September 25, 2017

Unravelling Zimbabwe’s “Food Crisis”

ICRC distributes maize to farmers in Zimbabwe's Fuchira region affected by drought. (Photo by Olivier Moeckli via ICRC)

Is there a food crisis in Zimbabwe? The UN says 2.2 million people will be in need of food assistance until the end of March, based on a 2013 government-led joint survey by the Zimbabwe Vulnerability Assessment Committee (ZimVAC). But the government is now questioning those findings.   The Zimbabwean media have reported extensively on the seeming tug-of-war. But an IRIN investigation ... Read More »

How Will the Farm Bill Affect Americans

A ranch in Colorado. (Photo by The PAW Project, Creative Commons License)

Every five years (or so), Congress passes a massive package of agriculture-related legislation known simply as the Farm Bill. This year’s model (which is actually a bit late—the previous version expired in 2012) is responsible for nearly $1 trillion in government spending over the next decade. It might be easy to assume the Farm Bill (which passed the House last ... Read More »

How Europe Can Solve Soy Conflicts

Yellow fields of canola in the spring in Czech Republic in northern Europe. (Photo by roger4336, Creative Commons License)

As the most fertile continent in the world, Europe is almost self-sufficient in all major food crops. Almost. We produce more than enough grains, corn and vegetables to feed the continent’s population. But there is only one crop category where Europe is almost completely relying on imports: proteins. Within the EU, we produce only 20% of the total amount of ... Read More »

Fighting Food Insecurity in Afghanistan

A baker sorts out freshly baked traditional Afghan naan bread in Arghandab Valley, southern Afghanistan. (Photo by Jason Gutierrez via IRIN)

A network of critical emergency grain reserves across Afghanistan is set to boost food security and help strengthen resilience in a country that struggles to grow enough food to feed its 31 million people.   “Grain reserves for a country like Afghanistan are absolutely critical,” Gerard Rebello, Head of Logistics & Pipeline at the UN World Food Program (WFP), told ... Read More »

They’re Feeding WHAT to Cows?

A dairy farm in Lancaster county in Pennsylvania. (Photo by Tony Fischer, Creative Commons License)

Anyone who pays even scant attention to where our food comes from is likely aware that some pretty unsavory things happen between the farm and your fork (see this month’s big story in Rolling Stone, for example). But some of these farming methods are more than just unappetizing: they could be deadly. One practice in particular could allow for the spread of bovine spongiform encephalopathy, ... Read More »

China’s Farmers Innovate to Adapt to Climate Change

Climate change

  The film “Planting for Change” tells the story of how farmers in Guangxi and Yunnan provinces have responded to climatic adversity by using their own innovations and biocultural heritage – and by improving this heritage by working with scientists on participatory plant breeding projects.   For the past three years, this region, which is rich in biocultural heritage and landscape beauty, has been ... Read More »

Land grabbing Reflects Dominant Development Model

(Photo by by Planète à vendre, Creative Commons License)

The term ‘global land grab’ has recently re-entered the lexicon to describe a surge in national and transnational commercial large-scale land deals. In recent years, various actors, from big agribusiness corporations, to financial investors such as banks and hedge funds, to state-owned enterprises and sovereign wealth funds, and more, have been targeting tracts of land around the world. In many ... Read More »

Africa’s Vanishing Forests

The forest of Gbarpolu County. Shot outside Bopolu, Liberia. (Photo by tlupic, Creative Commons License)

You see that coconut tree?” said Daniel Krakue, gesturing out beyond the windshield. “That used to be a village.” It wasn’t hard to see the tree. Apart from a skinny papaya trunk, it was the only thing rising from the surrounding sea of green. We were in Sinoe County, in southwestern Liberia, on a plantation run by a company called ... Read More »

Bhutan’s Drying Orchards Worry Farmers

Bhutan's mandarin harvest is dwindling and the fruit quality is low. (Photo by allenjaelee)

This used to be the time of the year in Bhutan that put smile on the face of mandarin farmers, the time of the year when they could earn some cash to score their dreams – of sending their kids to schools and colleges, of upping their material gratification as they liked it.   Mandarin was the gold that Bhutanese ... Read More »

Farmers Seek to Secure Food Sovereignty in Honduras

A farmer digs irrigation channels for his maize crop during Honduras' intense dry season. (Photo by by CIAT International Center for Tropical Agriculture)

In many Honduran communities, men and women awake at dawn to tend the land to feed their families. The hillsides and valleys at daybreak smell of freshly made coffee and damp earth, so much so it’s a part of the national identity. Nevertheless, the campesinos are one of the most vulnerable populations in a country where land scarcity is a daily battle. ... Read More »