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Sunday
Nov202011

Climate Change Threatens Food Production

Climate change is upon us. It’s here and it can only get worse. We believe that climate change is going to be more intense. The Philippines will be most vulnerable if the people are least prepared,” said Amelie Obusan, climate and energy campaigner of Greenpeace Philippines.

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Sunday
Nov202011

Climate Change Affecting Policymakers

With food and climate change, policymakers risk betting on the wrong horse 

Governments are ignoring a vast store of knowledge -- generated over thousands of years -- that could protect food supplies and make agriculture more resilient to climate change, says a briefing published today by the International Institute for Environment and Development. [paper attached here] 

It urges negotiators at the UN climate change conference in Durban later this month to give stronger support to traditional knowledge and address the threats posed by commercial agriculture and intellectual property rights. 

The paper includes case studies from Bolivia, China and Kenya that show traditional knowledge and local farming systems have proved vital in adapting to the climatic changes that farmers there face. 

This includes using local plants to control pests, choosing traditional crop varieties that tolerate extreme conditions such as droughts and floods, planting a diversity of crops to hedge bets against uncertain futures, breeding new varieties based on quality traits, and having systems in place to protect biological diversity and share seeds within and between communities. 

But the paper warns that government policies tend to overlook such knowledge and fail to protect farmers’ rights to grow traditional crops, benefit from their use and access markets.

“Policies, subsidies, research and intellectual property rights promote a few modern commercial varieties and intensive agriculture at the expense of traditional crops and practices,” says the paper’s lead author Krystyna Swiderska, a senior researcher at the International Institute for Environment and Development.

“This is perverse as it forces countries and communities to depend on an ever decreasing variety of crops and threatens with extinction the knowledge and biological diversity that form the foundations of resilience.”

The paper says that while modern agriculture and varieties may increase productivity, environmental stress and climatic variability mean the survival of poor farmers depends on more resilient and readily available traditional varieties.

“It is because of famers’ intimate knowledge of nature that traditional farming practices have persisted for thousands of years and overcome climatic threats,” adds Swiderska. 

“To sweep away all of that knowledge and the biological diversity it relates to in favour of a limited set of modern seed varieties means putting the private interests of commercial seed corporations ahead of the public interest of sustaining food and agriculture.” 

The paper says traditional seed varieties that have been developed locally are better suited to the prevailing local conditions – such as soils and pests -- even with climatic changes like drought. They are also cheaper.

“In Guangxi, Southwest China, most farmer-improved varieties survived the big spring drought in 2010, while most of the modern hybrids were lost”, says Dr. Yiching Song from the Centre for Chinese Agricultural Policy, Chinese Academy of Science. 

Similarly, in coastal Kenya farmers have gone back to using traditional varieties to cope with changes in climate. “Traditional knowledge, crops and resource management practices are an essential element of local adaptive capacity, ”says Doris Mutta, senior researcher at the Kenya Forestry Research Institute.

More important, with traditional varieties farmers can select and save seed themselves for the next crop season, and this is a more self-reliant and sustainable farming system for adaptation.

Modern varieties on the other hand have to be bought each season, depend on market availability, and are often protected by intellectual property rights which can restrict their use. They also require costly inputs such as fertilisers and pesticides, which many indigenous farmers cannot afford.

“In the last few decades, there has been a rapid spread of hybrids at the expense of local landraces for most staple food crops in China,” says Dr Yiching Song, of the Centre for Chinese Agricultural Policy. “In fact, modern agriculture, like hybrid seeds, has made poor farmers in remote areas more vulnerable by increasing their reliance on external resources.” 

The paper adds: “The capacity of the world’s poorest and most affected communities to adapt to climate change ultimately depends not only on traditional knowledge or on individual ecosystems, but on both — on the interlinked bio-cultural systems from which new innovations can develop and spread, and on the landscapes, cultural and spiritual values and customary laws that sustain them.”

Source- By IIED

 

Wednesday
Aug312011

Virgin Coconut Oil Health Benefits

Most people think of coconuts as a great source of sweet chocolate bar and dessert ingredients. There is much more to this versatile fruit than that, especially when virgin coconut oil is extracted, as Henrylito D. Tacio reports.

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Monday
Jan032011

Climate Change Brings a Bitter Taste to Tea Growers in Assam

Rising temperatures have changed the taste of the teas and reduced crop yields of tea-leafs picked in the northern Indian state of Assam. Planters are worried their markets will collapse as a result.

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Monday
Dec202010

Bananas: Food Health Benefits And Nutritious Fruit - Raw or Cooked

The banana is probably the most consumed fruit on Earth. It’s an easy snack and nutritious too – but it brings lots more benefits to your health apart from a fat-free energy boost.

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Friday
Dec032010

Farming in Cities Could Help Feed the World

With traditional food production under threat from climate change, we should switch from agriculture to cell culture, says Lucía Atehortúa.

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Friday
Dec032010

Africa Can Be Food Self-sufficient

African nations can break dependence on food imports and produce enough to feed a growing population within a generation despite extra strains from climate change, a study said on Thursday. Research into new crops resistant to heat, droughts or floods, better support for small-scale farmers and greater involvement by national leaders in setting policies in sectors from transport to education were needed, it said.

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Wednesday
Oct272010

Food Security and Poverty in Timor-Leste

Many Timorese do not have enough food to eat. Thin Lei Win reports on the food security situation in East Timor.

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Friday
Jul232010

The Importance of Water to Health

Of all the vital nutrients you need to survive, water is the only you simply can’t do without. After all, water makes up more than 60 percent of your body weight. Proteins make up only 18% while fats encompass 15%, minerals 4%, carbohydrates 2% and vitamins less than one percent. Find out how water is beneficial to health.

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Friday
Apr302010

Organic and Sustainable Australian Tea, Wines, Meat and Seafood for Conservation of the Environment 

Sustainability – to ensure our future generations have all the goodness we now enjoy - is an important consideration in the food & beverage industry, and Australia seems to be charting a resolute course in that direction.

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Friday
Feb262010

Health Benefits of Bitter Gourd or Ampalaya

Perhaps not too many people know that there are natural weapons against diseases which can be grown right in the garden or farm. One such weapon is the wrinkly green vegetable with a distinctive bitter taste called ampalaya.

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Thursday
Nov122009

Fruits and Vegetables That Help Fight Cancer

Prevention and treatment of cancer include surgery, radiation therapy (where a beam or field of intense energy focused on a cancerous area or organ of the body), chemotherapy (involves the use of drugs to destroy cancer cells), immunotherapy (where the body’s immune system is stimulated to fight against cancer), and combination therapy. In some instances, people suffering from cancer turn to alternative medicine that includes medicinal herbs to treat their cancer, instead of or in addition to standard treatment.

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Tuesday
Sep082009

Amaranth's Versatility, Nutritional Value for Humans and Ducks

Amaranth, commonly known as Chinese spinach, provide two to three times the nutrients of other leafy vegetables. Amaranths contain vitamins (A, B6, C, riboflavin, folate, and K) and dietary minerals (including calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, zinc, and copper. Its seeds contain lysine. Dr. D.H. Putnam of the Center for Alternative Plant and Animal Products of the University of Minnesota, reported that the leaves, stem and head of amaranth are high in protein (15-24% on a dry matter basis).

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Tuesday
Aug182009

Potato's Nutritional, Medicinal Value & Biodegradable Polystyrene Substitute

Potatoes are rich in several micronutrients, especially vitamin C. When eaten with its skin, a single medium-sized potato of 150 grams provides nearly half the daily adult requirement. History records showed that during the Alaskan Klondike gold rush (1897-1898), potatoes were practically worth their weight in gold. Potatoes were so valued for their vitamin C content that miners traded gold for potatoes. Read on and know more potato facts.

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Monday
Jul202009

Fighting Malnutrition Through Vegetable Gardening Scheme, FAITH

Mindanao Baptist Rural Life Center Foundation, Inc., a non-government organization teaches farmers in Davao, Philippones, a non-conventional gardening scheme named, Food Always In The Home (FAITH) that counters malnutirion and augments their income.

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Tuesday
Jun162009

Saving Gaia with Meat Free Monday

Apart from health reasons (yes eating greens is good for you), there are real environmental factors to consider in supporting No Meat Monday. According to the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), when incorporating the entire commodity chain, the livestock industry is responsible for 18 per cent of global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions – a bigger share than that of transport.

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Friday
Jul182008

Going Organic to Care for Gaia

Organic produce is the new cool, in spite of rising food prices. Not just foods; now, skincare, bodycare, babycare, even clothes and detergents are drawing a strong following, especially from Asia. People are increasingly opting organic not necessarily because they have more spending power but because they are better informed about environmental impact, care more for Gaia – our mother Earth - and concerned about health

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