Food Security

Assessing China’s Role and Influence in Africa

March 29, 2012 by

The most important difference between the United States and China is the very structure of the American and Chinese governments and the way their respective systems engage in Africa. American commercial activity (trade, investment and bidding on contracts) in Africa is conducted by private companies with limited involvement by the U.S. government. If two or more private U.S. companies are competing for the same project, the U.S. government must be impartial, providing essentially equal help to all U.S. interested parties. When this situation occurs, my experience was that the role of the U.S. government diminishes even further.

North Korea’s Pivot

March 1, 2012 by

After three years of frozen relations between North Korea and the United States, the two longstanding adversaries are on the verge of a thaw. In what has been called the “leap day deal”, North Korea has pledged to stop uranium enrichment and suspend nuclear and missile tests. The United States, meanwhile, will deliver 240,000 metric tonnes of food to the country’s malnourished population.

A Case for a United Nigeria

January 18, 2012 by

The idea of Nigeria splitting into different sovereigns has gained traction over the last several weeks. A growing chorus of local leaders in Nigeria, looking to avoid what happened in Yugoslavia, Czechoslovakia, and Sudan are urging the federal government to look at splitting the nation before there is too much bloodshed. Muammar Gaddafi notoriously said the OPEC nation should split into two distinct nations; although everyone knows his motives were not pure.

The Food Piracy of Monsanto in India

January 12, 2012 by

The Somali pirates terrorize the Gulf of Aden. In India, Monsanto terrorizes one of basic sources of human survival – food. But this may change. After years of cajoling with Monsanto, the Indian government finally threw in the towel. In 2010, it banned commercial approval of GM seeds “indefinitely” to prevent Monsanto from “frankencroping” basic crops like brinjal.

Could your diet save the planet?

November 1, 2011 by

By now most of us have read articles suggesting we “eat less red-meat and save the planet”. Some may also have heard statements by the chairman of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Dr. Rajendra Pachauri, that people should have “one meat-free day a week if they want to make a personal and effective sacrifice that would help tackle climate change”. As with most issues associated with climate change, concerns about greenhouse gas emissions from livestock are muddied by many strong opinions and few facts.

100 Million Fuel-Efficient Cookstoves by 2020, Is It Possible?

October 30, 2011 by

The world of fuel-efficient cookstoves is unknown to most of us. In the developed world, we cook with the ease of ovens and stoves powered by gas or electricity. Our main complaints in the kitchen are banal, such as why we need more counter space or who will clean up the dishes. In the rest of the world, three billion people use inefficient rudimentary stoves that cook using trees and agricultural waste, better known as biomass.

Food Prices Set to Rise Further

October 10, 2011 by

Food price volatility featuring high prices is likely to continue and probably increase next year, making poor farmers even more vulnerable to poverty and food insecurity, the global report on food insecurity released Monday by the United Nations’ three Rome-based food agencies predicts. Small, import-dependent countries, particularly in Africa, are especially at risk. “Many of them still face severe problems following the world food and economic crises of 2006-2008,” the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and the World Food Programme (WFP) said in preface to The State of Food Insecurity in the World 2011 (SOFI).

Will patenting crops help feed the hungry?

September 26, 2011 by

Rice is the primary source of food for roughly half the world’s population. But it falls well short of providing enough iron, zinc and pro-vitamin A to meet daily nutritional requirements. Iron deficiency is the most widespread nutritional disorder in the world, affecting more than two billion people. Symptoms include poor mental development, depressed immune function and anaemia. To address this problem, scientists from the Australian Centre for Plant Functional Genomics (ACPFG) have produced rice with iron levels high enough to meet daily recommended requirements.

Somalia: Food Security Emergency Spreads Despite Aid

August 25, 2011 by

As the Horn of Africa deals with what the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) is calling the “most severe food security emergency in the world today,”experts warn that conditions in famine-stricken Somalia are likely to further deteriorate.

Feeding the World

August 17, 2011 by

Come October, Atlas won’t be shrugging, he’ll be groaning as global population passes the 7 billion mark. Until very recently, demographers predicted that these numbers would peak in 2050 at just over 9 billion and then start to decline. The latest research, however, suggests that despite declining fertility across much of the world, population will continue to rise through this century to over 10 billion people.

Malawi Makes, Africa Takes?

August 11, 2011 by

In 2005, President Bingu Wu Mutharika of Malawi embarked on an innovative five-year solution to promote Malawi’s agriculture sector by increasing farm subsidies and allocating 10 percent of the national budget to the agriculture sector to help promote infrastructure and farm training. Despite concerns from the World Bank and the UN, President Mutharika promoted Malawi’s agriculture sector and decreased poverty from 52 percent to 40 percent while turning Malawi into a food basket not only for its people but also for export.

Food and Oil Costs: Weather and Demand Underlie Prices

July 8, 2011 by

There has been optimism that many developed and developing nations would continue to emerge from the economic malaise. However, increased prices of oil and foodstuffs threaten to undermine their continued economic growth. Severe weather in Australia, the United States, Russia, parts of Africa and Canada have curtailed exports of certain crops thereby impacting the price of foodstuffs. Further, continued turmoil in oil exporting nations has created uncertainty, which directly correlates to a rise in global oil prices.