How to Create Resilient Agriculture

kristy Earth Systems Science

How to create resilient agriculture

Food security is critical to the mission of Rio+20, writes Gordon Conway, Imperial College London. The threats are numerous: repeated food price spikes; shortages of good-quality land and water; rising energy energy and fertiliser prices; and the consequences of climate change… More

Livelihoods, water and higher-welfare farming: An alternative pathway

Industrial farming is not an inevitability, writes Vicki Hird, WSPA. WSPA and Compassion in World Farming recently released a joint report on the use of freshwater in agriculture – Freshwater Use and Farm Animal Welfare. The report included staggering evidence that… More

Chain reaction: Collaboration needed to increase uptake of sustainable palm oil across the supply chain

The issues surrounding palm oil are numerous and are often difficult to navigate, writes Sophia Gnych, Biodiversity and Palm Oil Project Developer, Zoological Society of London. Oil palm produces the greatest yields per hectare of any vegetable oil crop, but the high levels of rainfall and sunlight it requires to grow puts it in direct competition with tropical rainforest… More

Water wars on the driest continent on Earth

Australia, the driest continent on earth, has but one major river system, writes Lolo Houbein. The Murray-Darling feeds four states before reaching the Great Southern Ocean. Most agriculture takes place in its basin. Frequent droughts and irrigation over-use almost killed the Murray River when it no longer reached the ocean and the Lower Lakes dried up, ruining agriculture and killing thousands of animals and some people… More

Food security: The food system concept

Food security occurs when “all people, at all times, have physical and economic access to sufficient, safe, and nutritious food to meet their dietary needs and food preferences for an active and healthy life” (FAO World Food Summit, 1996). Globally, food production has kept ahead of demand for many years, yet about one billion people currently do not have access to sufficient calories; a further billion do not have access to adequate nutrition, write Dr. John Ingram, University of Oxford and Professor Tim Benton, University of Leeds This is due to a combination of biophysical, socioeconomic and political factors… More

Vue de terrain (English translation below)

Mère et productrice, la femme rurale est la clé de l’entretien de la famille, de la sécurité alimentaire ainsi qu’au développement durable, écrit Kantarama Césaire, Femme rurale veuve et agriculture du RWANDA Elle joue un rôle sur toute la chaine de production agricole… More

Views from the Field

Césarie Kantarama – Ms Kantarama is a widowed woman and a smallholder farmer from Rwanda where she raises eight children, including 3 adopted. Her thoughts are translated below from French.
Both as mother and producer, a rural woman is the key for a good family life, food security and sustainable development. She is active at all different stages in the agricultural value/production chain… More

Hope in new scientific insights to avoid global agricultural tragedy

Approximately 18% of the world’s land is used for agriculture, however 80% of this figure is accounted for by non-cropland agriculture, writes Allan Savory. In many of Earth’s most troubled regions, countries typically have only 1% to 5% cropland, with the rest being home to once thriving pastoral people… More

The female face of farming

As the Rio+20 negotiations progress, the contributions and challenges faced by one half of the world’s population remain largely ignored and underrepresented, writes Robynne Anderson, World Farmers Organisation. Most of the world’s poor live in rural areas and are particularly vulnerable to food insecurity. Half of that population – women – faces additional vulnerabilities and constraints, but also constitutes the backbone of communities’ livelihoods, well-being and food security… More

Disappearing bees, bumblebees and biodiversity: A precautionary tale

Although the number of cultivated honeybees is growing worldwide, there has been an alarming decline in North America and Europe, labelled as Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD), prompting much publicity and research, writes Sharafin Gardiner. In the USA alone, bumblebee numbers have declined by 96% and their range has shunk by up to 87%… More

Business Leaders Call upon Governments to include explicit sustainability reporting requirements in the outcome document of Rio+20

Yesterday, at the annual meeting of the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) in Montreux, Switzerland, the WBCSD and the Global Reporting Initiative launched a letter inviting business leaders to call upon governments to agree to set up a global policy framework on corporate sustainability reporting, as an outcome of Rio+20… More

Cities and Regions together towards Rio+20

On 23rd April, a High-level Local and Regional Authorities’ delegation presented eight recommendations to the United Nations Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon, to achieve sustainable cities and regions, writes Natalène Poisson, UCLG. United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG) and UN-Habitat, with the support of Cities Alliance, gathered local and subnational government leaders, and their main worldwide networks, together at a meeting in New York, where they presented their key messages towards Rio+20 to United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, United Nations officials and representatives of national delegations… More

Reflections on the negotiations – Tuesday, 24th April

Tuesday morning’s plenary on sections III and V focused on food security, writes Emma Puka-Beals, Mount Holyoke College. The G77+China moved to retain some of its previously proposed text, but in a change from Monday’s plenary, negotiated primarily on the basis of Co-Chairs’ Streamlined Text paragraphs. Delegates disagreed on whether food security should be articulated as a right or a goal… More