Tag: population

How can young agricultural entrepreneurs make the most of the continent’s opportunities? Sir Gordon Conway of Agriculture for Impact reports on the Montpellier Panel’s latest report.

Gordon Conway

The time has come to debunk a common myth about agriculture. It is not a dead-end profession that requires eternal, back breaking labour on a farm. At least, it does not have to be. With the right investments to support entrepreneurs in agriculture beyond the production stage, in processing, retail, marketing and even business management, profitable careers await Africa’s young population.
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Why a mother’s nutrition is so important

Diet before conception affects a baby’s genes. Paula Dominguez-Salas from the MRC International Nutrition Group reports from the field.

Paula Dominguez-Salas

In recent years evidence has been accumulating that nutrition during pregnancy can have a profound effect on the offspring. Our group, the MRC International Nutrition Group, works in maternal and child nutrition and is particularly interested in this ‘fetal programming’ idea, because a child’s health (and possibly even its children) could be effected throughout its whole life – not just its early years.
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On the food road

In a special photo-travelogue, Geoff Tansey explores China’s problems and solutions as a powerhouse of agricultural production.

Geoff Tansey

Astounding 1600-year-old rice terraces, rapidly expanding cities, surprising labour shortages, huge organic vegetable production, small village plots, and much recent research science on soils, water and roots: my two trips to China had some of what I expected and much more that I didn’t.


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Life, death and looking ahead

A birth and bereavement gives food for thought. GFS Champion Tim Benton reflects.

Tim Benton

Two recent events – the death of my father and the birth of a friend’s first child – have made me ponder about the course of a human life. In particular, for someone born now what will happen to the world during their lifetime?

During our debates over food security and climate change we often look ahead. But does the timescale we choose to look ahead matter? If so, is there one that resonates with sufficient power to promote action?
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Linking African smallholder farmers to markets

Agricultural markets in sub-Saharan Africa are fragmented for the people who need them most. Two new reports set out the solutions, says Michael Hoevel.

Michael Hoevel

Population in Africa is set to almost double to two billion by 2050, and current food production systems in Africa will only be able to meet 13% of this increased demand (PDF).

At the same time, across Africa it is estimated that 80% of the population depends on agriculture for their livelihoods. Transforming this sector’s markets will not only help address food insecurity and undernutrition, but it can also unlock Africa’s trade and development potential more broadly, if implemented responsibly and sustainably.
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The politics of food in the new scarcity

Times have changed, and the world’s problems need a global vision for action, says the chair of the EU Parliament Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development Paolo de Castro.

Paolo de Castro

The renewed position of food security at recent G8 and G20 Summits, from L’Aquila in 2009 (PDF) to Camp David in 2012, is an acknowledgement that a more sophisticated coordination at global level is needed to meet the new challenges, which are a sort of upside-down scenario in comparison to what prevailed in the last years of the 20th century, when food seemed relatively plentiful.
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The semantics of sustainability and food security

Tara Garnett tackles the thorny and complex issue of growing more with less.

Tara Garnett

‘Sustainable intensification’ is one of those phrases regularly bandied about in discussions about agriculture. What does it actually mean?

The shorthand definition: ‘producing more food with less negative impact’ – seems hard to dislike. But considering what it might mean in practice, all sorts of questions arise.

Does sustainable intensification imply a particular system or philosophy of agriculture? What about the ‘more food’ issue – how much more, what kind of food, produced where and for whom? How much weight does one attach to the ‘sustainable’ as opposed to the ‘intensification’ part? And what happens when ethical concerns such as animal welfare are added to the mix? 
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Grow not waste not

Improving post-harvest technologies will enhance food security and health, says Asgar Ali.

Asgar Ali

In the midst of a perpetual population boom and conscious awareness of the limited and diminishing resources such as land, fertilizers and water availability, how will governments, organizations and people respond? And how should they respond? 

Significant effort has been dedicated at increasing agricultural productivity. But is it time to focus more on protetcing these gains from post-harvest losses?
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Navigating the perfect storm: optimism for Rio +20

Richard Tiffin looks back on one food security meeting and ahead to another.

Richard Tiffin

It was great to be invited to join in a fascinating discussion on ‘Navigating the ‘Perfect Storm’: the international challenge of food, water and energy security’ at the Royal Geographical Society supported by WWF last Thursday, 9 February.
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Food security in Pakistan: past and present

Muhammad Akbar reviews the problems and potential of a populous food producing nation.

Muhammad Akbar.

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.
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