Knowledge for better food systems

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24 July 2013

The UK Government has invested £160 million in a new Agricultural Technologies Strategy.  This Strategy is intended to boost agricultural science and technology and it is aimed at delivering sustainable, healthy and affordable food for future generations. Described by some as new “green revolution,” investments will be focused on developing cutting edge technologies and taking innovative products such as cancer-fighting broccoli from the field to the shopping aisle. The strategy includes £30m for four agri-science research and innovation campuses set up by the Biotechnolocy and Biological Sciences Research Council.

8 July 2013

We provided a video in one of our previous newsletters on livestock’s in the global food system. In this Q&A article from Scidev.net we get to hear responses from the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) director general Jimmy Smith to questions relating to novel livestock science. 

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2 July 2013

Following the release last year of the report on ‘Sustainable Intensification in Agriculture’ by the FCRN and the Oxford Martin Programme on the Future of Food, around 30 experts in this field, from academic, governmental, NGO and industrial organisations, were asked to give their comments on the report.

24 June 2013

This video from the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI), features ILRI director general Jimmy Smith talking on the role of livestock in the global development agenda.

The 13 minute film points out that 4 of the top 5 agricultural commodities by value are livestock, and that in Africa, 4 of the top 10 agricultural commodities are livestock which indicates the importance of livestock for the global food and poverty agenda.  The presentation also considers the challenges posed by rising demand for meat.

24 June 2013

The debate on land sharing versus land sparing is ongoing and we addressed the issue somewhat in our Agroforestry interview a while back. This blog post by journalist and author Fred Pearce highlights some of the recent years’ debate and presents evidence from various parts of the world, either in favor of sparing or sharing land.

24 June 2013

The UK’s Department of Health has launched a new, standardised but voluntary labelling scheme for displaying nutritional information on food products, the aim being to make make it easier for people to make healthier choices. The system when it goes on display will combine red, amber, green colour-coding and nutritional information to show how much fat, saturated fat, salt and sugar, and calories are in food products.

24 June 2013

Cassava is a "survivor" crop, able to thrive in the expected higher temperatures caused by climate change. An alliance of scientists has recently been formed to help promote cassava cultivation. The 300 scientists attending the second International Scientific Conference of the Global Cassava Partnership for the 21st Century, held in Kampala Uganda presented a new initiative called Global Cassava Modelling Consortium. The Consortium aims to help researchers share information on this increasingly important crop, to better understand the physiology of the plant and to explore avenues for protecting it from attacks.

18 June 2013

On June 8 2013, the UK government granted £30 million to HarvestPlus to develop and deliver six biofortified crops to several million farming households in Africa and Asia.

18 June 2013

This article in the Guardian highlights the potential of ICT (e.g. mobile phones, videos, radio) in providing agricultural knowledge and advice to farmers in low income countries.  The article concludes by saying:

10 June 2013

Good to know the Brits are tops at something. To read the full story click here.

10 June 2013

IFPRI has published an infographic showing the relationship between GDP and childhood stunting on the one hand; and between economic growth and overweight/obesity on the other. 

10 June 2013

The UK’s Daily Mail reports that the UK supermarket Tesco will monitor the healthiness of its customers’ food purchases using Clubcard data and then use that data to suggest ways in which people could make healthier choices. Although plans are still in the early stages options considered so far include offering vouchers for healthier products and promoting a better diet via suggested recipes. 

10 June 2013

This campaign has been launched to re-introduce the feeding of waste to pigs. It hopes to encourage farmers about the benefits of feeding pigs surplus food and calls for a change in European law so farmers can return to feeding pigs waste in the long term.

30 May 2013

This CCAFS blogpost by Timm Tennigkeit and Andreas Wilkes argues that agriculture is a major driver of deforestation, but offers great mitigation potential if managed properly. The authors’ recently released research report finds that emission reduction approaches can also be cost competitive.

30 May 2013

In this excellent Guardian article Myles Allen of Oxford University describes and comments on reactions to a paper that he and his colleagues published in the journal Nature Geoscience. Their paper gives a new best estimate for the amount of warming that is expected due to a doubling of GHG concentrations in the atmosphere. It estimates a warming of about 1.3˚C, somewhat lower than previous estimates of 1.8°C.

21 May 2013

Due to Nepal’s large energy deficit where supply shortfalls and interrupted power affect both household and the national industry, the country is now looking for energy alternatives such as using its growing urban and industrial waste.

22 April 2013

A company wishing to market its product as green in several Member State markets faces a confusing range of choices of methods and initiatives, and might find it needs to apply several of them in order to prove the product's green credentials. This is turning into a barrier for the circulation of green products in the Single Market.

15 April 2013

Louise Fresco provides an overview of historical and future food security trends in her speech at the 200th commemorative meeting of the Royal Swedish Academy of Agriculture and Forestry entitled Food, scarcity and abundance.

15 April 2013

A new 90,000-square-foot indoor farm called FarmedHere has recently opened in Chicago and is expected to produce 1 million pounds a year of organic greens like basil, lettuce, mint, and spinach. It is also expected that it will provide hundreds of local jobs. 

25 March 2013

Bill Gates seems to have entered into the meat question.  In his view it is simply not possible to feed 9 billion people on a high meat diet and the way forward is therefore the development of artificial meat and eggs. 

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