 leading experts and stakeholders from about 35 low-, middle and high-income countries across the world, it makes for bleak reading. The Asia Sentinal has an excellent review of the report.
Sir John Beddington, chief scientific adviser to the British government, in an interview for The Economist talks about this report and why the era of cheap food is over. "The food system is not working because it is not sustainable."
The "Foresight" report covers all aspects of the global food system: including governance at all scales, food production and processing, the supply chain and also consumer attitudes and demands. The report is also relevant to policy makers and others with an interest in areas that interact with the food system, for example, climate change mitigation, energy and water competition and land use.
In Chapter 4, "Challenge A: Balancing Future Demand and Supply Sustainability," the authors state that for perishable higher-value products such as fish and fruit, access to urban and export markets can transform local opportunities, but require adequate facilities for storage and refrigeration, and efficient supply chain management.
In Chapter 6, "Ending Hunger," there is an argument that dietary change can have multiple benefits on both public health and environmental sustainability, with synergies across different areas of policy. Advocating the consumption of foods that use fewer resources (land, water, fertiliser and other inputs) usually increases sustainability and reduces greenhouse gas emissions. Guidelines on changing diets to achieve health nutrition and sustainability aims include:
Abdou Tenkouano, Director of AVRDC's Regional Center for Africa, says it's time for a “Revolution of Greens.” Abdou contributed a chapter, "The Nutritional and Economic Potential of Vegetables". about the Center's work in the influential State of the World 2011 report, published annually by the Worldwatch Institute.
He presented the Center’s activities in:
The report is written in clear, concise language, with easy-to-read charts and tables, State of the World 2011, produced with support from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, provides a practical vision of the innovations that will allow billions of people to feed themselves, while restoring rural economies, creating livelihoods, and sustaining the natural resource base on which agriculture depends.
THE COMING FAMINE
The Global Food Crisis and What We Can Do to Avoid It
By Julian Cribb
248 pages. University of California Press. $24.95.
If you have tried to track down data related to food, agriculture and hunger, chances are you have spent time navigating through the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations’ Statistical database (FAOSTAT). If not, there is no better time to start than now. FAO recently announced that it is granting unlimited, free access of FAOSTAT to the general public after a simple registration process. Prior to this, there were limits to the number of records non-fee paying users could retrieve, and a subscription fee of US$1500 per user for full access. Visit Worldwatch Blog for more information.