Topic: food and agriculture

Helping farmers see their climate future: The Two Degrees Up project

How do you help farmers prepare for climate change? Current climate models, while improving, are still too general and full of caveats and uncertainties to give exact farm-by-farm predictions on temperature, rainfall etc. But if you’re a farmer, you need to think ahead, for example, when deciding whether to plant crops like coffee, which can […]

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On Al Jazeera's sofa with David Frost and Carl Lewis

Working for an NGO can be pretty routine sometimes – meetings, papers, teleconferences. And then the press office phones up and asks ‘would you mind going on Al Jazeera to discuss the food price crisis with Sir David Frost and Carl Lewis?’ Hell yeah. For those of you who are too young to remember, Carl […]

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Small farmers in development: a great new overview

I’ve known Sophia Murphy of the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy for over a decade, since we worked together on the launch of the (still uncompleted) Doha Trade Round, and I’m a big fan. She has consistently been one of the most thoughtful and nuanced commentators on agricultural in general and the role of […]

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African public opinion on food security and the MDGs

I heard a really interesting presentation by Andrew Rzepa of the Gallup opinion poll company recently, sampling public views in 2009 in 18 Sub-Saharan African countries with the following questions: · Could you please rank the following elements on this card in order of importance for you as an individual? 1 being the most important and […]

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The new Future of Food and Farming Report: excellent diagnosis; patchy cure; no power and politics

I attended the launch at the UK Treasury this week of The Future of Food and Farming: Challenges and Choices for Global Sustainability. It’s a high level UK government report from some top scientists, and should have significant influence over the next few years on much of the terrain Oxfam will be exploring in its […]

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The Upside of High Food Prices

Nice pieces from agricultural economist Steve Wiggins on the ODI and Guardian blogs, which I quote at length, because I think it’s an important correction to the discussion on the current food price spike. ‘In 2008 developing countries, and poor people within them, were hit hard by the price spike in the international cereals market. Once […]

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State of the World report 2011 – innovation but no politics

Yesterday the WorldWatch Institute launched its new State of the World 2011 report, (or at least the overview chapter, which is the only one I can find online – if people can point to an online downloadable version, please help me out here). The overall report website’s here, but as a confirmed techno-neanderthal, I found […]

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The food price crisis and the World Bank's blind spots

World Bank President Robert Zoellick, or at least his press team, responded promptly to last week’s concerns on a new food price spike with a comment piece in the FT. It’s fascinating as much for what is missing as for what is in there. On the plus side, Zoellick gives due priority to food as […]

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World food prices hit record high, so why no riots?

According to the Financial Times, the FAO has just reported that world food prices are now higher than their peak during the ‘food price crisis’ of 2008 (see graph). But the last spike was marked by riots in some 30 countries, global emergency meetings, new initiatives etc. Why is everything so quiet this time around? […]

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How fertiliser subsidies have transformed Malawi

Max Lawson is Head of Development Finance and Public Services for Oxfam GB When I lived in Malawi in 2002, the outlook was bleak. The received wisdom was that Malawi had a structural food deficit and for the foreseeable future would face periodic famines and chronic food insecurity. Our humanitarian department was thinking of setting […]

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The new World Health Report: Universal health care is possible!

Anna Marriott is Health Policy Advisor for the Development Finance and Public Services Team at Oxfam. The international health community had been long-awaiting last week’s launch in Berlin of the 2010 World Health Report. Its theme was how to finance health care to achieve universal coverage. Oxfam and others began with a stunt in front of […]

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How can the global system manage scarcity?

Alex Evans is on a bit of a roll at the moment, with an excellent new paper on ‘Globalization and Scarcity: Multilateralism for a World with Limits’. It’s a great summary of the problems created by the threat of scarcity of food, land, water, energy, and ‘airspace’ (for greenhouse gas emissions). He confines his solutions […]

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