Knowledge for better food systems

Showing results for: Global

While some of the food system challenges facing humanity are local, in an interconnected world, adopting a global perspective is essential. Many environmental issues, such as climate change, need supranational commitments and action to be addressed effectively. Due to ever increasing global trade flows, prices of commodities are connected through space; a drought in Romania may thus increase the price of wheat in Zimbabwe.

19 July 2017

International trade in critical commodities is growing, which, this report poses, is increasing pressure on a small number of ‘chokepoints’ – critical junctures on transport routes through which exceptional volumes of trade pass. Were a serious interruption at one or more of these chokepoints to occur, this could potentially lead to supply shortfalls and price spikes, both within and outside of the food system.  Smaller disruptions might add to delays, spoilage and transport costs, constraining market responsiveness and contributing to higher prices and increased volatility.

13 July 2017

This is a new book by Pingali and Feder on agriculture in the face of rural transformations across the world. A textbook which looks at agriculture and rural development from a variety of angles, it focuses mostly on the developing world. 

Photo: United Soybean Board, Soil, Flickr, Creative Commons License 2.0
13 July 2017

In this short perspective piece, researchers from the Netherlands, USA and the UK critically assess the COP21 4 per 1000 initiative, which seeks to increase global yearly agricultural soil organic carbon sequestration by 4‰ (= 0.4%, or 1.2 billion tonnes). The authors argue that as soil organic matter (SOM) also contains nitrogen (N), with a C-to-N ratio always approaching 12, this will require the sequestration of an extra 100 million tonnes of N per year, and they question the feasibility of achieving this. 

Photo: FoodandYou, 1-soybean-harvest-brazil-co, Flickr Creative commons licence 2.0
13 July 2017

This article takes a closer look at the telecoupling between China and Brazil based on their soybean trading relationships. Telecoupling is the term used to describe the interconnectedness or coupling of natural and human systems and it indicates that there are complex socioeconomic and environmental interactions over distances.

Photo: NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Flickr, Creative commons licence 2.0
21 June 2017

A new resource has been created by the Carbon Brief, which brings together data from a number of indicators that show the effects of climate change, showing trends in our climate, atmosphere, oceans, and the cryosphere (ice) 

21 June 2017

This report from the International Panel of Experts on Sustainable Food Systems (IPES-Food) looks at how cities are finding innovative ways to implement food policies. It focuses on five case studies of cities that have developed concerted urban food policies − to either ensure access to decent, nutritious food for all, to support farm livelihoods or to mitigate climate change. 

Photo: United Soybean Board, "Corn field", Flickr, Creative Commons License 2.0 generic.
21 June 2017

This article examines how big food companies contend with some of the issues involved in efforts to improve the sustainability of their raw material supply chains. It argues that these large companies often operate in long, complex, and traditionally non-transparent supply chains that make it difficult for them to exert real influence over producers. ‘Big food’ is the description given to the world’s largest and most influential companies in the food and beverages markets.

Photo: Simone Fenger, Cassava production in Agroforestry system, Creative Commons License 2.0 generic.
12 June 2017

In this article a group of American researchers provide commentary on how sustainable applications of integrated agricultural systems (IAS) can be designed to enhance all ecosystem services, without compromising the land’s resilience. The authors describe IAS as an interactive and synergistic resource transfer between multiple agricultural enterprises over space and/or time. 

7 June 2017

The EAT-Lancet Commission on Food, Planet, Health brings together 20 world-leading scientists from across the globe to reach a scientific consensus that defines a healthy and sustainable diet. The commission’s report will be published by The Lancet in Spring 2018.

7 June 2017

Abbreviated abstract
Rapid structural transformation and urbanization are transforming agriculture and food production in rural areas across the world. This textbook provides a comprehensive review and assessment of the multi-faceted nature of agriculture and rural development, particularly in the developing world, where the greatest challenges occur.

Photo: mrskyce, Nitrogen!, Flickr, Creative Commons License 2.0 generic.
7 June 2017

This paper proposes a solution to the problems associated with the high inefficiencies and indirect detrimental environmental impacts caused by reactive nitrogen use in agriculture.The researchers suggest that land-based agriculture could be bypassed and that Haber Bosch derived nitrogen could be used directly for reactor based microbial protein production. The advantages of microbial protein production are summarised, as are the opportunities and technical challenges for large-scale production. The authors emphasise that, aside from the scientific innovation required, the main challenge to address is obtaining acceptability from regulators and consumers.

1 June 2017

Using a political-economic approach supplemented with insights from human ecology, this books analyzes the long-term dynamics of food security and economic growth. 

1 June 2017

This information brief is included in Science Journal for Kids, a resource dedicated to sharing cutting edge peer-reviewed environmental research with students (and their teachers).

1 June 2017

The purpose of this policy guidance note is to guide policy makers at country level to identify entry points for assessing and addressing food security and nutrition (FSN) in the face of climate change. It  includes background information on how climate change and variability affect the agriculture sectors and FSN and how the agriculture sectors and dietary patterns contribute to GHG emissions. 

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