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GlobalHort’s Board Meeting at Bioversity International in Rome

Published on 10th Mar 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:

  • advocating greater support for H4sD initiatives worldwide,
  • networking the diverse and dispersed H4sD community of actors,
  • facilitating research that aims at improving smallholder horticulture and H4sD, and
  • strengthening capacity development to foster the implementation of R&D results concerning H4sD.
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.
All board members came to Rome for the two-day annual board meeting on February 16 and 17, 2015
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

Prof. Dr. Roderick A. Drew, President of ISHS, is the new Vice Chair of the Board of Directors of GlobalHort

Published on 10th Mar 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.

Horticulture is a key area of growth in The Gambia

Published on 10th Mar 2015

Horticulture is rapidly emerging as one of the key growth areas of The Gambian economy. Read more here.

The National Agriculture Export Board (Naeb) of Rwanda plans to set up a modern horticulture centre

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.

ASB and the World Agroforestry Centre published a book on Climate-Smart Landscapes: Multifunctionality in Practice.

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.

UN Women, FAO, IFAD and WFP jointly organize a Fair on Rural Women’s Technologies in Agriculture, Nairobi 15-17 October 2014


New issue of News@GlobalHort now Available

Published on 5th Nov 2012

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.

Editorial: The Urgent Need for African Leadership in Science, Engineering and Technology to Transform African Agriculture into Agri-Food Value Chains

Published on 25th Sep 2013

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's Farmers Organization Focuses on Food Waste and Food Loss

Published on 18th Dec 2013

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 Farmers' Organization Focuses on Water

Published on 20th Aug 2013

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

In memory of Jacky Ganry

Published on 6th Mar 2013

The world of horticultural science has indeed lost a dear friend anJacky Ganryd 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 and CIRAD.

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

Canada announces new initiative, PROPEL, with Jamaica to boost fruit and vegetable prodution

Published on 23rd Oct 2012

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) Meets in Burkina Faso

Published on 23rd Oct 2012

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.


New Publication: Harvesting the Sun – A Profile of World Horticulture by ISHS

Published on 29th Jun 2012

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.

GlobalHort Signs MOU with ISHS

Published on 24th Apr 2012

In early March a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) was signedDr. António Monteiro, President, ISHS 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.

KENGAP Horticulture publishes new series of farming handbooks

Published on 30th May 2012

THE TOMATO, BRASSICA (Cabbage, Broccoli, Cauliflower etc), MANGOMango Handbook 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
Fax:020 8026477
Mobile:0722 575544,0723 491549

ISHS Horticulture for Development Symposium now published (IHC2010)

Published on 26th Feb 2012

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
ISBN      978-90-66054-50-9
ISSN      0567-7572
Number of articles      24
Volumes      1
Place      Lisbon, Portugal 

Undercover Farming Expo and ASNAPP host conference for intensive farming industry 6 to 8 March 2012

Published on 7th Feb 2012

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.

A 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


Tanzania-based consortium to start manufacturing Agronets

Published on 16th Aug 2011

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

Mosquito nets can be used to protect cabbage plants from aphids and caterpillars

Published on 19th Jul 2011

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.


Fifth anniversary of GlobalHort subject of editorial in recent issue of Fruits journal

Published on 14th Jul 2011

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."

New Book: "Speciality Crops for Pacific Islands"

Published on 13th Jul 2011

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
ISBN-13: 978-0-9702544-8-1

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.

CABI launches open access Invasive Species Compendium

Published on 8th Jun 2011

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

  • Download a range of information materials
  • View an introductory video
  • Learn more about CABI's work with invasive species by signing up to our invasives blog

Global crop loss initiative launched by CABI

Published on 3rd Jun 2011

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."
 CABI, Plantwise, Nosworthy Way, Wallingford, Oxforshire, OX10 8DE, UK.  Fax: 44-0-1491-833508.  Voice: 44-0-1491-832111.
   --excerpted, with thanks, from CABI Ezine, April 2011.   

New FAO study find that more research is needed on the reduction of food losses at all levels

Published on 27th May 2011

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.

  • In medium- and high-income countries food is to a significant extent wasted at the consumption stage, meaning that it is discarded even if it is still suitable for human consumption. Significant losses also occur early in the food supply chains in the industrialized regions.
  • In low-income countries food is lost mostly during the early and middle stages of the food supply chain; much less food is wasted at the consumer level. Overall, on a per-capita basis, much more food is wasted in the industrialized world than in developing countries. It is estimated that the per capita food waste by consumers in Europe and North-America is 95-115 kg/year, while this figure in Sub-Saharan Africa and South/Southeast Asia is only 6-11 kg/year.
  • The causes of food losses and waste in low-income countries are mainly connected to financial, managerial and technical limitations in harvesting techniques, storage and cooling facilities in difficult climatic conditions, infrastructure, packaging and marketing systems. Given that many smallholder farmers in developing countries live on the margins of food insecurity, a reduction in food losses could have an immediate and significant impact on their livelihoods.

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.

Going Forward: Agro-Biodiversity Collective Action Strategy

Published on 22nd Apr 2011

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.

Women are key to easing world hunger says FAO report

Published on 9th Mar 2011

 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.

Foresight: The Future of Food and Farming (2011) highlights rising food prices and the importance of fruit and vegetables

Published on 25th Jan 2011

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:

  • The UK Sustainable Development Commission has identified guidelines for effecting changes to diets that will contribute the most towards sustainability, while encompassing existing guidance on public health nutrition. Recommendations include a reduction in the consumption of highly-processed energy-dense foods that produce more GHG (Greenhouse Gas) emissions than fruit and vegetables, the latter having a clear health benefit.
  • Oxfam’s ‘4-a-week’ report highlights the need for a change in consumption in the UK to militate against climate change and reduce global hunger. To deliver environmental and social justice Oxfam argues for a change in consumer behaviour to waste less food, reduce the consumption of meat and dairy products, buy fair-trade produce, and buy foods from low-income countries.

"It's time for a Revolution of Greens" says Abdou Tenkouano, Director of AVRDC's Regional Center for Africa

Published on 25th Jan 2011

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:

  • Paticipatory research to involve farmers in the evaluation and selection of vegetable varieties suitable for local climates and market preferences
  • Poviding policy, technical, and managerial support to develop and strengthen the vegetable seed supply chain in Africa
  • Pomoting indigenous vegetables for their nutritional qualities and market potential “Staples such as rice, maize, wheat, and cassava have been the focus of much research and investment, yet an abundance of these crops will only amount to a ‘Grain Revolution’ if the vegetables required to balance the diet are not equally abundant,” said Tenkouano. “A “Revolution of Greens” is necessary as well.”

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.

See the Table of Contents for more information.  Click here to purchase the book.

New Book: The Coming Famine by Julian Cribb

Published on 28th Oct 2010

THE COMING FAMINE The Comining Famine

The Global Food Crisis and What We Can Do to Avoid It

By Julian Cribb

248 pages. University of California Press. $24.95.   

 (To order book)

In The Coming Famine, Julian Cribb lays out a vivid picture of impending planetary crisis--a global food shortage that threatens to hit by mid-century--that would dwarf any in our previous experience. Cribb's comprehensive assessment describes a dangerous confluence of shortages--of water, land, energy, technology, and knowledge--combined with the increased demand created by population and economic growth. Writing in brisk, accessible prose, Cribb explains how the food system interacts with the environment and with armed conflict, poverty, and other societal factors. He shows how high food prices and regional shortages are already sending shockwaves into the international community. But, far from outlining a doomsday scenario, The Coming Famine offers a strong and positive call to action, exploring the greatest issue of our age and providing practical suggestions for addressing each of the major challenges it raises.


NewYork Times Book Review

"Julian Cribb warns with a well synthesized evidence base about a potential famine in the making. The food crisis is already daily reality for one billion people. The book is not just a warning but offers sound guidance for the needed actions; easily understandable but suitably comprehensive, leaving no excuse for inaction."—Joachim von Braun, Director General, International Food Policy Research Institute

"The Coming Famine is an erudite and learned analysis of humanity's greatest challenge. At this very minute we are jeopardizing the rights to food for a billion people, and the effects will be felt by us all through migration, dietary changes and increased health risks, whether we believe it or not. This is a book all thinking people should read."— Lindsay Falvey, University of Cambridge

Now Free for All: FAO’s Statistical Database

Published on 17th Aug 2010

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.

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