Topic: food and agriculture

Ending world hunger is possible – so why hasn't it been done?

Time for something a bit less wonky than usual. Yesterday the Guardian asked me to bash out a quick response to the new Save the Children report on hunger (which got amazing coverage). It went up on their Comment is Free site, which always gets loads of comments. Often they are very nasty, but this time […]

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Is doughnut economics too Western? Critique from a Latin American environmentalist

Apologies for the blog going offline yesterday – some server glitch which has now been rectified. On with the discussion on Kate Raworth’s new paper. Here Latin American environmentalist Eduardo Gudynas takes on the doughnut from a deeper green perspective for uncritically accepting western concepts of ‘development’. The discussion paper just launched by Oxfam, ‘A […]

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'The doughnut ‘compass’ is a powerful idea': Earth scientists respond to the doughnut…….

Some initial thoughts on yesterday’s post on doughnut economics from Mark Stafford Smith and Will Steffen. Mark (left) is Science Director of the Climate Adaptation Flagship at CSIRO, Australia’s national science agency, and is Co-chair of the upcoming Planet Under Pressure: New Knowledge towards Solutions conference in London, March 2012. Will Steffen (right) is Executive […]

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Can we live inside the doughnut? Why the world needs planetary and social boundaries

This post (and commentaries over the next few days) presents some important new thinking by my research team colleague, Kate Raworth. It summarises her new Discussion Paper, published by Oxfam today.  When crossing unknown territory, a compass can be pretty handy. Achieving sustainable development for nine billion people has to be high on the list […]

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Why seasonality is back and that's a good thing

A Welsh friend of mine once came back home after a long stint in Nicaragua. A mate picked him up at the airport and on the long drive back to Cardiff, Alun turned to him and asked ‘so, how’s the harvest been this year?’ His friend looked at him as if he’d gone mad. Which […]

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The realtime challenge: some cutting edge data-gathering from the UN (yep, you heard that right)

I’m still reeling from the overwhelming response to yesterday’s post (voting still open, by the way) and will respond in due course, but in the meantime, let’s get back to all that development stuff, shall we? One of the most striking aspects of exploring the human impact of the global financial crisis and food price […]

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Delivering Development: Book Review of a study on 'globalization's shoreline'

In ‘Whose Reality Counts’, Robert Chambers caricatures a typical successful career path in development as ‘tying down, moving inwards and moving upwards’. ‘In rural development, professionals gain direct field experience only early in a career if at all’. After the year in an African village (PhD, living with the people etc), or volunteering in a […]

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How can the UN get its act together on food and agriculture?

On Tuesday incoming FAO boss José Graziano da Silva (right) gave his first press conference, so I did one of those rabbit in the headlights interviews down the line for Al Jazeera on the role of the FAO (results below). Al Jazeera is rapidly becoming my favourite news channel – not just for its unrivalled coverage […]

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Food fight at the WTO: de Schutter v Lamy on whether trade leads to food security

The WTO ministerial (there was a ministerial?) was predictably forgettable, apart from the accession of Russia (the last major economy still to sign up) and a pretty outspoken attack on WTO boss Pascal Lamy (right) by UN Food Security czar Olivier de Schutter (below), who accused Lamy of ‘defending an outdated vision of food security’. […]

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Mobile phones and farmers – what are the benefits?

There’s a ridiculous amount of hype talked about mobile phones, but they clearly are having a significant impact on poor people everywhere in lots of unexpected ways. Last year I met a group of Ethiopian coffee farmers who had no running water or electricity in their homes, but each family had a phone. When I […]

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What's the state of the world's water and land? New FAO report.

This is encouraging. Alex Evans has been banging on for a while about the need for a ‘World Resources Report’ that charts the state of planetary resource stocks (not flows, like all the other reports). Now the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has done exactly that. The State of Land and Water Resources (SOLAW) […]

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So how many of the world's people are hungry? Dunno. Work in progress…….

Richard King, my highly numerate colleague, grapples with the confusion surrounding the FAO’s hunger numbers. Global hunger numbers must be among the most widely quoted and over-interpreted of all the indicators at development wonks’ and campaigners’ disposal. ‘One billion people (one in seven of the world’s population) go to bed hungry’ is a compelling headline […]

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