September 23, 2017

Video Explores Ethiopia Land Grabs

Ethiopia map

Land Grabbing is not new. Companies from wealthy countries have always sought low-cost land for agricultural production. In Ethiopia, more than six million people survive because of UN food aid, while agricultural products cultivated on land leased to foreign investors are exported. Read More »

Drought Threatens Central America Food Security

(Photo by Neil Palmer (CIAT), Creative Commons License)

Severe drought has ravaged crops through Central America and has driven up the food prices. Up to 2.8 million people in El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras are in risk of famine. Read More »

Hunger in the Land of Plenty — South Africa

A harvester at a farm just outside of Magaliesburg, South Africa. (Photo by StormSignal, Creative Commons License)

Despite being a middle-income country, South Africa has a long and shameful history of those in power ignoring the needs and the interests of the majority. Colonial and subsequent Apartheid laws reduced black people in South Africa to merely being cheap labor to service the needs of these economies. Poverty, inequality and hunger, while visible in the faces and cupped hands of people at traffic lights in middle-class neighborhoods, largely continue to be felt most in townships, informal settlements and rural areas which are often located far away from economic and suburban hubs. Read More »

Record Harvest Loss, Food Shortages Hit Dry Sri Lanka

Steeped in water intensive traditional practices, Sri Lanka’s rice farmers find it hard to adapt to changing climate patterns. (Photo by Amantha Perera/IRIN)

A ten-month long acute dry spell has sent Sri Lankan government scrambling to ease the impact of record harvest losses. The country’s rice harvest is likely to be down about 17 percent from the 4 million tons recorded in 2013, which would make it the lowest in six years. Read More »

US Set for Record Farm Exports Amidst Global Growth

Wheat being harvested at an American farm. (Photo by Charles Knowles, Creative Commons License)

Low energy prices and increasingly available credit make the U.S. agricultural export trade outlook promising in 2014. The farm exports will reach a record $149.5 billion in the year ending Sept. 30, up $6.9 billion from a February forecast. Read More »

Sunburnt Beans Can Hurt Coffee Industry

Natural coffee beans. (Photo by Lilian Wong, Creative Commons License)

More and more coffee beans are being grown under the sun (with lots of help from fertilizer and pesticides), casting a shadow on the whole industry. A whopping 98 percent of the world’s coffee comes from farmers growing berries under a hot tropical sun—from plants that need lots of synthetic fertilizers and pesticides to thrive. Read More »

End of the Lime

(Photo by digitalexander, Creative Commons License)

My first inkling of the Great American Lime Crisis of 2014 came when I ordered a vodka tonic in Washington, D.C., recently. I didn’t think much about it when my server told me the restaurant was out of limes and offered to garnish my drink with a lemon instead (pass). But when the same thing happened at a bar in ... Read More »

World Bank Accused of Facilitating Africa Land Grab

A farm in Axum, Ethiopia. (Photo by A.Davey, Creative Commons License)

A new research report accuses the World Bank of favoring the interests of financial markets over food security and following such policies that facilitate land grab in Africa. “While nearly 80 percent of food consumed in sub-Saharan Africa and Asia is produced by smallholder farmers, the Bank negates the importance of small-scale farming for sustainable rural development and food security,” ... Read More »

Is Africa’s Land up for Grabs?

An aerial view of fields in Laikipia County, Kenya. Photo: (Photo by Panos/Frederic Courbet, via Africa Renewal)

An apparent surge in the purchase of African land by foreign companies and governments to grow food and other crops for export has set alarm bells ringing on and off the continent. The headlines have been strident: “The Second Scramble for Africa Starts,” “Quest for Food Security Breeds Neo-Colonists,” “Food Security or Economic Slavery?”   The outcries reflect the continuing ... Read More »

Trading Away West Africa’s Hunger

Tighter security in Cameroon over Boko Haram threat is choking cross-border trade with Nigeria. (Photo by Monde Nfor/IRIN)

Poor roads and railways, high transaction costs, lack of sufficient market information, incoherent trade policies by governments and bureaucratic hurdles are among limitations to free trade in West Africa. Import and export procedures are more costly and more time consuming in West Africa than any region of the world, experts say.   For instance, according to a 2010 study by the UN ... Read More »