Εμφάνιση αναρτήσεων με ετικέτα hunger. Εμφάνιση όλων των αναρτήσεων
Εμφάνιση αναρτήσεων με ετικέτα hunger. Εμφάνιση όλων των αναρτήσεων

Τετάρτη 22 Οκτωβρίου 2014

In fight against hunger, UN launches initiative targeting threat of desertification

 UN, 22 October 2014 – The growing menace of desertification poses a distinct threat to the world’s agriculture and eco-systems, the United Nations agriculture agency warned today, as it announced a new initiative aimed at curbing the spread of land degradation and building resilience to climate change.

The programme, named Action Against Desertification and launched by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) in partnership with the European Union and the African, Caribbean, and Pacific Group of States (ACP), will devote some €41million to bolstering sustainable land management across the world’s most vulnerable areas in an effort to fight hunger and poverty.


“Desertification and land degradation are very serious challenges. They lead to hunger and poverty, themselves at the root of many conflicts,” FAO Director-General, José Graziano da Silva, said in a press release marking the programme’s launch.

“But recent successes show that these problems are not insurmountable. We can boost food security, improve livelihoods and help people adapt to climate change.”

The FAO reports that more than 70 per cent of people living in drylands and other fragile ecosystems across Africa, the Caribbean, and the Pacific derive their livelihoods from natural resources. At the same time, an uptick in population growth and climate change has placed increasing pressure on these ecosystems, intensifying degradation and desertification and putting millions of lives at risk.

In an effort to thwart the costly effects of desertification in Africa, the Action Against Desertification will build on an already existing “flagship programme” – the Great Green Wall for the Sahara and the Sahel Initiative – which supports local communities, Government and civil society in Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, Gambia, Niger, Nigeria and Senegal with the sustainable management and restoration of their dryland forests and rangelands.

Two-thirds of the African continent is classified as desert or drylands and climate change has led to prolonged periods of drought; over-intensive farming and over-grazing have caused land degradation; and deforestation has turned once fertile land into desert in many areas.

On that note, the FAO-backed programme it will support agro-forestry while also incentivizing the creation of farmer field schools where farmers can learn about the causes of desertification and the best ways to combat and prevent it.

Meanwhile, in both the Caribbean and the Pacific, the new initiative will target the problems of soil loss and degraded natural habitats by helping local communities adopt improved sustainable land and forest management practices. 

un.org
22/10/14
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Τρίτη 17 Ιουνίου 2014

FAO hails China's success in achieving anti-hunger goal

Proper agricultural policies and reforms, and impressive increases in domestic food production helped China meet the first Millennium Development Goal (MDG), the chief of the UN's food agency says.

"China has already made outstanding progress to this goal, in part due to policies that support targeted investments in agriculture, reforms in the agricultural system, and impressive increases in domestic food production," Jose Graziano da Silva, director general of the Rome-based Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), told Xinhua in a recent interview.


On Monday, FAO awarded a prize to China, along with Chile and Morocco, for having met the MDG-1 target of halving the proportion of people who suffer from hunger by 2015, as compared with 1990-91 figures, in a special ceremony at the agency's headquarters.

According to the FAO, China reduced the prevalence of undernourishment from 22.9 percent in 1990-92 to 11.4 percent in 2011-13, bringing the estimated number of chronically hungry people down from 272.1 million to 158 million.

Graziano da Silva highlighted FAO's appreciation toward China for its steps of putting policies in place to address a potential contradiction between farmland and growing urbanization.

He highly praised China's policies of maintaining the current size of farmland for agriculture, setting a "bottom line" to contain urban erosion of land for agricultural production.

FAO was willing to work with China to further intensify agricultural production in areas of high potential and improve efficiency in sustainable ways, he said.

"Through FAO-supported training and knowledge-sharing programs, for example, farmers in developing countries are conserving and restoring nutrients to the soil, and making greater use of natural or low-chemical methods for processes like pest and weed control," Graziano da Silva said.

  • "Early trials show growers can lower crop water needs by 30 percent and energy costs of production by up to 60 percent," he said.
Meanwhile, the FAO chief also voiced hope China would continue to make efforts to achieve greater success under the framework of the Zero Hunger Challenge, an anti-hunger blueprint launched by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon in 2012.

He praised a plan unveiled by the Chinese government in January 2014 for rural reforms, further modernization of agriculture, and improvement of farmers' incomes.

"The government has outlined a number of measures to accomplish these objectives. These include speeding up the transfer of rural land, offering more subsidies to family farms and farmers' cooperatives, and supporting further research," he said. "The government has also listed ensuring the security of grain supplies and those of other major farm products as one of its priorities."

Graziano da Silva called for all efforts to realize goals set in the Zero Hunger Challenge, which will lead to a food secure and sustainable future.

"Reaching and maintaining such standards will require the involvement of every facet of society, including the government, businesses, researchers and scientists, local communities and families," he said. 

Sources: Xinhua - china.org.cn - globaltimes.cn
17/6/14

Τρίτη 18 Μαρτίου 2014

FAO: 'Revolution' in Agriculture Vital to Meet Food Targets




Targeting devloping countries

Since then in Asia and the Pacific, food production has risen by 300 percent, although it has come at an environmental cost.

Hiroyuki Konuma, FAO assistant director general and Asia Pacific regional representative, said the challenge of lifting food production further will be especially acute for developing countries.

"We estimate that by 2050 the world needs to increase food production by 60 percent that will meet the demand at that time," said Konuma. "This is worldwide. But when we look at only developing countries, we estimate a 77 percent increase is needed -- it's a more important fear because 98 percent of worldwide population increase will be happening in developing countries."

Konuma said access to arable land is a key problem. In the Asia Pacific, most land is already fully exploited, while in regions such as China, land for agriculture is already on the decline. Also, regional and global water resources are declining amid signs of increasing water scarcity.

But Konuma is optimistic the food production target could be reached given the gains made in the Asia Pacific since the 1960s.

"The FAO estimates theoretically we can meet this food production by increasing yield per acre [hectare], productivity growth, by agriculture research. Rice and wheat alone there are still yield gap that can be narrowed from the potential. We are now looking at only 60 percent in a 40-year time frame to 2050," said Konuma.

Agriculture production

At the same time climate change is already affecting agricultural production in landlocked Asian nations and rising sea levels for Pacific island states.

The most vulnerable land locked nations are Afghanistan, Bhutan, Laos, Mongolia and Nepal. Among the 15 island states at risk, the Maldives in the Indian Ocean was the most susceptible to climate change.

The FAO says 840 million people globally, or one person in eight, still suffer from chronic hunger. More than 30 percent, or more than two billion people, suffer from other nutrient deficiencies.

FAO's Konuma said the poor are especially vulnerable.

"It's not really a matter of production or supply sides - it's access issues - poor people in particular, and those who are disadvantaged living at the bottom of society," he said. "They do not have enough access to purchase food that they need or even farmers who do not have enough land to grow food for their own consumption."

At the same time, some 1.5 billion people globally are seen as overweight, with 500 million individuals suffering from obesity, and more than 40 million children under the age of five years faced with weight problems. Changing dietary habits has also led to a rise in chronic diseases such as diabetes and cancers. 

FAO officials say a massive effort is required to end hunger in the Asia and Pacific, despite gains in nations such as Thailand, Vietnam and China. 





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Πέμπτη 6 Μαρτίου 2014

Weather, increased demand pushes global food prices to highest level in months

 6 March 2014 – Global food prices in February rose to their highest level since mid-2012 as a result of unfavourable weather and increased demand, the United Nations food agency today reported.

In a news release, the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) said its most recent Food Price Index, which measures the monthly change in international prices of a basket of 55 food commodities, including meat, dairy, sugar, and cereals, averaged 208.1 points. That is about 5.2 points, or 2.6 per cent, higher than the slightly revised index for January.


“This month's increase follows a long period of declining food prices in general. But it’s too early to say if this is a true reversal of the trend,” said Concepción Calpe, FAO Senior Economist.

“The weather is probably a major force driving up prices for certain commodities like sugar or wheat, but brisk demand is also an important factor underpinning maize, dairy and oil prices,” Mr. Calpe added.

The Rome-based agency also noted a spike in wheat and corn prices which it attributed to recent developments in Ukraine, “though the February increase in the Index cannot be entirely attributed to those events.”

Cereals averaged 195.8 points last month, up 6.8 points or 3.6 per cent from the previous month.

With some winter wheat crops already developing, FAO’s first forecast for world wheat production in 2014 stands at 704 million tonnes. This is a 1.7 per cent drop from the 2013 record but still the second largest crop ever, according to the ‘Cereal Supply and Demand Brief.’

The latest estimate for world cereal production for 2013 stands at a record 2.5 billion tonnes, an increase of 13 million from the February forecast and 9 per cent more than the 2012 level.

The rise is due to a significant revision in the estimates for Australia and also upward revisions to the figures for wheat and coarse grains in China.

Vegetable oils rose 9.2 points to an average of 197.8 points in February, amid concerns over unfavourable weather in Southeast Asia and South America, and buoyant demand worldwide, including demand for palm oil from biodiesel producers.

Dairy’s average of 275.4 points in February is 7.7 points higher over January. Meat averaged 182.6 points in February, up less than a point since the revised January level.

Following a three-month decline, sugar prices recovered, prompted by concerns of dry weather in Brazil and recent forecasts pointing to a potential drop of output in India. The FAO Sugar Price Index averaged 235.4 points last month, up 13.7 points, or 6.2 per cent, from January.

un.org
6/3/14
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Δευτέρα 7 Οκτωβρίου 2013

Global food prices expected to remain volatile in coming years, warns UN official.

 
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7 October 2013 – Although global food prices have recently stabilized, they are expected to remain volatile over the next few years, the head of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) said today, as a ministerial meeting on global food prices kicked off in Rome.

FAO Director-General José Graziano da Silva told the meeting, which coincided with the opening of the Committee on World Food Security, that this year’s session was taking place in a less troubled climate than a year ago, when ministers came together in response to the third spike in international grain prices in five years.
“The outlook for international food commodity markets finally looks calmer this year,” he told the meeting, which was attended by some 30 agriculture ministers. “Grain production has rebounded and higher stock-to-use ratios should bring greater stability to prices.”
And while the FAO Cereal Price Index is 20 per cent lower than it was one year ago, this is not the time for complacency, he stated.
“International prices have declined but they are still above their historical levels. And prices are expected to remain volatile over the next years,” he warned.
Mr. Graziano da Silva urged countries to take advantage of the relative calm to prepare for future market turbulence and find lasting solutions to the issues surrounding food price volatility. “If higher and volatile prices are here to stay, then we need to adapt to this new pattern.”
The two critical issues for countries to address are how to help poor small-scale farmers benefit from the higher food prices, and how to protect low-income families who suffer as a result of them, he said.
“The current situation offers an opportunity for farmers to reinvest in agriculture,” he continued, calling for a right set of policies to ensure that small-scale farmers have the means to take advantage of it.
The Committee on World Food Security (CFS), which runs until 11 October, opened today amid urgent calls to build more effective links between international policies and the daily needs of millions of the world’s most vulnerable people.
  • “The latest estimates signal there are nearly 30 million less hungry people in the world in 2013, compared to last year,” Mr. Graziano da Silva said at the opening. “And we continue to progress towards achieving the Millennium Development Goal hunger target of reducing by half the proportion of the undernourished population between 1990 and 2015.
“I see many challenges ahead of us, but also progress and successful experiences that we can build on,” he added. “We are convinced that working together is the only way forward.”
“Poverty and hunger go hand-in-hand and poverty runs deepest in rural areas,” said Kanayo F. Nwanze, President of the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD). “Let us not forget that rural areas are a key element of any new development agenda and global food security. Let us not forget that investing in smallholder agriculture is the most cost effective way for developing countries to tackle poverty and hunger.”
Ertharin Cousin, Executive Director of the World Food Programme (WFP), said the world needs a strong and effective CFS. “Together, we shoulder an enormous responsibility, but our burdens weigh nothing in comparison to the suffering of the 840 million chronically undernourished people depending on us to get it right.”
In a message delivered by his Special Representative for Food Security and Nutrition, David Nabarro, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called the Committee “the point of reference” for all who seek to achieve the goal of eliminating hunger through collaboration with governments, social movements, farmers’ organizations, business and the research community.
  • “Working with a spirit of trust and mutual accountability, multiple actors are collaborating to address some of the thorniest issues of food security: land tenure; climate change; food price volatility; biofuels; and responsible investment in agriculture,” he noted.
The week-long session will feature two round tables: on biofuels and food security, and investing in smallholder agriculture for food security and nutrition.
http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=46204&Cr=Food+Security&Cr1=#.UlLRO1OIzJc
7/10/13
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