Agriculture

Experts Admit Food Prices & Mass Hunger for the Poor Will Continue for Next Decade
May 29, 2008 09:09 AM - , Organic Consumers Association

The UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) noted in a press release from yesterday that, "The latest Food Outlook indicates that the food import bill of the Low Income Food Deficit Countries (LIFDCs) is expected to reach US$169 billion in 2008, 40 percent more than in 2007. FAO calls the sustained rise in imported food expenditures for vulnerable country groups 'a worrying development,' and says that by the end of 2008 their annual food import basket could cost four times as much as it did in 2000.

Organic-Food Desire, Soaring Grocery Bills Contributing to Trend
May 28, 2008 09:03 AM - , Organic Consumers Association

Keely Sinclair was worried about the politics of food - how far it travels, how safe it is, how pesticides affect the environment. On top of that, the 38-year-old office manager realized one day that she was spending an awful lot of money on organic produce.

Aquaculture Operations Seek Organic Certification
May 28, 2008 08:27 AM - , Worldwatch Institute

Of the several proposed or available labels for seafood products, none are as divisive as organic. As the aquaculture, or fish farming, industry continues its rapid expansion, some U.S. environmental groups have called on the government to set organic standards for aquaculture. Their hopes are that the booming organic market, with its higher premium, would motivate fish farms to clean up their acts. Others remain unconvinced that an organic fish market could address aquaculture's environmental concerns without ruining the credibility of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) organic label.

Climate change may trim corn yields
May 28, 2008 01:30 AM - Reuters

Warmer temperatures brought on by climate change could trim output of some U.S. crops like corn in coming decades, but increase yields from other crops like soybeans, government scientists said on Tuesday. U.S. corn output dips and rises from year-to-year but has risen overall as farmers use new seeds and fertilizers to maximize growth.

Market and Community Approaches to Food Crisis
May 26, 2008 09:12 AM - , Global Policy Innovations Program

The first quarter of this year saw food prices skyrocket, with the World Bank recording a 75 percent increase in its food price index since September 2006. The challenges for policymakers, however, extend beyond the current crisis. Since early 2002, food prices have risen by 140 percent, with the effect falling disproportionately on the poor. Meanwhile, a third of food bought in the United Kingdom is thrown away. There are fundamental problems of distribution and price stability that governments and NGOs must address if we are to repair food production and avoid further crises.

Conserve Water Through Food Efficiency, Report Says
May 23, 2008 07:59 AM - , Worldwatch Institute

If government, industry, and civil society worked together to improve efficiency, wasted food could be cut in half by 2025, the report says. Water conservation recommendations included advanced technologies to capture more rainwater for agriculture, incentives for consumers to waste less food, and benchmark standards for industry to reduce water use in the entire food chain.

Basic food crops dangerously vulnerable
May 22, 2008 08:51 AM - WWF

In the case of wheat, for instance, as a deadly new strain of Black Stem Rust devastates harvests across Africa and Arabia, and threatens the staple food supply of a billion people from Egypt to Pakistan, the areas where potentially crop and life-saving remnant wild wheat relatives grow are only minimally protected.

Oregano oil works as well as synthetic insecticides against beetles
May 22, 2008 08:28 AM - Society of Chemical Industry

New research in the Society of Chemical Industry’s Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture shows that oregano oil works as well as synthetic insecticides to combat infestation by a common beetle, Rhizoppertha dominica, found in stored cereals. Not only does oregano oil work as well as synthetic versions but it has none of the associated side effects of synthetic insecticides on the environment.

30 Agrochemical Products Banned in Nigeria After Deaths
May 20, 2008 08:27 AM - , Organic Consumers Association

The National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) has banned the sale and supply of 30 different agrochemical products in the country. NAFDAC Director-General, Professor Dora Akunyili, explained in Abuja that the ban became necessary when it was discovered that the pesticides were causing food poisoning that had resulted in the death of many after they consumed food crops preserved with the chemicals.

Agri-biotech firms committing 'intellectual property grab'
May 19, 2008 09:05 AM - , SciDevNet

Some of the world's major agri-biotech companies are applying for hundreds of patents on genetically engineered 'climate crops', carrying out what amounts to an "intellectual property grab" in the lucrative market, according to a recent report. About 530 patents have been applied for worldwide, with a few dozen granted and hundreds pending. They include traits such as drought, flooding, high salt level, high temperatures and ultraviolet radiation — all of which endanger food security.

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