Not to be outdone by surging wheat and soy prices, now corn too has entered the race. The Economist (14 October 2010) reports:
"The relentless summer sun (after earlier floods) led to the [October world supply-and-demand estimates from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA)] report’s conclusion: 'Corn production is forecast 496m bushels lower as a 258,000-acre increase in harvested area is more than offset by a 6.7-bushel-per-acre reduction in yield.' Read more »
Some excerpts on the situation in CIAT's home base--
"Often described as the most biodiverse nation per square kilometer in Latin America, Colombia is home to relatively intact swathes of Amazon rainforest and an almost pristine Pacific coastline.
The country's protracted armed conflict has partly helped to preserve forests, has discouraged large-scale industrial projects in Colombia's biodiverse hotspots and has kept major logging companies in the Amazon at bay. 'Colombia is basically unspoiled. The country has an enormous starting point for sustainable development,' said Juan Manuel Soto, head of Green Action in Colombia, a global non-governmental organisation that campaigns to reduce deforestation.
...But protecting Colombia's biodiverse regions and keeping carbon emissions low is a pressing challenge as Latin America's third most populous country becomes more developed. Read more »
A great opinion piece in the Christian Science Monitor by G. Pascal Zachary hits the nail right on the head:
"Friends of Africa around the world make matters no easier by paying insufficient attention to the potential adaptations that Africans on the ground can make in response to new climate patterns. Some of these adaptations are occuring for other reasons.
"...the movement of people from rural areas to cities is having the effect of improving the relative quality of those farmers who remain, for the logical reason that the most successful farmers are staying put, and even gaining control of more land and thus improving their farm productivity through brute-force scale effects. The growing quality of African farmers, who have been profiting, if unevenly, from rising commodity prices, also should mean that rural Africans possess a growing capacity to make useful adaptations to climate change.
"One excellent example lies in water usage. Irrigation is virtually absent from the African farm landscape. Even ground water is rarely used to feed plants. Yet starting to shift away from rain-fed farming can be done relatively inexpensively in most parts of Africa simply because the “low hanging fruit” has yet to be picked. Untold thousands of easy irrigation projects can be launched in Africa, quickly and at little cost, taking advantage of the reality that the first gains will be the easiest. "
Read the full article here.
From Andy Jarvis in Nairobi, Kenya / Reposted from our DAPA blog:
"We’re here in Nairobi, Kenya, in the “Multi-site trial database for climate change analysis: Planning and launch Workshop”... and we have BIG ambitions!
We’re coining the phrase Open Access Agriculture, and the philosophy is that of making agricultural research data available. We’re starting with data on agricultural trials, whereby new technologies are tested in the field in specific sites. This is standard practice in agricultural research, but unfortunately what is not standard practice is the sharing of that data. This is essential for climate change adaptation – we need to know the limits of abiotic adaptation for different technologies. Read more »
“Now we are washer women, sanitary workers, wage labourers and house keepers.”
– Female farmers
The FAO recently published its report on the gender differences in adaptive capacity to climate change, according to on-the-ground surveys in India. As the introduction explains, "Gender is one of numerous important socio-cultural dimensions typically included in climate change vulnerability assessments but it is rarely incorporated in adaptation research and planning.
This research tests the hypothesis that due to gender roles (the behaviours, tasks, and responsibilities a society defines as “male” or “female”) and due also to differential gendered access to resources, men and women experience climate variability differently and cope in diverse ways with climate variability and changing climate patterns." Read more »
A little late on this one, but there's been much (and often tongue-in-cheek) coverage of the "Kimchi crisis" in South Korea. Originally beginning with bad harvests, the issue is now high prices and hoarding (similar story: earlier post explaining the wheat crisis).
An insightful piece in the Guardian discusses the importance of "food intelligence," touching on issues of price volatility, unreliable or asymmetrical information about food production/supplies, sticky macroeconomic politics/trade policies, the dangers of speculators, and (the lack of) international food storage. Read more »
From Andy Jarvis on our CCAFS theme:
"Last week I made a keynote presentation in the 6th Latin American Congress of Agroforestry about the implications of climate change for Latin American agriculture, and focussed on the opportunity for using silvo-pastoral systems to both adapt to future climatic stresses and mitigate climate change itself through accumulation of carbon and reduction of emissions from livestock..."
Read more here.
See the slideshow presentation here.
A new article in the journal Food Policy reviews evidence on the impacts of CGIAR research published since 2000 in order to provide insight into how successfully the CGIAR Centers have been in pursuing the System’s core missions. The review, by Mitch Renkow and Derek Byerlee suggests that CGIAR research contributions in crop genetic improvement, pest management, natural resources management, and policy research have, in the aggregate, yielded strongly positive impacts relative to investment, and appear likely to continue doing so. Read more »
CCAFS Coordinating Unit - University of Copenhagen, Faculty of Science, Department of Plant and Environmental Sciences, Rolighedsvej 21, DK-1958 Frederiksberg C, Denmark, phone +45 35331046; Email ccafs [at] cgiar [dot] org, EAN 5790000279012
Lead Center - International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT)