Agriculture

Food Is Gold, and Investors Pour Billions into Farming
June 7, 2008 12:32 PM - , Organic Consumers Association

Huge investment funds have already poured hundreds of billions of dollars into booming financial markets for commodities like wheat, corn and soybeans. But a few big private investors are starting to make bolder and longer-term bets that the world's need for food will greatly increase - by buying farmland, fertilizer, grain elevators and shipping equipment.

Monsanto & USDA's Latest Propaganda: We'll Solve the World Food Crisis with GMOs, Patented Seeds, & Chemicals
June 6, 2008 09:44 AM - , Organic Consumers Association

Monsanto, the leader in agricultural biotechnology, pledged Wednesday to develop seeds that would double the yields of corn, soybeans and cotton by 2030 and would require 30 percent less water, land and energy to grow. The announcement, coming as world leaders are meeting in Rome to discuss rising food prices and growing food shortages, appears to be aimed at least in part at winning acceptance of genetically modified crops by showing that they can play a major role in feeding the world.

Brazil Clashes With the World on Biofuels and the Global Food Crisis
June 6, 2008 09:36 AM - , Triple Pundit

At the UN Food and Agriculture Food Organization (FAO) summit that concluded today in Rome, Brazilian President Lula da Silva said the US is full of bad cholesterol. Defending his nation’s ethanol production against arguments that biofuels are causing deforestation and worsening the global food crisis, Lula said that the real problems are agro-subsidies and food crop-based biofuels. He compared ethanol to cholesterol in a speech last night to the FAO Committee, saying, “There is good ethanol and bad ethanol. Good ethanol helps clean up the planet and is competitive. Bad ethanol comes with the fat of subsidies.”

Wealthy Financiers Looking to Agriculture for Major Investment
June 6, 2008 09:06 AM - , Organic Consumers Association

Huge investment funds have already poured hundreds of billions of dollars into booming financial markets for commodities like wheat, corn and soybeans. But a few big private investors are starting to make bolder and longer-term bets that the world's need for food will greatly increase - by buying farmland, fertilizer, grain elevators and shipping equipment.

GMOs Will Only Make the Global Food Crisis Worse
June 5, 2008 09:30 AM - , Organic Consumers Association

In 1994, I met some of the most remarkable leaders in the Third World: Tewolde Berhan Gebre Egziabher (Institute of Sustainable Development, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia), Martin Khor (Third World Network, Penang, Malaysia), and Vandana Shiva (Navdanya, New Delhi, India), who persuaded me to look into genetically modified organisms (GMOs), especially GM crops, which they rightly saw as a special threat to small family farmers.

Organic Milk from Pasture-Fed Cows Contains Higher Levels of Beneficial Nutrients
June 5, 2008 09:05 AM - , Organic Consumers Association

Cows that graze on fresh pasture produce milk with higher levels of antioxidants and beneficial fatty acids, such as conjugated linoleic acid and omega-3's, as shown by a recently published study from Newcastle University in the UK. "Grazing dairy cows on grass or grass and clover swards produces milk with a healthier fatty acid profile and higher levels of fat soluble vitamins and antioxidants," notes Gillian Butler, livestock project manager for the Nafferton Ecological Farming Group at Newcastle University, who led the study.

A new satellite remote sensing tool for improving agricultural land use observation
June 4, 2008 09:31 AM - Institut de Recherche Pour le Developpement

FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations) data indicate that annually 2500 km3 of freshwater are used for agricultural production, which amounts to 70% of the water resources the whole of humanity consumes in a year. With the global population continuing to grow at a high pace, it is essential to optimize the use of water resources and to increase agricultural production in view of the prospect of having to feed 8 billion humans in 2030. Scientists have for many years been using remote-sensing satellite observations to improve water balance and farming yield assessment on large geographical scales (at the level of irrigated agriculture areas, catchment basins and so on).

Average shoppers are willing to pay a premium for locally produced food
June 4, 2008 09:20 AM - American Journal of Agricultural Economics

New research suggests that the average supermarket shopper is willing to pay a premium price for locally produced foods, providing some farmers an attractive option to enter a niche market that could boost their revenues. The study also showed that shoppers at farm markets are willing to pay almost twice as much extra as retail grocery shoppers for the same locally produced foods.

Researchers boost yields of rice-waste biofuel
June 3, 2008 09:57 AM - , SciDevNet

Chinese scientists have developed a new method that dramatically increases the yield of a clean biogas fuel from rice straw. China is the world's largest rice producer and the industry results in 230 million tonnes a year of surplus rice 'straw' — the stem and leaves left behind after harvesting. Farmers often burn the straw, increasing pollution and carbon dioxide emissions (see Stalk burning fuels China pollution woes).

Rich countries 'failed to heed' food crisis warnings
June 3, 2008 09:19 AM - New Scientist

The UN Food and Agriculture Organization asked the world's countries today for $30 billion a year to "re-launch world agriculture" and deal with food shortages that have caused soaring food prices, hunger and unrest worldwide. The call came at the start of a three-day intergovernmental meeting at FAO headquarters in Rome to deal with the doubling of average world food prices since 2000, which has accelerated sharply in the past six months. In an indication of the seriousness of the situation, 44 heads of government are attending.

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