Archive for June 2011

The cattle plague virus is gone: what’s next?

Scientists and international organisations are well placed to eliminate another deadly animal disease, says Michael Baron.

Michael Baron

The eradication of the long-feared cattle disease rinderpest, announced by OIE and FAO in June 2011, is a momentous achievement. John Anderson has already written on this blog about the lessons learned during the rinderpest eradication programme, which I’ve also described on video.

If we can do it once, we can do it again; the only question is: what should be the next target?
Continue reading The cattle plague virus is gone: what’s next?

Growing the farming sector in developing countries will improve children’s health. Or will it? Katy Wilson reports.   

Katy Wilson

Evidence of the impact of agricultural interventions on nutrition security is urgently needed. This was an issue raised at the launch of a Montpellier Panel briefing paper, Scaling Up Nutrition, in the UK Parliament on 17 May, authored by Tom Arnold, CEO Concern Worldwide and myself.

As we have learned from the Green Revolution, it is often the poorest and most in need that are neglected as agriculture develops. India is the second fastest growing economy in the world (with real growth rate of GDP equalling 8.3 per cent in 2010) but the prevalence of underweight children is still high at around 40 per cent.
Continue reading Intuition versus evidence: agriculture and the fight to end child undernutrition

Tackling agriculture’s greenhouse-gas emissions

Nitrous oxide’s contribution to climate change is no laughing matter, says Keith Goulding.

Keith Goulding

Carbon dioxide is the most commonly recognised enemy in terms of its contribution to greenhouse-gas (GHG) emissions, and certainly the biggest culprit in terms of volume, but there are other gases, closely tied with food production, that are also major targets for reduction.

Farming is responsible for about 8% of the UK’s GHG emissions (up to about 19% when the road to consumption is included) but about 40% of its methane emissions, which mainly come from livestock, and 76% of its nitrous oxide emissions, which are mainly due to fertiliser use.
Continue reading Tackling agriculture’s greenhouse-gas emissions