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.
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.