Diversified Agri-food Systems: Bastions of biodiversity, nutrition and resilience

THE GFAR BLOG

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According to The State of the Food Security and Nutrition in the World released last year (SOFI 2018), global hunger and malnutrition has increased considerably since 2016, reaching 821 million undernourished people – approximately one person out of every nine in the world. This means that the number of people suffering from hunger has returned to levels from almost a decade ago.

The increased number of people suffering from hunger and malnutrition has been the result of climate variability and exposure to complex, frequent and intense climate extremes. Climate variability and extreme climatic conditions have repercussions for food utilization as they harm agricultural productivity and food production and cropping patterns. This leads to food availability shortfalls and negative repercussions on nutrient quality and safety of food.

SOFI 2018SOFI 2018 noted that hunger is worse in those countries facing excessive rainfall and drought, and where the livelihood of the majority of the…

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FAO sets the record straight–86% of livestock feed is inedible by humans

“If not consumed by livestock, crop residues and by-products could quickly become an environmental burden as the human population grows and consumes more and more processed food. Animals also consume food that could potentially be eaten by people. Grains account for 13% of the global livestock dry matter intake.” – Susan

ILRI Clippings

Cow Jar, by Jean Dubuffet, 1943.

As the media frenzy caused by a ‘planetary health diet’ proposed in a new report from an EAT-Lancet commission this month continues, it is perhaps timely to recall that the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) has set the record straight regarding not just the level of greenhouse gases that livestock emit (see yesterday’s posting on this blog) but also incorrect information about how much food (crops eatable by humans) is consumed by livestock. It’s not a lot.

The EAT-Lancet report summarizes scientific evidence for a global food system transition towards healthy diets from sustainable agriculture. The report concludes that a global shift towards a diet made up of high quantities of fruits, vegetables and plant-based protein and low quantities of animal protein could catalyze the achievement of both the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the landmark 2015 Paris Agreement to…

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Are we eating less meat?—Oxford Martin School fellow Hannah Ritchie confirms ‘No’

ILRI Clippings

Broken Record Alert:

People WILL NOT change their diets for environmental reasons.

No matter how often we hear “EAT LESS MEAT”

we eat more meat when we can afford it, because we like it.

@HannahRitchie02 reports.

—@TamarHaspel on Twitter, 4 Feb 2019

The following excerpts are taken from a BBC analysis piece published yesterday that was commissioned by the BBC from Hannah Ritchie, an expert from the Oxford Martin School and the non-profit organization Global Change Data Lab.

‘Rising incomes
‘. . . [G]lobal meat consumption has increased rapidly over the past 50 years. Meat production today is nearly five times higher than in the early 1960s—from 70 million tonnes to more than 330 million tonnes in 2017.

‘A big reason for this is that there are many more people to feed. Over that period the world population more than doubled. In the early 1960s there were around three billion of…

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Where nutrients and protein sourced from livestock remain vital—Crawford Fund

“To a considerable extent the report ignores the significant role that income and protein from livestock plays for hundreds of millions of smallholder farmers.“ – SUSAN

ILRI Clippings

Standing Child (Stehendes Kind) by Erich Heckel, 1910.

‘Coinciding with the launch of the EAT-Lancet “Healthy Diets from Sustainable Food Systems” report, Dr Colin Chartres, the [Crawford] Fund’s CEO, . . . discusses the importance of ‘smart foods’ and smart people for a healthy population and planet.

‘In late January the Eat-Lancet Foundation released its Healthy Diets from Sustainable Food Systems report. Its headline message is:

“Transformation to healthy diets by 2050 will require substantial dietary shifts. Global consumption of fruits, vegetables, nuts and legumes will have to double, and consumption of foods such as red meat and sugar will have to be reduced by more than 50%. A diet rich in plant-based foods and with fewer animal source foods confers both improved health and environmental benefits.”

‘Whilst this message is not exactly new—the late Professor Tony McMichael from ANU [Australian National University] had been a long-time advocate of the…

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119 Organizations Shaking Up the Food System in 2019

THE GFAR BLOG

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2018 was a great year for Food Tank. We hosted ground-breaking Summits, innovative events, and global discussions about the food system in Senegal, Italy, Russia, and across the United States. We published the book Nourished Planet, and met many of our members and readers in person! And we started the Food Talk podcast.

We’re excited about 2019! Our plans are amazing, starting our greatest expansion ever—including new Summits, more podcasts, special events, and an off-Broadway play. If you are not already, it’s not too late to become a member this year and support our mission of bringing all sides to the table.

To start off the year, we’ve compiled a list of 119 organizations to keep an eye on in 2019 that are working towards a more sustainable food system. Happy New Year!

1. Acre Venture Partners

Acre Venture Partners is a venture capital fund investing in the future…

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Livestock and trees: A more perfect union

ILRI Clippings

Illustration by Remy Charlip via Pinterest: Cover of Four Fur Feet, written by Margaret Wise Brown.

Livestock provide ecological services too great to warrant their complete removal from the landscape.

‘. . . Sequestering carbon has become a topic essential to the broader conversation about how our planet might survive the escalating effects of climate change. Livestock are frequently demonized as the enemy of this process. That’s partly because raising animals for meat and dairy accounts for 5 percent of global carbon dioxide emissions; unsurprisingly, study after study—including the United Nations’ most recent, bleak climate report—affirms that humans need to reduce consumption of animal-based products in order to fend off planetary disaster. This has led to the advent of a booming industry centered on plant-based “meats” and “milks,” buoyed by a rallying cry from some quarters to abolish meat and cheese and butter and eggs from our diets wholesale. …

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Thesis Opportunities: Social Economies of food, agriculture, and nature in Gelderland.

Rural Sociology Wageningen University

Social economy is an umbrella term used to describe a variety of third sector, cooperative, voluntary, non-profit, and social enterprise initiatives that put social and environmental well-being before profit.  They operate in different sectors of the economy, and provide a number of important goods and services – that range from food to social services and care. The social economy is also an important part of the solidarity economy, a term used to describe diverse economic practices that seek to strengthen local economies and communities and create alternatives as a form of resistance to the social, economic, and environmental injustices associated with capitalism, colonialism, racism, and neoliberalism. The cities of Ede, Arnhem, and Nijmegen are home to a growing number of social economy initiatives, especially in the areas of agriculture, food, and nature (e.g. ecosystems services, green infrastructure). Here they play a vital, yet often unrecognized role. With these three thesis…

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Global Exploration and Practical Research Meet in Nuffield International Farming Scholars Program

THE GFAR BLOG

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A robust, sustainable global agriculture and food production sector is critical to the future of a growing world population. It will take farms of varying types and sizes to address food insecurity and hunger, and to stabilize local communities and big cities alike. With a history that dates back to 1947, Nuffield International Farming Scholars is a global scheme that is focused on growing the most critical resources the agriculture industry has: people.

We at Nuffield International Farming Scholars are pleased to have recently entered into partnership with the Global Forum on Agricultural Research and Innovation (GFAR). Like the Partners in GFAR, we strive to inspire people to make a difference in the world of agriculture, and this can only happen when people, especially youth, are empowered to turn their knowledge into opportunity and enterprise.

Through the Nuffield experience, individual farmers, ranchers, fishers, and agri-professionals expand their own capacity…

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Call for papers: Analytical Approaches to Post-Exceptionalism in Food and Agricultural Governance

Food Governance

Join us at the 2019 General Conference of the European Consortium for Political Research in Wrocław, Poland. 

Due to the sensitive nature of the associated public goods (food safety, health, environmental concerns), policy makers have tended to treat the food and agriculture sector with care. But does this sensitivity hinder policy reform, or does it stimulate policy innovation to address novel challenges and concerns? The section uses the concept of post-exceptionalism as a lens to analyse recent developments and trends in food policy and governance.

In the past, agriculture was considered a special economic domain in need of special care. Public policies were aimed to provide affordable food for all while farmers could obtain a steady and sufficient income. The strategic meaning of food, weather conditions and the in-elasticity of demand for agricultural products meant that farming was considered as an exceptional economic sector with exceptionalist industry support and trade…

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Livestock and agroecology — Small Scaled Farmers and the pastoralists are the backbones of animal agriculture. They play a pivotal role not only in producing quality food item but also conserving the genetic resources as well as nature for the next generations. Contrast to the factory farming small scaled farming and pastoralism do not use (up to their level best) pesticides and chemical fertilizers etc. They do not harm nature by the blind use of inputs like energy and water. They are the custodians of the genes and nature.

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RESILIENCE OF NATIVE LIVESTOCK BREEDS TO CLIMATE CHANGE

Traditional Animal Genetic Resources for Food Security Under Climate Change Influence

The globe is under stressful pressure of climate change. Droughts, erratic and unseasonal rains, floods, and rise in mercury are the salient features of climate change. Some regions are under the severe affects of climate change, i.e. Saharan & and horn Africa and South-east Asia. Pakistan, India and Bangladesh are under severe floods since last few decades and each year the intensity is even higher than the earlier. In 2010, Pakistan was adversely affected with the floods and this year again, the intensity of flood is severe and havoc losses are reported from different parts of the Indus delta. The crops, villages and settlements came under the flood water and heavy losses to livestock farms.

CIMG0560 Author with the camel keepers in Cholistan desert of Pakistan

Being involve and active in the livestock breeds, conservation and policies, I learnt great lesson for the floods and the climate change. Small-scaled farming, pastoral people and landless farmers with the native livestock breeds…

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Camel Milk: Why Do You Need This In Your Home?

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A move away from ‘grain fundamentalism’ to higher quality milk, meat and egg calories to fight malnutrition

ILRI Clippings

Derek Headey, a senior research fellow at the CGIAR’s International Food Policy Research Institute, yesterday published an opinion piece in The Telegraph on the importance of using milk, meat and eggs to fight malnutrition and stunting in the developing world. But, Headey warns, these ‘animal-sourced foods’, particularly fresh milk and eggs, are prohibitively expensive for poor households.

When poorly nourished children in developing countries fall behind in their physical growth and become stunted relative to their healthier peers, they tend to fall behind in a lot of other things too: their health, cognitive development, schooling, and eventually, their productivity and income as adults.

The high social and economic costs mean that there are high returns to preventing stunting, provided these actions happen early.

‘In poor countries most growth faltering takes place from six months of age until a child’s second birthday. . . .

‘When children are fed…

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Next Brussels Briefing n. 53: ”The next generation of farmers: successes and new opportunities”

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How to Integrate New Chickens to a Flock

The Garden Smallholder

integrating chickens

There’s no going back once you’ve caught the chicken keeping bug. Apart from the obvious reason why people decide to keep them, chickens are great company in the garden, fun to watch and seriously addictive. With so many breeds and pretty colours to choose from (don’t forget the many rescue hens needing homes too), it’s so tempting to bring home a couple more. However, adding new chickens to a flock isn’t easy, if it were I’d probably have way too many. If that’s even possible.

garden,hens A harmonious group of hens in our garden smallholding, pecking order established. Each hen knows, understands and accepts her position within the flock.

You see, chickens operate a strict hierarchy known as the ‘pecking order’, at least one hen will be in charge and she’ll be the most dominant hen in the flock. I call this position ‘top hen’. As lovely as chickens are they can appear to be cruel to each other at times and this behaviour is…

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Back In The Allotment Saddle

The Garden Smallholder

The long hot summer has been and gone and I’m reaping the rewards in the kitchen garden. The autumn tidy up has begun and having chickens roaming around the garden smallholding means I’m never alone, the hens readily help themselves to crops and scratch the soil to a fine tilth. I’m happy to let them ‘help’ of course and I adore their company. I have a new flock of young hens that I don’t think I’ve mentioned yet on the blog, they join my gang of fluffy (currently moulting) Brahmas and my old girls who are still kicking about the place, getting up to all sorts.

autumn fruiting raspberriesrhode rock chicken

I realise it’s been a long while since my last blog here and the reason for that is being busy with my allotment. I have put in a lot of work at my plot to get it ready for spring and I’m so pleased…

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Collaboration is key to achieving the long-term benefits of data sharing

THE GFAR BLOG

ecosystem mapMany conversations about open data for agriculture and nutrition promote the win-win scenario of improved livelihoods for farmers, as well as more nutritious, environmentally conscious food. However, examples of open data benefiting farmers often only span one growing season, or include small groups of farmers. This begs the question, does open data truly have the capacity to trigger transformative change in agriculture?

Data exists on a spectrum, which ranges from closed, to shared, to open. Shared data can only legally be shared with certain individuals or groups, due to data ethics recommendations. Just as the food system is comprised of several actors, such as input providers, farmers, retailers and policymakers, who make decisions that affect both others and themselves, the data ecosystem comprises of data collectors, data re-users, data subjects and others. Most actors in the food system fulfil multiple roles within the data ecosystem. For example, a…

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One-size-fits-all ‘livestock less’ measures will not serve some one billion smallholder livestock farmers and herders

ILRI Clippings

Smallholder dairying in Kenya (photo credit: Accelerated Value Chain Development/Sophie Mbugua).

‘Once again, the debate on sustainable diets and in particular on (not) eating animal-derived products is resurfacing in the media, as illustrated most recently by an article in The Guardian. The paper reported on a study by J. Poore and T. Nemecek entitled ‘Reducing food’s environmental impacts through producers and consumers’, published in the latest edition of Science magazine. The article concludes that ‘avoiding meat and dairy products is the single biggest way to reduce your environmental impact on the planet’. Both the study and the article recognize the ‘large variability in environmental impact from different farms’ and the need to deal with the most harmful ones. Still, they seem to overlook the evidence from the 1.3 billion smallholder farmers and livestock keepers for whom livestock is an important source of income and food security.

Family goat keeping in…

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Women are the (invisible) guardians of livestock diversity–New FAO study

ILRI Clippings

Ethiopia woman churning butter

Ethiopian woman churning butter the traditional way (photo credit: ILRI/Apollo Habtamu).

A new study by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations argues that to succeed, livestock breed conservation efforts must empower women.

‘Women livestock keepers worldwide must be recognized as the major actors in efforts to arrest the decline of indigenous breeds, crucial for rural food security and animal genetics, [the] new FAO study argues.

‘Yet women’s contribution to indigenous livestock breeding and conservation is poorly documented and undervalued, the study Invisible Guardians: Women Manage Livestock Diversity says.

‘Of the 600 million poor livestock keepers in the world, around two-thirds are women, whose men often have migrated to the cities. Women stay at home with the children and live by cultivating crops and keeping indigenous small stock such as chickens or goats, and perhaps a cow.

‘Indigenous breeds are adapted to often harsh local conditions, are disease…

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Why cows are getting a bad rap in lab-grown meat debate

“Cattle produce more than just hamburgers for well-off consumers, and they typically do so by utilizing rain-fed forage growing on non-arable land.” – Susan MacMillan

ILRI Clippings

A small-scale production line of the leghemoglobin for a plant-based hamburger is displayed during a media tour of Impossible Foods labs and processing plant in Redwood City, California, US 6 Oct 2016 (photo credit: /Beck Diefenbach—S1BEUGSRCGAA).

By Alison Van Eenennaam, University of California, Davis

A battle royal is brewing over what to call animal cells grown in cell culture for food. Should it be in-vitro meat, cellular meat, cultured meat or fermented meat? What about animal-free meat, slaughter-free meat, artificial meat, synthetic meat, zombie meat, lab-grown meat, non-meat or artificial muscle proteins?

Then there is the polarizing ‘fake’ versus ‘clean’ meat framing that boils this complex topic down to a simple good versus bad dichotomy. The opposite of fake is of course the ambiguous but desirous ‘natural’. And modeled after ‘clean’ energy, ‘clean’ meat is by inference superior to its alternative, which must logically be ‘dirty’ meat.

The narrative…

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New World Bank report says food-borne illnesses cost US$ 110 billion per year in low- and middle-income countries

AgHealth

Rinsing fresh fish, Accra, Ghana Rinsing fresh fish in Accra, Ghana (photo credit: ILRI/Kennedy Bomfeh).

A new World Bank study finds that the impact of unsafe food costs low- and middle-income economies about US$ 110 billion in lost productivity and medical expenses each year. Yet a large proportion of these costs could be avoided by adopting preventative measures that improve how food is handled from farm to fork. Better managing the safety of food would also significantly contribute to achieving multiple Sustainable Development Goals, especially those relating to poverty, hunger and well-being.

Foodborne diseases caused an estimated 600 million illnesses and 420,000 premature deaths in 2010 according to the World Health Organization. This global burden of foodborne disease is unequally distributed. Relative to their population, low- and middle-income countries in South Asia, Southeast Asia and sub-Saharan Africa bear a proportionately high burden. They account for 41% of the global population yet 53% of all foodborne…

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On World Food Day, Take a Holistic Approach to Food Production

THE GFAR BLOG

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October 16 is World Food Day. It can be a day of action, dedicated to tackling hunger and ensuring food security and nutrient-dense diets for everyone. Food should nourish and nurture people, society, and the planet, but in so many ways, the food system is broken.

“Not only have habits changed, but also foods. When was the last time you consumed a potato with the flavor, color, and smell of potatoes? We are not just losing food, we are losing food quality,” says agricultural engineer Dr. Walter Pengue.

Across the world, decreasing soil quality is stripping food of its nutrients: 33 percent of the Earth’s land surface is moderately to highly affected by some type of soil degradation. Food has also become the main driver of human health costs—while almost one-third of all people are undernourished and 815 million people still go to bed hungry, close to 30 percent of all…

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Book Launch – Flourishing Foodscapes: Designing City Region Food Systems

Rural Sociology Wageningen University

On Thursday 27 September 2018 Valiz and the Amsterdam Academy of Architecture will host a programme dedicated to the launch of the book entitled ‘Flourishing Foodscapes – Designing City Region Food Systems’.

About Flourishing Foodscapes

Flourishing Foodscapes is a book about the the social and spatial organization of networks and systems of food provisioning. It explores, highlights and discusses strategies and designs for creating future-proof city region food systems by addressing the social, economic, and ecological vulnerabilities and sustainabilities of current and future foodscapes, as well as how the spatial qualities of the rural and urban landscape and its use need to adapt and change. A key argument in the book is that food not only has to do with nutrition, but that it links up with and influences a multitude of domains; from health to (eating) culture and from employment to climate change. It has a major impact on the city…

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Enhancing global livestock advocacy for sustainable development

ILRI news

Some of the work going on at an end-of-project GLAD workshop held last week at ILRI, in Nairobi (photo credit: ILRI/Judy Kimani).

This article was written by Judy Kimani, communications and knowledge management specialist for ILRI’s Policies, Institutions and Livelihoods program.

Global Livestock Advocacy for Development (GLAD) has been a two-year project whose main objective has been to raise investor interest in livestock-related research-for-development issues. It has done this largely by distilling and presenting evidence and creative content about smallholder livestock systems and their critical roles in sustainable food systems and development. GLAD has also undertaken strategic engagement around sustainable livestock issues at targeted high-profile events and has strengthened capacity in livestock advocacy communications.

Members of the GLAD project, which is funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, believe that underfunding of the livestock sector in developing countries is partly due to a global lack of awareness and understanding…

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CGIAR Research Program on Agriculture for Nutrition and Health publishes 2017 annual report

AgHealth

A4NH 2017 annual report cover

The CGIAR Research Program on Agriculture for Nutrition and Health (A4NH) has published its 2017 annual report which highlights the program’s accomplishments and activities during the first year of its second phase.

Detailed in the report are research, events and results from across A4NH’s five research flagships and four focus countries, including:

  • in-depth analyses of food systems in Bangladesh, Ethiopia, Nigeria and Vietnam, with a recently released report on findings in Ethiopia;
  • details on the release of 29 new biofortified crop varieties, extending reach to 3.6 million farming households;
  • the first licence for Aflasafe to be granted to a private company in Africa, for production, sale, and distribution in the Gambia and Senegal to protect crops from aflatoxin;
  • a special issue of the journal Global Food Security dedicated to stories of change, an innovative initiative building a resource base of experiential knowledge that explores drivers of change in…

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Meat, milk, eggs can make a big difference in the first 1,000 days of life in low-income countries—New report

ILRI news

Cover of a new report,The influence of livestock-derived foods on nutrition during the first 1,000 days of life, by Delia Grace, Paula Dominguez-Salas, Silvia Alonso, Mats Lannerstad, Emmanuel Muunda and Nicholas Ngwili, all of ILRI, and Abbas Omar, Mishal Khan and Eloghene Otobo of Chatham House, 2018, ILRI Research Report 44. Nairobi, Kenya: ILRI.

There is great potential for

food produced from livestock

to contribute to better health

in low-income populations.

—Review by the International Livestock Research Institute
and the Chatham House Centre on Global Health Security

Global efforts to limit or reduce

the consumption of meat, milk and eggs

over environmental concerns

should exclude pregnant and breastfeeding women

and babies under the age of two,

especially in low-income settings

where other sources of protein and micronutrients

are not available or not customarily used.

An extensive review of research found demonstrable nutritional benefits of providing children, particularly in…

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Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa (BRICS) Tuberculosis (TB) Research Network to accelerate research and innovation through collaboration across the BRICS countries

Database of Press Releases related to Africa - APO-Source

The National Department of Health is hosting the third BRICS TB Research Network Meeting, over 28 – 29 June 2018, in Johannesburg with delegates from the World Health Organization, Brazil, Russia, India and South Africa. The meeting is part of the multi-country vision to accelerate research and innovation in TB through the BRICS cooperation mechanisms. This is a preparatory meeting in advance of… Read more on https://africa-newsroom.com/press/brazil-russia-india-china-and-south-africa-brics-tuberculosis-tb-research-network-to-accelerate-research-and-innovation-through-collaboration-across-the-brics-countries?lang=en

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Egypt: The Food and Agriculture organization (FAO) and Central Agency for Public Mobilization and Statistics (CAPMAS) Hold a Workshop on “Transforming Food and Agriculture to Achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)”

Database of Press Releases related to Africa - APO-Source

The Food and Agriculture organization of the United Nations (FAO) in Egypt and the Central Agency for Public Mobilization and Statistics (CAPMAS), with the participation of the relevant ministries, held yesterday an awareness-raising workshop on Transforming Food and Agriculture to Achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) from 24 to 26 June 2018. The workshop was conducted by experts from… Read more on https://africa-newsroom.com/press/the-food-and-agriculture-organization-fao-and-central-agency-for-public-mobilization-and-statistics-capmas-hold-a-workshop-on-transforming-food-and-agriculture-to-achieve-the-sustainable-development-goals-sdgs?lang=en

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Foods available to African farm households increase with market access and off-farm work

ILRI news

Foods of Khulungira: Fish stew, boiled maize, mixed beans, dried mushrooms, pumpkin leaves and egg stew

Common foods of Khulungira village, in central Malawi: Nsomba zophika (fish stew), chimanga chophika (boiled maize), nyemba zophika (mixed beans with salt and oil), bowa wofutsa (dried mushrooms with ground groundnuts), nkhwani wophatikiza ndi maungu anthete ndi kachewere wophika (pumpkin leaves, pumpkin blossoms and potatoes) and mazira ophika ndi phwetekere, anyezi, mafuta ndi mchere (boiled eggs with tomato, onions, oil and salt) (photo credit: CGIAR/Mann).

A unique dataset covering land use and production data by more than 13,000 smallholder farm households in 93 sites in 17 countries across sub-Saharan Africa is described in a paper recently published by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).Mark van Wijk, a scientist at the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI), led the study with other colleagues from ILRI and partner institutions. Excerpts from the paper, and its key messages, follow.

‘We calculated a simple indicator of food…

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Latest Brussels Briefing n. 50: “Growing food in the cities: Successes and new opportunities”

Brussels Development Briefings

The latest Brussels Development Briefing no. 50 on “Growing food in the cities: Successes and new opportunities” took place on 10 April 2018 from 09h00 to 13h00, ACP Secretariat, Brussels 451 Avenue Georges Henri, 1200 Brussels. This Briefing was organised by the ACP-EU Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation (CTA), in collaboration with the European Commission / DEVCO, the ACP Secretariat, and CONCORD.

TWITTER:Follow @brubriefings  and use hashtag #BBUrbanAg

This Briefing discussed the development of urban agriculture in Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific, looking at successful urban agribusinesses and the innovations, partnerships and policy developments that are creating new opportunities in this field.

In particular, the Briefing featured an exchange of views and experiences around agriculture in urban and peri-urban areas, and the main drivers for its growth and uptake by youth and women. It shared best practices and achievements across ACP countries from the…

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Next Brussels Briefing no.51: «Agriculture as an engine of economic reconstruction and development in fragile countries»

Brussels Development Briefings

The next Brussels Development Briefing no. 51 on ”Agriculture as an engine of economic reconstruction and development in fragile countries ” will take place on 27 June 2018 from 09h00 to 13h00, ACP Secretariat, Brussels 451 Avenue Georges Henri, 1200 Brussels. This Briefing will be organised by the ACP-EU Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation (CTA), in collaboration with the European Commission / DEVCO, the ACP Secretariat, and CONCORD.

To participate in the next Briefing please register online

Background Note

Programme 

Reader (coming soon)

Photos (coming soon)

Biodata of the speakers (coming soon)

Resources

Brussels Briefing 50: ”Growing food in the cities: Successes and new opportunities”


PROGRAMME

08h00-09h00     Registration

09h00-09h15      Introduction to the Briefing

Introductory remarks: Viwanou Gnassounou, Assistant-Secretary-General, ACP Secretariat; Leonard Mizzi, Acting Director Devco C, Planet and Prosperity and Head of Unit Rural Development, Food Security, Nutrition, Europeaid, European Commission; Michael Hailu…

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Animal health scientists promote One Health approach in tackling infectious diseases in Africa

AgHealth

Pipetting in ILRI's biosciences laboratories Pipetting in ILRI’s biosciences laboratories (photo credit: ILRI/David White).

The scourge of infectious diseases in Africa was the subject of a recent symposium co-hosted by the Academy of Science of South Africa, the Uganda National Academy of Sciences and the German National Academy of Sciences (Leopoldina) in Durban, South Africa on 12–13 April 2018.

The symposium titled Surveillance and response to infectious diseases and co-morbidities: An African and German perspective was attended by about 100 participants from Africa and Germany including senior researchers, policymakers and representatives from the private sector. Presentations and discussions revolved around antimicrobial resistance, One Health, co-morbidities of infectious diseases and the ‘Big Four’ infectious diseases in humans (HIV/AIDS, malaria, tuberculosis and hepatitis C).

Scientists from the human medical field dominated the symposium but in a panel discussion, the few animal health scientists present, including Kristina Roesel from the Animal and Human Health program…

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GFAR Talks: Empowering Farmers at the Center of Innovation through Participation in Research

THE GFAR BLOG

In this episode of GFAR Talks, we will examine how agricultural research can and must become a participatory process in which everyone is involved—from the perspectives of farmers, researchers and donors themselves.

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The rise of Community Supported Agriculture in China

Rural Sociology Wageningen University

30530930_212119566048787_3172312791000285184_n Image from Cultivate https://www.facebook.com/collectivecultivate/

On April 16th, Shi Yan, pioneer of the Community Supported Agriculture movement in China will visit Wageningen after participating in FAO’s International Symposium on Agroecology. During the day she will visit a selection of CSAs and in the evening she will give a presentation at Wageningen University.

Where: Room C013/VIP Room Forum Building

When: 19:00-21:30

In 2008 Shi Yan started the first CSA of China in the area of Bejing as a joint project with her university, the district government, and the Renmin Rural Reconstruction Centre. By now some 800 CSA’s are operating around China.

Shi Yan had been inspired by her experience of working with Earthrise Farm, a small CSA in Minnesota, USA. “It changed my life,” says Shi Yan. She arrived there thinking that she would study its business model, “but when living there, I realised that farming is not just a model, it’s a…

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Empowering ruminant livestock enterprises in Mali—A Feed the Future-ILRI project

ILRI news

A woman milks one of her goats in Ségou District, Mali

A woman milks one of her goats in Mali (photo credit: ILRI/Valentin Bognan Koné).

The Feed the Future Mali Livestock Technology Scaling Program is a three-year initiative (2016–2019) promoting inclusive growth of all actors adding value to the production and marketing of ruminant livestock in this large, and largely livestock-dependent, West African country. The program, led by the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) aims to increase the incomes and food and nutritional security of 266,000 people who keep cattle, sheep and goats, as well as  other actors in this value chain in three regions of southern and central Mali: Sikasso, Mopti and Timbuktu. Supported by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) as part of the US government’s Feed the Future initiative, this livestock program is helping to close productivity gaps in Mali’s ruminant production systems, enhancing both the volume and the value of these animals…

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Livestock research addresses issues underlying the pastoral crisis in the Horn of Africa

ILRI Clippings

Things Fall Apart

Things have quickly fallen apart in this particular drought in the Horn’s vast drylands because of a toxic mix of underlying factors.

Land Use

Among the things not being redressed are land-use policies and practices that fail to account for population increases and thus are restricting herders to ever smaller, drier and more fragmented rangelands. Increasing numbers of mixed crop-and-livestock farmers are moving onto former rangelands and cropping them unsustainably. We are in urgent need of sustainable land-use policies in this region, which comprises many of the world’s oldest and most renowned pastoral cultures. These societies have endured here precisely because they have evolved lifestyles that suit the region’s highly variable environments that are largely inhospitable to cropping. Pastoral communities need land-use policies that help them enhance their uncommon resilience to climate and other shocks.

Climate Change

If climate change shows us anything, it is that we…

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Mobile pastoralism—A 10,000-year-old practice still robust, if threatened, in the Mediterranean today

ILRI Clippings

Spanish Shepherd and His Flock

A Spanish shepherd and his flock (photo via Flickr/Jeromy Johnson).

From the Mediterranean Consortium for Nature and Culture
‘Mobile pastoralism is the movement of people and livestock through the landscape in search of water and pasture, and includes different practices such as transhumance, semi-nomadic and nomadic pastoralism and certain practices of extensive grazing—all involving people, herds and movement, and all having a positive impact on biodiversity.

‘This 10,000 year old cultural practice which still occurs in a wide variety of forms across the Mediterranean Basin, and is important in all the Mediterranean Consortium for Nature and Culture countries, is today threatened. Below are the activities the MCNC is involved in, to help ensure this vital way of life remains robust enough to stand it’s ground in today’s world.

‘For the last 5 years we have been studying the practice of Mobile Pastoralism in the Mediterranean Basin, and the innumerable ways in which it helps protect the…

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Cleaning up assessments of livestock-environment systems in developing countries with CLEANED

ILRI Clippings

Dairy cow in Tanga, Tanzania

Dairy cow in Tanga, Tanzania (photo credit: ILRI/Paul Karaimu).

As a vegetarian, my occupation as a livestock scientist might come as an odd choice. But here’s the thing: Livestock science isn’t about promoting meat eating; it’s about investigating better ways of farming meat so we don’t harm the environment in the process.

‘Global projections show that rising incomes are only expected to increase the demand for meat. I don’t think that has to be a bad thing.

‘The question for me is not whether we produce or eat meat — but how we do it. And lab-grown meat, which has recently grabbed global headlines, is not the only way.

‘Some key reasons farmers keep animals, especially in developing countries, are so they can earn better incomes, have better prospects for their families, and produce manure to fertilize their farms. Eating meat regularly is often not an option. Milk, eggs and other dairy products, however, contribute…

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Beef cattle grazing on American rangelands—not feedlots—could be net carbon sink

ILRI Clippings

Beef cattle on pasture in the USA (photo credit: BEEF magazine).

A new research paper by Michigan State University scientists analyses the impacts of soil carbon sequestration on life cycle greenhouse gas emissions in Midwestern USA beef finishing systems.

Highlights
• On-farm beef production and emissions data are combined with 4-year soil carbon analysis.
• Feedlot production produces lower emissions than adaptive multi-paddock grazing.
• Adaptive multi-paddock grazing can sequester large amounts of soil carbon.
• Emissions from the grazing system were offset completely by soil carbon sequestration.
• Soil carbon sequestration from well-managed grazing may help to mitigate climate change.

The following excerpts (excluding references) are from the paper.

Abstract
‘Beef cattle have been identified as the largest livestock-sector contributor to greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Using life cycle analysis (LCA), several studies have concluded that grass-finished beef systems have greater GHG intensities than feedlot-finished (FL) beef systems. These studies…

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Animal health and welfare, two cornerstones of sustainable, responsible and effective food production

ILRI news

Monique Eliot, director general of the OIE, leads a high-level panel discussion at the Global Forum for Food and Agriculture, in Berlin, 19 Jan 2018 (photo credit: BMEL/Inga Kjer/photothek).

Improved animal health and welfare standards do more than improve animal health and welfare, as important as those are. Applying such standards can increase food production in ways that also protect the environment and enhance the resilience of livestock producers and systems.

Any transition to more responsible and efficient livestock production models depends on nations implementing, and meeting, appropriate health and welfare standards. This is why equipping national officials and private businesses with the technical knowledge and resources to adapt global standards to local circumstances is so important.

This point was repeatedly raised by the keynote speakers at a high-level panel on the future of animal health and welfare organized by the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) as…

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​’If you care about agriculture, you care about livestock’—Bill Gates

‘. . . According to Reuters, the Gates Foundation will pump $40m into research for higher-yielding dairy cows, as well as chickens that lay better quality eggs, livestock vaccines and “supercrops” that can withstand droughts or disease.“

ILRI Clippings

The Cow with the Subtile Nose, by Jean Dubuffet, 1954.

‘. . . According to Reuters, the Gates Foundation will pump $40m into research for higher-yielding dairy cows, as well as chickens that lay better quality eggs, livestock vaccines and “supercrops” that can withstand droughts or disease.

‘These will help farmers in need across the globe—the International Livestock Research Institute says that there are 750 million people in low and middle-income countries who depend on livestock (cattle, sheep and goats) farming, which acts as a source of both nutrition and income.

“If you care about the poor, you should care about agriculture. And if you care about agriculture, you care about livestock,” Gates told an audience at the University of Edinburgh on Friday.

“What that means in this context is helping poor farmers get as much as possible out of their animals.”

‘The input from Gates will be part of a $174 million agricultural project with Britain’s Department…

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DFID/UKAid provides £4 million for genetics and health research to aid sustainable livestock production in Africa

ILRI news

Ploughing with cattle in southwestern Ethiopia

More oxen for ploughing means less labour for farmers (photo: ILRI/Stevie Mann). In Ethiopia’s Ghibe Valley, ILRI-led tsetse fly control methods allowed cattle to flourish in an area previously almost uninhabitable for them. This encouraged more farming in the area, relieving to a degree population and soil erosion pressures in higher, tsetse-free, elevations. Such was the impact this has had on the livelihood of farmer Worku Mengiste that he was able to employ two casual labourers to do work he previously did himself. Here he watches on as they plough his field.

Research to improve the health and productivity of farmed animals in tropical climates has received a £4 million boost from the UK Government.

The investment from the Department for International Development (DFID) was announced by the Secretary of State for International Development, Penny Mordaunt, during a visit to the University of Edinburgh.

Funding will enable scientists in…

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Sustainable livestock futures—BMZ, GIZ and ILRI at the Global Forum for Food and Agriculture this week

ILRI news

For several days this week (18–20 Jan 2018), several scientific directors and staff of the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI)—Jimmy Smith, Shirley Tarawali, Dieter Schillinger, Lutz Merbold and Kristina Roesel—will be participating with several ILRI partners in the Global Forum for Food and Agriculture (GFFA), held in Berlin, Germany.

This annual German three-day international conference focuses on the future of the global agri-food industry. Now in its tenth year, the GFFA in 2018 is focusing on Shaping the Future of Livestock—Sustainably, Responsibly, Efficiently.

GFFA is organized by the Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture in cooperation with the Berlin Senate, Messe Berlin GmbH and the GFFA Berlin e.V. This is the tenth year of GFFA, which takes place at the start of International Green Week (19–28 Jan 2018), a large Expo-like international exhibition of the food, agriculture and gardening industries. GFFA also includes the

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To transform agricultural extension, give youth a voice

THE GFAR BLOG

malawi_ag_extension

At the recent Africa Agriculture Extension week in Durban, there was a common refrain: “Demand for food in Africa is growing and expected to double by 2050.” This is why we see continued growth and employment opportunities in the agricultural value chain and why agriculture extension—or training– is more important than ever.

So what exactly is agriculture extension? Agricultural extension focuses on delivering advisory services for technologies that help crop, livestock, and fishery farmers, among others. Extension workers are trainers, advisors, project managers, community developers and policy advocators. They also conduct administrative support for local governments and help farmers make decisions and share knowledge. Agriculture extension, which services smallholder farmers throughout the value chain, is crucial in achieving food, nutrition and income security.

Even though agriculture extension is key to building the food systems of the future, it is not always fit for purpose. In Africa, for example…

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Peste des petits ruminants (PPR) is going to be history, but how?

THE GFAR BLOG

PPR2.png

I got impressed by the virtues of collective actions while reading the GFAR blog post Remembering our collective actions: The unforgettable story of Rinderpest eradication. This infectious disease which was once thought very difficult to control, was nevertheless totally eliminated from the world, thanks to the collective actions. My institution, ICAR-Indian Veterinary Research Institute, among several others, played an active role in the global campaign against Rinderpest under the leadership of FAO and OIE. This disease is history now.

And I am wondering, what could be the next big opportunity for collective actions to make an impact on the livelihoods of people depending on livestock? Those of you who have background in the livestock sector must have figured out already: it’s Peste des petits ruminants (PPR), a destructive, fast spreading viral disease that kills sheep and goats—the livelihoods of millions of the world’s poor. Many of you…

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Second PENAPH Conference: Participatory Approaches to One Health

PENAPH

January 10-12, 2018 – Khon Kaen, Thailand

Participatory Approaches in Animal Health, Public Health, One Health and Ecohealth

Registration for the Second PENAPH Conference and conference courses is still open at

https://www.eventbrite.com/e/second-penaph-conference-participatory-approaches-to-one-health-tickets-37155665596.

Hotel bookings for the Pullman Raja Orchid Hotel are still available. Please download the form in the link below and contact the hotel. Payments for the hotel can be made by advance wire or with a credit card on arrival.

We have 70 confirmed participants and 40 papers. See you in Khon Kaen.

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Sustainable food systems: What it means for CIAT research

THE GFAR BLOG

38523449936_c9ea8f8cf8_k Mark Lundy is the Leader of Sustainable Food Systems at CIAT

It is big and involves so many processes and actors. Some would even say it’s scary.

I’m talking about the food system, or the movement of food from cultivation of crops to disposal of food scraps.

“It’s everything and it’s nothing. But the important thing about the food system as a concept and as a tool is it allows us to connect things,” said Mark Lundy, leader of Sustainable Food Systems program at the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT), during the #CIAT50 celebrations at the center’s headquarters in Cali, Colombia.

At CIAT, Lundy is leading efforts to define a sustainable food systems approach, particularly the focus areas of research.

CIAT characterizes sustainable food systems as food systems that “aim at achieving food and nutrition security and healthy diets while limiting negative environmental impacts and improving socio-economic welfare,” and…

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Learning about data for farmers and how it can help to “cross the donga”

THE GFAR BLOG

Dan Berne and Valeria Pesce

Dan Berne introducing the course Dan Berne introducing the course

In the week of 20-24 November 2017, GFAR convened a course and symposium on Farmers’ access to data in Centurion, South Africa.

This event is an example of the activities that GFAR wants to promote towards ensuring that communities determine their own needs and their own future, which is one of the key focal areas on which partners in GFAR have agreed to work. Farmers’ awareness of their needs and their rights, in this case data needs and data rights, is key in this process..

GFAR organized the event in collaboration with the Information Training and Outreach Centre for Africa (ITOCA), the Global Open Data for Agriculture and Nutrition (GODAN) initiative and the Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation (CTA).

Breakout groups Breakout groups

In the training course, we brought together a group of 16 participants from 14 countries learning, but…

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Learning about data for farmers and how it can help to “cross the donga”

THE GFAR BLOG

Dan Berne and Valeria Pesce

Dan Berne introducing the course Dan Berne introducing the course

In the week of 20-24 November 2017, GFAR convened a course and symposium on Farmers’ access to data in Centurion, South Africa.

This event is an example of the activities that GFAR wants to promote towards ensuring that communities determine their own needs and their own future, which is one of the key focal areas on which partners in GFAR have agreed to work. Farmers’ awareness of their needs and their rights, in this case data needs and data rights, is key in this process..

GFAR organized the event in collaboration with the Information Training and Outreach Centre for Africa (ITOCA), the Global Open Data for Agriculture and Nutrition (GODAN) initiative and the Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation (CTA).

Breakout groups Breakout groups

In the training course, we brought together a group of 16 participants from 14 countries learning, but…

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Towards Food and Nutrition Security: Where is IITA going in the next half century?

THE GFAR BLOG

Field visit to CIALCA project sites by partners Burundi women dance to welcome visitors during farmers open day.

The year 2017 marks the 50th anniversary of the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA). The anniversary was celebrated to reflect two milestones: the first 50 years, covering the period from its inception up till now; and the next 50 years, covering the present to the next 50 years. The first core event, held on 24 July, celebrated the achievements of the institute and its people – researchers, staff, alumni, partners and donors – that have been part of the history and success of the institute.

The second celebration event was a conference organized to address the challenges, opportunities and strategies for ensuring food and nutrition security for the coming 50-year period. The conference had a foresight and futuristic focus; this is pertinent particularly given the key challenges of population growth and climate change and their impact…

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IITA: Transforming African Agriculture

THE GFAR BLOG

5 IITA’s first 50 years showed how partnership is a key ingredient for success in IITA’s efforts to bring about transformation in agriculture.

Agriculture is central to the development of the African continent, currently contributing 40% to 80% to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in several countries. In recent years, it has been put back on to the development agenda of most African governments. In Nigeria, for instance, the agricultural policy document of the current government builds on the Agricultural Transformation Agenda of the previous government, and is tagged as “The Green Alternative”.

For a long time, however, agriculture had been seen as a back-breaking and thankless occupation, contributing to people’s livelihoods and creating employment, but only at the subsistence level. Agriculture, however, has the potential to drive economic development and wealth creation. To harness its potential for transformation, agriculture needs to be seen as a commercial business operation at all…

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People and Animal Agriculture~The Philosophy of the Low Carbon Livestock

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PENAPH Conference Course: Introduction to Participatory Epidemiology and Surveillance

PENAPH

We have enough sign-ups to offer the Introduction to Participatory Epidemiology and Surveillance Course, but still have a few more slots available. You can sign-up on the eventbrite site at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/second-penaph-conference-participatory-approaches-to-one-health-tickets-37155665596. The course description is below:

Introduction to Participatory Epidemiology and Surveillance

Instructors: Jeff Mariner, Sirikachorn Tangkawattana and Warangkhana Chaisowwong

Course Learning Objectives:

Upon completion of the course, participants will be able to:

  • Describe the principles and concepts of participatory approaches and differentiate participatory methods from other methods
  • Conduct semi-structured interviews and lead participatory exercises such as mapping, visualization techniques, ranking and scoring methods
  • Utilize direct observation as a tool in assessments
  • Interpret results and communicate findings of research, assessments and surveillance activities that employ participatory methods
  • Design participatory studies and surveillance activities using participatory methods or that combine participatory methods with quantitative approaches.

 

Course duration: 10 days – Jan 15-19 and Jan 22-26

Course Description:

This…

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Future of (sustainable) livestock production: Efficient, but measured–Time Magazine on major new ILRI study

ILRI Clippings

Ethiopian livestock-keeping family

Ethiopian livestock-keeper and her children (photo credit: ILRI/Apollo Habtamu).

Livestock production may have a bigger impact on the planet than anything else. A new study from the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) shows how the effects vary from country to country — and points the way toward a more sustainable future.

Below, Time Magazine‘s senior environmental journalist Bryan Walsh reports (well) on a big new livestock study from ILRI.

‘You may think you live on a planet, but really you live on a gigantic farm, one occasionally broken up by cities, forests and the oceans. Some 40% of the world’s land surface is used for the purposes of keeping all 7 billion of us fed — albeit some of us, of course, more than others. And the vast majority of that land — about 30% of the word’s total ice-free surface — is used not to raise grains, fruits…

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Superfood (Camel Milk) can Beat the Challenge of Superbug (Bacterial Resistance to Antibiotics)

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Superfood (Camel Milk) can Beat the Challenge of Superbug (Bacterial Resistance to Antibiotics)

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Food Insecurity Metrics Now in Sync

THE GFAR BLOG

marita FAO“If you can’t measure, you can’t manage”
-Peter Drucker

That is why metrics are important for the government or any institution, and development partners in addressing food insecurity, malnutrition, hunger, poverty. According to FAO, after a prolonged decline since 1990, the number of undernourished people has increased to 815 million in 2016, from 777 million in 2015.

FAO’s mandate is to help reduce hunger and to track the progress towards its goal. That brings the importance of having a unified system to get the important data and information and manage the situation in order to effect the eradication of hunger.

CFS44 tackled the importance and the development of common metrics to measure food insecurity in one of its side events. Gone are the days when measurement was viewed from different lenses or tools and methodologies were varied. Though there is no single tool that captures all the dimensions of food…

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The Shifting State of Sustainability: Can the private sector really deliver a public good?

THE GFAR BLOG

Coffee Output

The development community, with some notable exceptions, is waking up to the absurdity of measuring only their inputs and outputs like the number of farmers trained or the number of hectares certified as “farmed sustainably”.  In many cases, missing is the measurement that matters most: what positive (or negative) difference did their efforts make for the lives of their intended beneficiaries?  What was their impact?.  Of course, the most thoughtful are indeed measuring well and applying the emerging range of mixed methods to understand impact and impact pathways. However, in a shift that portends a seismic change in how sustainability works, it is the private sector that is increasingly pushing the envelope for many commodities. After all, today firms have to increasingly account for the efficacy of all their investments, even those once considered soft investments in Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) or sustainability.

We at the Committee on Sustainability Assessment (COSA) applaud…

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Could animals help solve the world’s ‘calorie’ as well as ‘hidden’ hunger?—ILRI’s Delia Grace on World Food Day

ILRI Clippings

The interview below, Could animal-sourced protein really solve the world’s hunger crisis?, of veterinary epidemiologist and food safety expert Delia Grace, of the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI), was originally published in the Oct 2017 ‘Food and Nutrition Security’ issue of the monthly newsletter for Health for Animals. Both display quote graphics below are by Health for Animals.

Each year, 161 million children under the age of five lack the nutrients they require for their development.

This malnourishment causes stunting—both physical and cognitive—and ultimately costs our world 4.5 trillion US dollars in economic impacts each year.

In a world where extreme poverty has fallen in recent decades, this ‘hidden hunger’ can often be forgotten.

‘With such a huge problem to tackle and FAO’s World Hunger Day on October 16th, we spoke to Dr Delia Grace, Programme Director at International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI), based in…

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ILRI scientist Delia Grace receives the Trevor Blackburn Award for contributions to animal health and food safety

AgHealth

Delia Grace in ILRI's Guwahati office Delia Grace, veterinary epidemiologist at the International Livestock Research Institute (photo credit: ILRI/Susan MacMillan).

We are pleased to congratulate Delia Grace on being announced as the winner of the British Veterinary Association’s (BVA) Trevor Blackburn Award in recognition of her multiple outstanding contributions to animal health, animal welfare and food safety in Africa and Asia.

In particular, she was recognized for her work with community health programs and research into public health and food safety; her pioneering work highlighting the benefits and risks of the engagement of women in livestock farming in developing countries; and the delivery of training and studies in numerous African countries.

The announcement was made today, 25 September 2014, during the awards ceremony at the BVA Members’ Day in Manchester, United Kingdom.

Grace is a veterinary epidemiologist with nearly 20 years’ experience in developing countries. She leads the Food Safety and Zoonoses program at…

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