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.

A New Deal for Poor Farmers
May 31, 2008 11:27 AM - , Global Policy Innovations Program

Many poor, food-importing countries around the world have become desperate in recent months, as global prices of rice, wheat, and maize have doubled. Hundreds of millions of poor people, who already spend a large share of their daily budget on food, are being pushed to the edge. Food riots are mounting.

Funds miss the small farmers caring for marginal but environmentally valuable lands
May 29, 2008 09:30 AM - WWF

EU funding programmes that consider farmers only as food producers, neglect the environmental and social benefits they also provide. This is one of the main conclusions of a series of studies recently completed by WWF and the European Forum for Nature Conservation and Pastoralism, and presented in Brussels on 15 May.

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.

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