Did you know that there are 1.5 billion people worldwide who are estimated to be involved in family farming?
The United Nations has declared 2014 as the International Year of Family Farming (IYFF) to recognize the importance of family farming in reducing poverty and improving global food security. So what is family farming?
From Rwanda, Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania, key representatives of agricultural institutions gathered in Nairobi last week for the first ever joint workshop led by CABI’s Plantwise programme and the International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC) Secretariat. The workshop was convened in an effort to exchange national experiences in plant protection and pave the way for renewed strategies to share plant pest information from the region.
The workshop highlighted the variety of actors already working in each country to detect, report and respond to pest problems, which on average account for 40% of crop losses worldwide and threaten trade and food security. However, across the region it was apparent that all national systems could benefit from additional resources and collaboration, especially for fulfilling national reporting obligations under the IPPC. Since 1951, the IPPC has been responsible for protecting agriculture and the environment by limiting the spread of plant pests. Essential to this mission is country-level cooperation among different organizations.
“Meeting food needs and becoming industrialized countries, we can do that before 2030,” says Dr Augusta Abate, FAO representative in Kenya, “but this requires reducing crop losses and working together to safeguard food security. These are some of the things we are discussing here today.”
Among the plant health resources available to help countries meet reporting obligations, inform national strategy, and ultimately help farmers in East Africa respond to emerging plant health problems, is the Plantwise programme. Now working with partners in over 30 countries worldwide, including the 4 countries present at the workshop, Plantwise helps implement front-line pest detection and national response through a network of local plant clinics, backed by a global plant health knowledge bank.
Bringing together key players in food security from the private, public and civil society sector, the Economist’s annual Feeding the World conference yesterday in London also highlighted CABI’s efforts to level the playing field for the smallholder farmer. Invited to speak on the afternoon panel focused on trade and supply chain resources, CABI’s CEO Dr Trevor Nicholls spoke about the need for delivering access to ‘appropriate technologies’ for the smallholder farmers as one key to securing a more food secure future SEE VIDEO CLIP HERE. “CABI is working to level the playing field for smallscale farmers,” said Dr Nicholls, “in terms of access to practical, appropriate technologies and information, for example, mobile voice messaging with weather forecasts and pest management advice.” DFID’s MP Lynne Featherstone echoed the importance of support for these projects in her remarks to The Economist attendees. “By supporting programmes like CABI’s Direct to Farm (D2F) initiative, we’re reaching over 4 million farmers with resources to help them increase productivity,” commented Featherstone.
It is perhaps not surprising that the latest statistics from the Met Office in the UK show that this winter has been one of the most exceptional periods of rainfall in England and Wales in at least 248 years, thanks to a sequence of low pressure weather systems making their way across the Atlantic. As storms and flooding continue to cause misery in many parts of the UK, the Met Office and the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology (CEH) have released a report that examines at the nature of the flooding and whether climate change has contributed to the severity of the weather and its subsequent impact.
Boating tourism contributed an estimated £3.7 billion to the UK economy in 2012/13, according to the new comprehensive report published by the British Marine Federation.
This figure accounts for 3.2% of all tourism expenditure in the UK, and supports approximately 96,000 full-time equivalent (FTE) jobs through direct and indirect effects. This annual contribution to the UK economy in 2012/13 is estimated to be larger than the total tourism impact of the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games between 2005 and 2017 (including pre-event visits, the Games themselves and the estimated ongoing legacy effect).
As Russia prepares to host the 22nd Olympic Winter Games, the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has begun to release the findings of its Fifth Assessment Report. If the climate projections of the IPCC report prove accurate, only six of the previous 19 host cities will be cold enough to host a reliable Games by the end of the century, according to a new study1 published this month by the University of Waterloo and the Management Centre Innsbruck.
You might expect that producers of sugar and producers of other sweeteners would see each other as rivals, and there is indeed evidence of this. For example the ‘Truth About Splenda’ website, provided by the Sugar Association which represents sugar beet and cane farmers in the USA, emphasises the presence of chlorine atoms in the artificial sweetener sucralose (marketed as Splenda), and includes a link to a site comparing sucralose to bleach and DDT. On the other side of the debate, although www.sucralose.org doesn’t say anything very contentious about sugar (it’s true that sugar causes tooth decay and sucralose doesn’t), the sucralose industry has a history of arguably misleading advertising in the form of the slogan ‘made from sugar, so it tastes like sugar’.
According to research released on 7 January, bear viewing ecotourism in British Columbia's Great Bear Rainforest (GBR) "generates far more value to the economy" in terms of revenue, taxes, and jobs than the older and more well-established trophy hunting of grizzly and black bears.
Large carnivores, from lions to polar bears, are among the most iconic and charismatic species on earth. They also play vital roles in many ecosystems, restricting populations of herbivores from reaching levels where they degrade vegetation and prevent woodlands and forests from regenerating. But the world's top carnivores are in big trouble, with over three-quarters in decline and more than half now present in less than half their historical ranges. This is the message from a review paper published in Science yesterday. And the paper comes just a few days after another study found that the genetically-unique West African lion is down to just 250 breeding adults.
A consortium of 22 research partners from 11 countries has received a £10.6m grant from the European Union (EU) to improve pig and poultry production. This is the largest EU grant awarded in this field. The project aims at investigating ways to increase animal production quality, whilst limiting environmental impact and preserving profitability for the farming and animal food production sectors.
The research will be carried out by the Prohealth consortium, consisting of 10 academic partners, one European association, four industry partners, and seven small and medium-sized enterprises. The consortium has expertise in animal physiology and immunology, genetics and nutrition, veterinary science and epidemiology, socioeconomics, as well as welfare and production science of pigs and poultry. The consortium members come from Belgium, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, The Netherlands, Poland, Spain, Switzerland and UK. The project was launched in Newcastle upon Tyne on 17 December and will be co-ordinated by Newcastle University.