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Providing Food Security & Sustainability

Providing Food Security & Sustainability

Air Date: November 15, 2018

Twelve years ago, Kimberly Buffington was on a mission trip to feed the hungry in Lima, Peru when she had an “ah-ha” moment.

Kimberly: We just came 6,000 miles and met these amazing wonderful people and fed them and there is people that are hungry 20 minutes from where I live. So I came back and said I’ve got to find a way to have some impact in my own town.

So Kimberly moved into the city and educated herself on what families really needed – food security.

Mitch: What does food security mean?

Kimberly: There is enough food for everyone to eat which usually means that there is food creation happening within a community.

Seeing the lack of security, Kimberly needed to find a solution. She discovered a grocery partner to support the efforts and Eden Gives was born.

Kimberly: What came into my hands to give away was food from a local Trader Joe’s store. Instead of throwing food away that is about to expire they have built processes into their store functions that allows them to donate safely to nonprofits like ours. So I pick up from Trader Joe’s and deliver food into the city. We feed 400 families isn’t that crazy?

Mitch: And healthy food

Kimberly: Yes

But Kimberly couldn’t just do food delivery. Today Eden Gives is providing food sustainability through local gardens and Abundance Farming.

Kimberly: And I realized if I teach them to grow then the possibility of them never being hungry again exists.

 It may have taken a trip to another country to spark her mission but Kimberly Buffington and Eden Gives is creating an abundance of food for families, right here in the heart of Detroit.

Map of the Day: The Colors of Food Security

Map of the Day: The Colors of Food Security

Submitted by Taps Coogan on the 11th of November 2018 to The Sounding Line.

Taps: The following post and text all come via The Colors of Food Security. Enjoy:

The Colors of Food Security
Food security is a highly complex issue requiring a systems view that integrates multiple dimensions and aspects of the food system. Food availability, quality, access, utilization, and the stability of each of these components, all depend on agricultural production, employment, poverty, economic growth, climate, human health, biodiversity loss, water, pollution, consumption, and societal norms. With the maps we have given you, we have shown you what food security looks like today. Paint the food system you would like to see tomorrow.

A Cultivated Planet
Each pixel on the map highlights the areas covered by croplands and pastures across the world. Humans have converted ~12% of the earth’s ice-free land surface area to grow crops, fuel, and fiber, and ~22% for grazing cattle, pigs, goats, sheep, chickens, and other forms of livestock. Agriculture represents the largest human land footprint on the planet. Rising demand for agricultural products is currently straining the Earth’s life-supporting systems.

Employment in agriculture
Each pixel on the map highlights the number of humans around the world that are employed in agriculture. Agriculture employs some 1 billion people across the world and is a critical source of income for many of the world’s poor. While some parts of the world have decoupled agricultural production from labor through the use of mechanization and technology, others have not yet made this transition. Countries that have a high per capita GDP and food security, typically have low proportions of their population in agriculture, whilst poorer countries have higher proportional employment in agriculture and lower food security.

World Hunger
Each pixel on the map highlights the number of undernourished humans on the planet. One in ten people on the planet today do not have enough calories to support a basic, energetically non-demanding lifestyle. One in four do not get enough of the right nutrients from their food, such as Iron and Vitamin A. Lack of proper nutrition has drastic impacts on child mortality, health, and intellect. While the proportion of undernourished people across the world has declined over the past few decades, the proportion of people who consume in excess has risen dramatically, and in absolute numbers now is almost double those of undernourished.

Water Consumption
Each pixel on the map highlights the quantity of groundwater extracted in different watersheds across the world. Agricultural production accounts for ~92% of the human water footprint. As a consequence, many aquifers around the world are rapidly being depleted, some large lakes and inland seas have dried out, and many rivers no longer reach the oceans. This means that agriculture is a major factor leading to water insecurity for human populations and for other species on our planet.

Each pixel on the map highlights the amount of excess phosphorus applied to croplands across the world. Fertilizers from agriculture, including synthetic, animal-based (e.g. manure), and plant-based (e.g. legumes), have enabled global agricultural productivity to soar over the past 50 years. However, the use of these fertilizers is often in excess. Phosphorus is a key ingredient in many fertilizers, and its over-application has negatively impacted our freshwater systems through widespread eutrophication. Excess nitrogen often applied alongside phosphorus, has also come at a great cost to human health through pollution of drinking water.

Biodiversity Loss
Each pixel on the map highlights the number of threatened mammal and bird species whose ranges overlap with pasture or cropland ecosystems. Agriculture is responsible for clearing ~30% of forests worldwide, resulting in ~35% loss of local species richness. The dominance of agricultural land use makes it especially difficult for species with large distributions to co-exist with humans on the planet. Loss of biodiversity, in turn, causes a decline in nature’s contributions to people, such as pollination and pest control services, which lead to reduced agricultural productivity.

Climate change
Each pixel on the map highlights greenhouse gas emissions from global croplands that are one of the leading causes of climate change. Agriculture currently is responsible for ~22% of global greenhouse gas emissions, ~9% come from deforestation, and ~13% come from related land management. Methane from livestock and rice paddies and nitrous oxide from fertilizer application are some of the main contributors of agricultural emissions. In a vicious feedback cycle, these greenhouse gas emissions are currently contributing to an increase in extreme weather disasters that are leading to lower yields and more crop losses.

Each pixel on the map shows the percentage of food that is wasted in each country. For mapping, we only highlight dense human populations in each country (>1000 people per pixel). Currently, ~25% of the world’s food produced globally is never consumed. Food waste occurs in the field, after harvest, along with supply chains, and among retailers and consumers. Waste due to consumers is much higher in European and North American countries, while waste in the field occurs predominantly in African, South Asian, and Southeast Asian countries. Reducing total food waste is a major leverage point towards a sustainable food system.

Diet Shifts
Each pixel on the map highlights the number of calories produced that are currently being used to feed livestock (in total this is ~36% of all calories produced by crops globally). The world is currently facing a series of interconnected problems related to the food system including malnutrition, environmental impacts, non-communicable and communicable diseases. One proposed solution to these problems is to shift dietary trends away from grain-fed animal products. This would free up ~70% more calories, meet human energy requirements and reduce the impact of agriculture on the environment and human health.

Right to Food
Each pixel on the map highlights the number of humans around the world that have an explicit constitutional right to food. Included in the UN International Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights, the right to food has been explicitly recognized in the constitutions of 30 countries. Currently ~815 million people in the world do not have sufficient caloric intake to sustain their daily energy needs. One solution to this problem, and to others related to our unsustainable food system, is to entrench the right to food in the constitutions of nations. However, the actual impact of the constitutional right to food on food security is not yet known.

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Nation ranked 31st worldwide in terms of overall food security.

Nation ranked 31st worldwide in terms of overall food security.

Food prices in the UAE are among the cheapest in the world as the country continues to invest and improve its food security, though there are still some key challenges that the Emirates needs to overcome in the years to come.

According to Economist magazine’s Global Food Security Index 2018, food prices in the UAE are the fourth-most affordable globally, thanks to stronger dirham, improved domestic food production through new technologies and shifting focus to safe havens such as Eastern Europe, Australia and North and South America.

The index ranked the UAE 31st worldwide in terms of overall food security with 72.5 score, two spots up from 33rd and an improvement of 0.8 points year-on-year. In the Gulf region, the Emirates is ranked fourth in overall food security, ahead of Saudi Arabia and Bahrain.

In terms of natural resources and resilience, the UAE was ranked 113rd, a drop of nine positions. For the availability sub-index, the UAE ranked 50th and 43rd in quality and safety sub-index among 113 countries. The Economist said the GCC countries are the most import-dependent for their food supplies, but these countries also have smaller proportions of their populations below the poverty line, which makes them more financially resilient when global prices skyrocket.

The report said that the physical effects of climate change, including increases in temperature, droughts, flooding, storms and rising sea levels, are likely to hit Gulf states and the rest of the Mena hardest, followed by Central and South America.

“Worsening dust and sandstorms cause significant agricultural losses in countries such as Saudi Arabia and Yemen, which are near the bottom of the rankings in terms of historical susceptibility to storm damage,” it said.

Mahboob Murshed, managing director of Alpen Capital, said the UAE has been trying to mitigate the issue by promoting cultivation of high-value and low water-reliant crops through the use of new agricultural techniques such as drip irrigation and hydroponics. However, despite efforts to boost domestic production, the UAE remains largely dependent on imports to feed its growing population.

“The UAE has developed comprehensive plans to secure food supply, which include investments in farmlands abroad as well as improving domestic productivity by using new technologies. It has already invested in countries like Namibia, South Africa, Tunisia, Morocco, Algeria, Sudan and Egypt to secure food supply. However, weak infrastructure, local hostility, poor security and political risks have affected some of the projects. It has hence, shifted focus to safer havens such as Eastern Europe, Australia, and North and South America,” Murshed said.

“The UAE government has also invested heavily in providing the technology required to improve land and water management and boost the agricultural sector. To enhance crop productivity and reduce agricultural costs, it is attempting to deploy space technology. This involves using satellites equipped with remote sensing technology for monitoring plant growth and activity, irrigation needs and environmental conditions,” he added.

According to Euromonitor International’s estimates, UAE residents’ spending on food and non-alcoholic beverages will amount to Dh107.8 billion in 2018, which will increase to Dh112.19 billion in 2019, Dh117.6 billion in 2020.

Zaid Al Hachem, group director at Dynamic Operator, said the quality of food served in the UAE is exceptional compared to any part of the world despite it being a very young destination.

“There are multiple reasons for this. First and foremost, the food control authorities not only ensure the food safety and quality but raise the bar on the same and take necessary measures through the various policies and regulations. Random inspections across all food outlets and restaurants are conducted to maintain standards at every level. Secondly, the range and choice of cuisines and dining outlets in the UAE is absolutely incredible and is turning it into a true gastronomic hub. Therefore, it is only a matter of time before the first sought-after stars are awarded to restaurants here. Many of the restaurants here have already made it to the world’s top restaurant lists,” Al Hachem added.

Feras Al Sadek, marketing in-charge at the Grand Millennium Dubai, said the food quality in the UAE is definitely one of the highest around the world, thanks to the municipality who keeps a close eye on all ingredients coming into the country, those being produced locally and for creating a food safety system that is among the best in the world.

“On top of that, since the UAE has created a high benchmark in regards to overall quality of the country, restaurant and hotel owners too are trying to keep up with this; that being said the owners all choose to import only the best, most organic and healthiest ingredients from around the world due to easy logistical access thanks to our airports and seaports. Local farmers too are doing a great job in only producing the highest standards as possible and are all within few kilometers from the hotels and restaurants,” Al Sadek said.

Walid Al Awa, general manager at Tamani Marina Hotel & Hotel Apartment, said Dubai has a strong healthy programmes called hazard analysis and critical control point [HACCP], made especially for restaurants to make sure that quality of food remain the same without any effects during storing.

Compared to others in Europe and the US, statistics shows that service of food in Dubai considered one of the top rankings by offering a high standards and maintaining high quality trainings for staff serving and cleanliness of any kitchens.

Globally, Singapore topped in overall global food security followed by Ireland, the UK, US, Netherlands, Australia, Switzerland, Finland, Canada and France.


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Bushmeat hunting threatens mammal populations and ecosystems, poses food security threat « Thomas Newsome

Bushmeat hunting threatens mammal populations and ecosystems, poses food security threat « Thomas Newsome

Below is a copy of the press release for our new paper titled:

“Bushmeat hunting and extinction risk to the world’s mammals”

You can view the paper HERE and links to media HERE including a feature article in Science

Contact: Nick Houtman, 541-737-0783,

Source: William Ripple, 541-737-3056,

Links to photos are at the end of this story.

CORVALLIS, Ore. — The ongoing decline of more than 300 species of animals is having significant environmental impacts and posing a food security threat for millions of people in Asia, Africa and South America, according to the first global assessment of the hunting and trapping of terrestrial mammals.

Species of large wild ungulates, primates and bats are threatened primarily due to unregulated or illegal hunting, according to data collected by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), a nongovernmental organization. An international research team led by William Ripple, distinguished professor of ecology at Oregon State University, analyzed data on the IUCN Red List to reach their conclusions.

The animals at risk range across the spectrum from large (grey ox, Bactrian camels, bearded and warty pigs) to small (golden-capped fruit bat, black-bearded flying fox and Bulmer’s fruit bat). Hunting endangers more primate species — 126, including the lowland gorilla, chimpanzee, bonobo and many species of lemurs and monkeys, than any other group.

Populations of other species are declining and similarly threatened: Javan and black rhinoceroses, tapirs, deer, tree kangaroos, armadillos, pangolins, rodents and large carnivores, all of which are hunted or trapped for meat, medicine, body parts, trophies or live pets.

Scientists reviewed IUCN data on 1,169 of the world’s terrestrial mammals that are listed as threatened with extinction. These animals represent 26 percent of all mammals for which data exist to determine whether or not they are endangered. The research team published its analysis today in Royal Society Open Science, a professional journal.

Forests, grasslands and deserts in the developing world are now lacking many species of wild animals and becoming “empty landscapes,” the authors wrote.

The researchers suggested five broad steps for effectively addressing the threat:

  • Laws could be changed to increase penalties for poaching and illegal trafficking and to expand protected habitats for endangered mammals.
  • Property rights could be provided to to communities that benefit from the presence of wildlife.
  • Food alternatives can help shift consumption to more sustainable species, especially protein-rich plant foods.
  • Education could help consumers in all countries understand the threats to mammals that are hunted or trapped.
  • Assistance in family planning could help relieve pressure on wildlife in regions where women want to delay or avoid pregnancy.

The researchers suggest that, to curb this overhunting crisis, more logistical and financial support will be needed from the richer developed countries. They conclude that only bold changes and political will can diminish the possibility of humans consuming many of the world’s wild mammals to the point of extinction.

“Our analysis is conservative,” said Ripple. “These 301 species are the worst cases of declining mammal populations for which hunting and trapping are clearly identified as a major threat. If data for a species were missing or inconclusive, we didn’t include it.

“Our goal is to raise awareness of this global crisis. Many of these animals are at the brink of extinction,” he added. “The illegal smuggling in wildlife and wildlife products is run by dangerous international networks and ranks among trafficking in arms, human beings and drugs in terms of profits.”

People across much of the globe depend on wild meat for part of their diets, the researchers noted. For example, they wrote, “an estimated 89,000 metric tons of meat with a market value of about $200 million are harvested annually in the Brazilian Amazon, and exploitation rates in the Congo basin are estimated to be five times higher….” Loss of these mammals could affect the livelihoods of millions of people, the researchers said.

Overhunting of mammals is concentrated, they added, in countries with poorer populations. As hunters find it harder to feed their families, it is likely they will switch to less preferred species, migrate or suffer from malnutrition and disease.

Not all wild meat is consumed for subsistence, the researchers noted. Much of it is sold in markets and as delicacies in urban restaurants. In 2010, another team of scientists found that about five tons of bushmeat are smuggled weekly in tourist luggage through the Charles de Gaulle airport in Paris.

Large carnivores and herbivores (bigger than 10 kilograms or 22 pounds) comprise a small percentage of all mammals listed but tend to be impacted more severely by overhunting, the researchers reported. By dispersing seeds and controlling smaller animals such as rodents, large animals have significant impacts on the environment.

The loss of large mammals could lead to long-lasting ecological changes, including overpopulation of prey, higher disease risks and the loss of benefits for humans, the researchers said. The scientists found that 57 species of even-toed ungulates (such as hippopotamus, wild yak, camel, marsh deer) larger than 10 kilograms are threatened by hunting.

Smaller mammals play crucial roles in dispersing seeds, pollinating plants and controlling insects. The largest group of mammals under 1 kilogram (about 2 pounds) threatened by hunting is comprised of 27 species of bats.

Ripple has led international collaborations to analyze the status and ecological effects of large animals. Co-authors on this project include researchers at Oregon State University, Stanford University, the University of California Santa Barbara and universities in Gabon, the U.K., Sweden, South Africa, Brazil and Australia.

Editor: Photos of some of the animals mentioned in this story are available on Flickr:

About the OSU College of Forestry:  For a century, the College of Forestry has been a world class center of teaching, learning and research. It offers graduate and undergraduate degree programs in sustaining ecosystems, managing forests and manufacturing wood products; conducts basic and applied research on the nature and use of forests; and operates 14,000 acres of college forests.

How to Check Status of FSC (Food Security Card)

How to Check Status of FSC (Food Security Card)


Telangana New Ration Card – How to Check Status of FSC (Food Security Card): Meanwhile in the year 2014 June when Telangana and Andhra Pradesh was separated they KCR government that is TRS government has planned to issue new ration cards in the name of Food Security cards that is also known as “Telangana FS Cards”, the head of the family in the new T.S Food Security card is the women member. The process was started in the month of January 2015. The head of the family need to apply for the new ration card (FS Card) and the will be issued as soon as possible, maybe in the month of April and May. You need to apply and verify for the Food security card in order the avail the benefits given by the Telangana government. Here are the full details, just continue reading on to know.

How to Apply for New Ration card (FSC) in Telangana State

  • Collect an application form from the ration shop. Or you can take the xerox copy of it from anyone.
  • Fill up the form with the head of the family as ‘women member’, as mother, just for the completion of the form.
  • Fill up all the details correctly.
  • Attach the xerox copies of Aadhar cards of the members of the ration card (as applicable).
  • Submit the form to the ration shop. In case ration shopkeepers are not accepting the form you can directly go the Ration office (as per your area and circle) and submit there.
  • After submission, you will be given an acknowledgment slip, keep it with you.

Now if you have completed the above process now it’s time for verification, and if you have any type of editing or anything else you can do it in this step. Here you will know how the check the status of your new ration card. At the Ration office, they will be having the Login option as per the ration shops and they will be having access to edit, delete and add. You just need to show the originals of your Aadhar Cards in order to complete the process you want. It is so simple to verify or check the Food security card status, you just need follow the below steps correctly-check the ‘Application Form’.

How to Verify for Food Security Card (FSC Telangana):

  • After the visit, you need to select the district.
  • You will be prompt to next option to choose radio button.
  • After selecting your district than enter the Aadhar card number of the women head of the can even enter the old ration card number also.
  • We suggest you to enter the old ration card so that you can check the details of the members.
  • If you found “Approved by MRO” in the upper right application status than your new ration card will be approved.
  • Check the details of the members, all the members should be approved. If it is ‘Temporarily approved’ or reject than immediately go to the Ration office as per your circle.
  • Show your original Aadhar cards to them than they will verify it.

Final Steps for the FSC Card:

  • If everything is perfect than submit your xerox copy of Aadhar card of the head of the family (women) with the application status (as shown in the above image) to the ration card shopkeeper.
  • If you find any mistakes or any issue than contact and visit the ration card office immediately with the original documents like Aadhar cards of all family members and previous ration card with the electricity bill (not less than 3 months old)

The Telangana government will issue the new ration cards (Food security cards) as soon as possible in the month of April or May. If you have any doubt feel free to comment below. The procedure is kind simple, try to do it yourself instead of approaching the middlemen or agents as it would save your time, money as well as would be useful for you to gain knowledge also. If you have any issues to check then do comment here, we will let you the procedure in the easier manner also.


    I have old Ration card number WAP167_____087 (few number removed for some reasons), and Food security card number EDZ277_____3673 (few number removed for some reasons). Last 2-3 years before, ration dealer not issue regular Ration Items. Every time say’s Ration is not available now. you come after 1 week. Like this after 2 months he said, your card is laps. you go office circle no.1, and solve the problem. I was went office 4-5-times, but nobody co-operate in that office till now. Please co-operate me.

  • Kiran says:

    DearSir ,
    My name is Kiran I have pink card but I need white card my pink card is not working long time ihave apply 2 to3 time but I have not received any answer so please co operate me to get white card .

  • Srinivas says:

    They r saying ration card application will done at mee seva center in mee seva center they are not giving correct information plz help me

    • Arunraj says:

  • Rajitha says:

    My Name is Rajitha.I applied for new ration card on 01-05-18.But when i am searching application status its not showing.Pls suggest me sir.

    • Arunraj says:

      Check the application status in fsc site

  • Devender says:

    I have applied for new card, it is showing status as PENDING AT ACD. What does it mean? Can you expplain

  • K Sateesh says:

    I have applied new ration card status showing PENDING AT ACD how many daus take to approve and pick up the card

  • Srinivas says:

    My application status is ‘Rejected by DSO’, Could some one clarify what is the meaning of it ?, Where to go to move this status to next step.

Leave a Comment X

Food Security Rests on Trade by Angel Gurría & José Graziano da Silva

Food Security Rests on Trade by Angel Gurría & José Graziano da Silva

PARIS – From farm to fork, the international community is facing growing challenges in eradicating hunger and malnutrition. And yet while some parts of the world are obviously better endowed than others in terms of climate, soil, water, and geography, there is plenty of food to go around. So why is food insecurity a problem for so many people in so many countries?

What is missing are conditions ensuring that healthy and nutritious food can reach those who need it. Surplus countries need to be in a position to supply deficit countries, and all the more so now that climate change is undermining the conditions for food production in many parts of the world.

Simply put, ensuring that all households have access to the quantity, quality, and variety of nutritious foods that are necessary for a healthy and fulfilling life requires open, predictable, non-discriminatory, and fair trade. And that, in turn, can only be assured by the global rules agreed upon at the World Trade Organization – rules that have already underpinned a 270% increase in global trade in food and agriculture products since 1996.

To be sure, the current global trade system is not free of problems, and some countries do not always play by the rules. Moreover, there are important gaps with respect to disciplining export restrictions (which are meant to reduce uncertainties for import-dependent countries) as well as market-distorting subsidies and trade barriers. In 2017, the latter amounted to $330 billion worldwide. Trade rules need to be updated to reflect the market and policy shifts that have occurred – particularly the increasing importance of emerging economies – since the WTO was established in 1995.

Critically, we need to ensure that agricultural trade reforms are on the agenda. Such reforms should be part of a larger integrated strategy that includes a range of other domestic policies and investments (backed by international assistance where needed). The goal should be to ensure that more people can benefit from new opportunities in the global economy, and that help is available for those who need it most.

The international community needs to do three things to harness the benefits of trade in food and agriculture products. First, governments should help farmers (especially family farmers) become more efficient. That means investing in infrastructure (including digital) and education, enforcing land registration and property rights, and supporting research to preserve scarce resources, combat climate change, and improve sustainability and resilience to shocks. Each is a necessary ingredient for enabling farmers to earn a decent living. But they might not prove sufficient. In many cases, governments will also need to design food-security programs such as social-insurance schemes and direct transfers that target the poor.

Featuring commentaries by Joseph Stiglitz, Sri Mulyani Indrawati, Angus Deaton, Célestin Monga, Jean-Claude Juncker, and other leading thinkers. Now available for pre-order.

The second task for governments is to move away from market-distorting, environmentally damaging interventions in the agricultural sector. Many governments try to improve farmers’ incomes by setting high prices domestically and erecting trade barriers to keep out imports. But such measures ultimately raise prices for consumers, aggravate resource pressures, undermine biodiversity, and contribute to an increase in greenhouse-gas emissions.

Finally, governments need to anchor these reforms in global rules so that everyone can have confidence that domestic measures will stick. Whatever shape they take, international rules should be written in such a way that they encourage and reward good national-level policies and investments in agriculture.

The failure to shift agriculture policies more rapidly in the direction outlined above has been costly – to the sector itself and to the international community. Still, important steps taken by governments toward banning export subsidies show that progress is still possible.

Looking ahead, the top priority should be to tackle the outstanding issues with everyone at the table, leaving taboos at the door. Policymakers should give a fresh look to domestic support in light of current market and policy conditions. Moreover, we need to improve market access, and convince countries to commit to a stronger enforcement regime for export-competition issues and export restrictions.

Eradicating hunger, ending food insecurity, and ensuring sustainability are global priorities that call for collective action. We need to strengthen, not weaken, international cooperation. The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization and the OECD will both continue to support efforts at the WTO to facilitate trade in food and agricultural goods. And we will intensify our efforts to help countries enact the policies they need for inclusive productivity growth and food security for all.


Renewable energy to enhance food security

Renewable energy to enhance food security

Many developing countries lose 30-40% harvest due to lack of storage facilities reported , in GulfNews of November 17, 2018 on Adnan Z Ameen, director-general of IRENA, (pictured above, courtesy IRENA Image Credit. 

Renewable energy to enhance food security across world

Abu Dhabi: Adoption of renewable energy will help ensure food security across the globe, apart from fighting the climate change, a top official of the Abu Dhabi-based International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) said here on Tuesday.

“Many developing countries lose 30 to 40 per cent of agricultural harvest due to lack of storage and processing facilities in rural areas,” said Adnan Z. Ameen, director-general of Irena on the side-lines of the 18th meeting of the agency’s Council, one of Irena’s two governing bodies.

He said renewable energy could power such facilities to avert such food waste.

The governments and businesses have to take urgent action to check climate change, he said while addressing the Council meeting that has brought together Irena member countries from across the world and observers to discuss the global energy transformation.

“The recent IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) report released in October 2018 stated that urgent and unprecedented changes are needed to stop global temperatures from rising over 1.5°C.  The IPCC highlighted the accelerated deployment of low-carbon energy technology and energy efficiency as central to decarbonisation strategy and called for fundamental shifts in investments and mindsets — further highlighting the relevance of our work in the energy transition,” Ameen said.

Irena’s latest statistics released in June 2018 showed that renewable energy generation worldwide increased by 6.7 per cent in 2016. Further, a record 167GW of the new capacity was installed in 2017, the biggest growth ever and 8.8 per cent increase compared to the previous year. Solar and wind accounted for 85 per cent of this growth.

“Our database of 17,000 real-life projects representing some 1,000GW of capacity in almost 150 countries indicates that they are well within the cost range of power generated by fossil fuels. Irena’s Renewable Power Generation Costs report also estimates that, by 2020, all currently commercialised renewable energy power generation technologies will be fully competitive with traditional sources. This is a watershed moment for the agency. I cannot underscore how important these cost reductions are,” Ameen said.

At the recent Global Climate Action Summit in September 2018, almost 400 companies, cities, states and regions set 100 per cent renewable energy or zero emissions targets. This included California — the host of the summit and the world’s fifth-largest economy — and businesses with collective annual revenues of $2.75 trillion (Dh10.09 trillion). This presents a significant opportunity as more and more stakeholders are turning to renewables to meet the need for cost-effective long-term energy supply, the director-general said.

“During the Clean Energy Ministerial meeting in Copenhagen in May this year, we released the first analysis of the market and industry trends on corporate sourcing of renewables, which is now taking place in 75 countries around the world. We found that market for corporate sourcing in 2017 reached about 465 terawatt-hours, which is almost the level of France’s total electricity demand. And this momentum is growing as more and more companies are coming on board,” he said.

UAE contributes heavily to Irena’s budget

The UAE as the host country of IRENA is heavily contributing the budget of the agency, a top IRENA official said here on Tuesday.

“As of early November, we had received $16.6 million (Dh60.92 million) in assessed contributions, representing some 77 per cent of our core budget. Germany and the UAE have provided 100% of the 2018 core non-assessed funds in the amount of $9.66 million, and we obtained 100 per cent of the core non-assessed ‘other’ funding of $1.7 million for the biennium,” said Adnan Z. Ameen, director-general of Irena at the agency’s Council meeting.

Almost $10 million were received in contributions from Belgium (the Walloon government), European Commission, Germany, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, Norway and the UAE, he said.

Adnan Z Ameen, director-general of Irena

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Climate change threatens U.S. food security; crop insurance poised to remain hot topic

Climate change threatens U.S. food security; crop insurance poised to remain hot topic

Warm temperatures and extreme weather will thwart agriculture production and threaten U.S. food security, an executive-branch assessment on climate change released earlier this month found.

As a result, federal crop insurance programs may serve even greater roles when it comes to farmers’ risk management plans, industry officials say.

White House assessment warns that climate change means more than drought for agribusiness“

“If that does come into play, I think that just certifies even further that crop insurance will remain as a very, very valuable tool,” said Doug Yoder, senior director of affiliate and risk management for the Illinois Farm Bureau.

Put together by hundreds of the world’s leading experts, the National Climate Assessment outlined how climate change will affect the economic, environmental and general well-being of the United States.

In a section focused on agriculture, the assessment reported that climate change will cause many regions throughout the country to see declines in crop and livestock production. The United States currently produces about $330 billion in agricultural commodities each year, so even small declines in production could translate into billions of dollars in losses.

The National Climate Assessment, released earlier in May, outlined how climate change will affect the $330 billion a year agriculture industry.

Additionally, the assessment reported that climate change will boost optimal conditions for weeds, pests and other diseases, making it increasingly difficult to successfully farm.

“Climate disruptions to agricultural production have increased in the past 40 years and are projected to increase over the next 25 tears,” stated the 1,300-page assessment.

Yet, a Government Accountability Office report released in February last year found that federal crop insurance programs, which protect farmers when nature devastates their crops or when market prices diminish their returns, are not “well suited” to adjust to climate challenges.

“Agencies responsible for the nation’s two key federal insurance programs had done little to develop the kind of information needed to understand their long-term exposure to climate change,” the report stated.

In the 2012 drought year, federal crop insurance data show that U.S. farmers and ranchers received a total of more than $17.4 billion in insurance payouts, also known as indemnities.

That total was about $6 billion more than the previous year.

Farmers paid more than $11.1 billion in insurance premiums in 2012. However, the government subsidized more than half of that amount.

The Environmental Protection Agency predicted that climate change is particularly likely to increase the number of 2012-type droughts in the Midwest.

Considering the location of the nation’s Corn Belt, which stretches across the heart of the country from Iowa to Indiana, that could add up to even more crop insurance costs for the government.

Illinois farmers received more than $3.5 billion in crop insurance payouts in 2012.

They received less than $45 million in crop insurance payouts in 2000.

“With the 2012 drought, one of the largest magnitude droughts we’ve ever had, we saw significant claims in Illinois,” Yoder said.

Despite warnings from the Government Accountability Office, Congress used the Farm Bill signed into law in February to expand crop insurance programs by billions of dollars.

Projections from the Congressional Budget Office estimate the Farm Bill will increase funding for crop insurance by a total of about $5.7 billion from 2014 to 2023. It will expand the programs by $74 million dollars in 2015 and then expand them by hundreds of millions of dollars each year after that.

“Crop insurance easily came out as the number one thing [Illinois farmers] asked us to fight to keep,” said Yoder. “I think that they’ve made up their mind that crop insurance is the cornerstone going forward of their risk management portfolio.”

The Government Accountability Office handles the investigation of federal waste and abuse.

Besides crop insurance programs, the government administers the National Flood Insurance Program.

Map: change in number of consecutive dry days

The National Climate Assessment reported that the annual maximum number of consecutive days with less than 0.01 inches of rain is projected to increase. The trend toward more consecutive dry days and higher temperatures will increase evaporation and stress water resources, affecting irrigation, the assessment concluded. The map above shows projections for 2070-2099 as compared to 1971-2000 under an emissions scenario that assumes continued increases in heat-trapping gases.

Shifts in climate change the geography of crop insurance

Besides the National Climate Assessment, data collected by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration show that global surface temperatures in 2012 were the ninth warmest on human record.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, an international research coalition tasked with evaluating climate change phenomena, also predicted that temperatures will rise by as much as 10 degrees Fahrenheit throughout the next century.

That increase would make summers in northern states such as Michigan, Wisconsin and Illinois feel much more like summers in Texas.

“If you look at global monthly temperatures, the last time we experienced a month that was colder than the 20th century mean was 1985,” said Brad Rippey, a U.S. Department of Agriculture meteorologist. “This is 30 consecutive years that we’ve strung together that have been quite warm from a global standpoint – and at that point, it becomes pretty obvious if you have some background in statistics that this is just not an anomaly anymore.”

Downtown Ackerly is a town in the heart of West Texas cotton country. If climate change projection hold true, future summers in Illinois could soon feel more like current summers in Texas.

Consequently, climate predictions and crop insurance data suggest that climate change will change where crop insurance money is going.

As northern regions get hotter, farmers will plant crops that were once ill-suited to their area. That idea is already demonstrated by the influx of North Dakota farmers that have only recently started planting soybeans.

Soybeans in North Dakota were virtually nonexistent before the 1980s, Rippey said. But as the state’s climate turned warmer and wetter, there was a dramatic expansion of the Soybean Belt into the state.

“Now we see on average something around the order of three and a half to 4 million acres every year devoted to soybeans in North Dakota,” Rippey said.

North Dakota insured less than 1.8 million acres of soybeans in 2000.

That number more than doubled to 4.6 million acres of soybeans in 2012.

Climate change threatens crop insurance costs; Farmers struggle with GMO seeds“

During that time, government subsidies to help North Dakota farmers pay insurance premiums on soybeans increased from about $7.4 million to more than $126 million.

Insurance payouts more than tripled.

“There’s a lot of criticism of crop insurance and how much it cost, and that’s fair with these federal budget deficits we’re looking at,” Yoder said. “But, when I look at the model of crop insurance, I really don’t understand why we’d want to mess with that particular model and put it in danger of not working.”

Food security in Africa depends on rethinking outdated water law

Food security in Africa depends on rethinking outdated water law

A new study has found that outdated, colonial-era water permit systems across Africa are unintentionally criminalising millions of small farmers who can’t obtain permits. This undermines efforts to boost farming production and meet economic growth goals.

The study examined water permit systems in five African countries: Malawi, Kenya, South Africa, Uganda and Zimbabwe. The permit system was introduced by colonial powers in the 1920s. They were designed to regulate water use in the interests of the colonial project by granting permits only to white settlers.

These systems established minority ownership of a natural resource that was vital for economies dependent on agriculture. African customary water arrangements were ignored and over-ridden.

These colonial style permit systems are still in use across the countries that were examined, and elsewhere in Africa. As a result, legal access to water through permits remains biased towards a few large users, such as large-scale irrigated farms, mines and industries, who are able to navigate the complicated and expensive process of permit application.

At the same time, customary regimes are expanding in informal rural economies, where millions of small and micro-scale water users invest in water infrastructure for self-supply and water sharing. Farmer-led irrigation development is the backbone of food security.

File 20181112 83567 uezcfj.jpg?ixlib=rb 1.1
A farmer weeding his maize crop south of Harare, Zimbabwe. EPA/ Aaron Ufumeli

The bad news is that permit obligations have expanded to cover all water users, even those using small pumps to irrigate a few hectares. Small-scale water users who don’t have permits are, according to the legal texts, effectively committing an offence which carries a penalty of being fined, jailed or both.

The micro-scale users who are exempted from requiring a permit have a weaker legal status than permit holders. So women who irrigate vegetables for family nutrition at their homesteads, for example, have no way to safeguard their water uses. They have to compete for water with large-scale users with permits.

There’s a way to address this.

The hybrid solution

A guide for African policymakers has been developed that proposes a “hybrid approach” to deal with the problem. Instead of providing legal protection to a few, the approach recognises water uses governed by customary laws at equal legal standing as permits.

This is a suitable way for small-scale water users to invest in infrastructure and solve water sharing conflicts. And prioritisation of water uses that’s aligned with national goals and constitutional commitments protects the most vulnerable.

This approach is administratively lean. By targeting existing permits to regulate large-scale water users and integrating this with alternative arrangements for small-scale users, the administrative burdens that disadvantage many under the current systems can be overcome.

Collective permits where possible and appropriate would also be effective. This could preserve customary arrangements and protect local small-scale water users. It could overcome the bureaucratic hurdles faced by small scale users and lessen the burden on governments to implement individual permit systems.

A system built for purpose

In practice, a hybrid approach to regulating water use is already in use because water authorities lack the resources to raise awareness and to process and enforce millions of permits.

In Uganda, they refer to this practical focus on large-scale water users as the “20-80” practice. It focuses on the 20% of water users that use 80% of the water. In Kenya, targeted permitting has been formalised. Water users are categorised from A to D, depending on the impact their water use has, and they are regulated accordingly. However, the legal protection for small-scale users still remains unaddressed.

Ending hunger on the continent calls for a rethink of current water rights systems, and the implementation of systems built for purpose that recognise, prioritise and protect the water use of millions of small scale water users.

Barbara Schreiner, the executive director of the Pegasys Institute, contributed to this article.The Conversation

Originially published by Barbara van Koppen Researcher, International Water Management Institute on GroundUp.

Policy Seminar: To Feed the World, Youth in Agriculture Required

Policy Seminar: To Feed the World, Youth in Agriculture Required

The world’s population is expected to reach 9.5 billion by 2050. and a 60% increase in current food production levels will be needed to feed everyone. Meanwhile, the average age of farmers throughout Africa and Asia is currently 60. So who will grow the food and build the resilient food systems necessary to sustain a growing population?

In a recent panel co-organized by The Hunger Project and IFPRI on Youth Required: Building Resilient Food Systems for a Sustainable World, development experts from the International Finance Corporation (IFC), the UN Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO), IFPRI and The Hunger Project discussed the complex challenges in creating more youth employment opportunities in agriculture, making food systems better able to face climate change and other threats.

“Mass education has brought the status of agriculture down…. I’ve yet to meet a farmer who is educating his son to come back to farming,” said Vimlendra Sharan, director of FAO’s Liaison Office for North America. Youth hear “agriculture” and think “hopelessness,” Sharan said, adding that there is one acceptable form of “arranged marriage” in the working world: youth and agriculture. But, he concluded, it is preferable that this be a “love marriage” in which talented, educated and trained young people view it as a desirable, remunerative career.

“Millennials are absolutely disengaged when it comes to what the Sustainable Development Goals are, and what global development solutions look like,” said IFC Knowledge Management Specialist Claudia Koerbler, host of Global Storytelling for Global Development. With over 3 billion people able to access the Internet, continued Koerbler, social media platforms create innumerable opportunities for “social capacity development” to take place. Citing an example of a Kenya-based mango farmer using social media to share his story and an India-based mango farmer responding with his own best practices, she concluded that these online tools can be active agents of change for engaging youth.

It was only appropriate that a youth farmer join the panel via video. Alpha Sennonfounder and executive directorof WhyFarm, stressed that sensitization to farming as a fulfilling occupation must start during childhood. Through what Sennon called “agri-tainment,”—including a superhero character named “AGRIMan”—children are learning that producing abundant and nutritious food is heroic. For youth, Alpha said it is all about framing: call it “swagriculture,” and youth will take pride in getting involved.

Even if societies begin promoting and valuing farming as a vital occupation, it is currently not lucrative and barely able to achieve self-reliance for smallholders, Thurlow noted. But there is time to act with today’s large cohort of youth: “We have half a century to get Africa ready for retirement!” he exclaimed. Large foreign companies’ increasing interest in Africa presents tremendous opportunities for youth participation, he said. Governments and organizations, he added, must create policy environments that help in expanding youth opportunities, in coordination with rapidly evolving technological advancements and their uptakes by industry.

At the same time, some of the panelists underscored the importance of empowering youth while at the same tie ensuring that young people continue to work with the rest of their communities. “We don’t want to lose the intergenerational component,” Costello said. “We still need the youth to not work exclusively among themselves, but to be working intergenerationally with the elders, with their policymakers, with older people who may currently be farmers or have jobs that could break into the agricultural sector.”

According to the panel, countries are in dire need of either overhauling or implementing existing policies that will make farming more profitable: social protection, access to credit, insurance and land, regulated prices and trade systems. Expanding market chains and opportunities in agriculture requires private sector investment and incentivizing policies. Sharan added that development professionals must do away with the fear of working with the private sector and instead strategize about how to develop effective partnerships.

We need to build out linkages between agriculture and other sectors, make children aware of food systems, and make agricultural technologies more affordable for smallholder farmers, panelists concluded, with Thurlow summing it up simply as, “we need less panic and more action.”

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