Muhammad Akbar reviews the problems and potential of a populous food producing nation.
Agriculture plays a major role in Pakistan’s economy; it accounts for 21% of GDP and 45% of the workforce is employed in agriculture. But agriculture in Pakistan faces numerous difficulties and despite its importance to the country, food security is not guaranteed for significant portions of the country.
Pakistan’s population in 2011 was 177 million – the sixth largest in the world – and is predicted to reach 191.7 million by 2015. Yet the agriculture sector has been suffering from decline for the past three decades. Productivity remains low; yields per unit area are low, and critical investments in developing new plant varieties, farming technology and water infrastructure are not being made.
Continue reading Food security in Pakistan: past and present
A focus on the link between energy and food production in Africa at the Durban Climate Change Conference is much needed, says Robin Sanders.
The recent Durban Climate Change Conference is a follow on from Cancun which did not move a lot of things forward on key environmental issues ranging from CO2 emissions, carbon sequestration and credits), to land and water resource management.
The important fact that the conference is taking place on the African continent for the first time should not just boil down to its mere presence in Durban. But just like key sub-Saharan African economies are emerging, Africa’s emerging voice on climate change policy is vital to a number of future developmental areas, not least of which is food security – including all of its pillars from food production to improving the continent’s ability to feed itself and using renewables to spur better agricultural energy use.
Continue reading Africa, climate change and food security
It’s time to rebalance the scales for African researchers in agriculture, says Jo Seed.
During the launch of the Montpellier Panel Report last year I was inspired by the talk on women in agriculture presented by Vicki Wilde. She is the Director of the CGIAR’s Gender and Diversity Programme and the African Women in Agricultural Research and Development (AWARD) project – a professional development program that strengthens the research and leadership skills of African women in agricultural science.
After Vicki’s speech, something inside me seemed to click and I decided from this point that I really wanted to help make a difference for women in African agriculture.
Continue reading Food, families, and women in science
Anita McCabe reports from the field on efforts to improve food security in Malawi
As the hot dry breeze wafts through the lakeside district of Nkhotakota, Malawi, a group of women sing as they take turns to water their near-ripe crop of maize. Further downstream, another group is busy making seed beds in preparation for another crop.
Like many women in developing countries, these women face a particular set of responsibilities and vulnerabilities when it comes to providing food for their families. Not only are they the primary caregivers, they are also the food producers and income earners.
Continue reading Women and the fight against hunger
Developing agriculture in sub-Saharan Africa involves tackling political problems as well as the scientific ones, says Sara Delaney.
Bold orange signs decorated the brightly lit rooms, each proclaiming ‘New Directions for Smallholder Agriculture’ and offering a taste of keywords to come: ‘finance, migration, accessing markets, youth…’, serving as an inspiring backdrop for the two day conference held at the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), in Rome, on January 24-25.
Continue reading Elephants in the conference room
The continent has the chance to shape its agricultural development differently, says Dr Robin R. Sanders.
Can sub Saharan Africa be the next bread basket for the world and help to address global food security issues?
The answer is yes; the challenge is how.
Sub-Saharan Africa and the rest of the developing world have a key role to play in deciding, shaping and leading food security policy for the coming decades. Why? Because of several key indicators that should not be either underestimated or overlooked: population, economic growth, water and land use in sub-Saharan Africa – what I like to call key impact indicators on food availability.
Sub-Saharan Africa has an opportunity to do things differently and earlier on its development and modernization life, something that few other world regions have today outside of Latin America.
Continue reading Raising sub-Saharan Africa’s profile on global food security issues (part one)
We need to move toward more sustainable agriculture practices that use the best of all approaches – including organic, GM and non-GM biotechnology, says David Howlett.
In achieving global food security, agriculture is part of the problem and part of the solution to climate change.
While we need to better understand greenhouse-gas emissions from agriculture we do know they are significant. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) estimates that direct emissions are about 14% of global emissions (similar to those from transport) and emissions from deforestation are 17% of global emissions – but because farming is a major driver of deforestation the majority of these are due to agriculture.
Continue reading Combining tactics for triple wins in agriculture
Simple production changes could benefit farmers and the environment, says Philip Thornton.
Livestock enterprises contribute substantially to the world’s greenhouse gases, largely through deforestation to make room for livestock grazing and feed crops, the methane ruminant animals give off, and the nitrous oxide emitted by manure. Estimates of this contribution vary widely (10-18% (PDF), or more, of global greenhouse-gas emissions) and are still being researched – it’s a complex question and hotly debated.
Continue reading Reducing carbon hoofprints and increasing tropical farming incomes
Concerted and coordinated action can bring success in the field and enhance food security, says John Anderson.
Rinderpest was one of the most devastating virus diseases of livestock known to man. Closely related to measles in humans, rinderpest (from the German ‘cattle plague’) has probably been around since before the birth of Christ and devastated European powers in the 17th century.
Continue reading Lessons learned from global rinderpest eradication
We need to keep the food security situation in northern Nigeria and other affected West African states on the radar, says Robin Sanders.
There have been few reports noting the growing food security issue that has arisen over the last few months in the West Africa Region. We all need to pay more attention to this so that it doesn’t turn into a regional crisis.
Affected countries in West Africa are doing their best to manage the ever-growing food security issues related to staple commodities, particularly grains. The US Agency for International Development has called this the “Hunger Gap” as many of the regions poor have already exhausted not only available food stores but are also not having access to affordable and adequate food (nutritional food). See the FEEEDS™ blog-itrrs page, defining the elements of food security.
Continue reading 2010 Food Security Challenges in West Africa: Let’s Pay Attention!