Focus on agricultural exports helps shields Malawi from world economic crisis
Malawi is one of Africa’s poorest nations. However, even amidst the global recession it has experienced strong economic growth, owing to a combination of World Bank sponsored debt relief, macroeconomic policy, and an agriculturally-driven economy.
Sources:http://www.imf.org/external/country/mwi/index.htm [see most recent IMF country report]
Angolan small farmers unable to afford fertilizer
The price of fertilizer in Angola has risen to $45 for a 50 kilogram bag, pricing small farmers out of the market. The South Africa Node writes that “The high cost is attributed to logistics, taxes and import duties, and the price of doing business in Africa’s largest oil-exporting country.” The destruction of infrastructure during Angola’s extended civil war makes transporting fertilizer costly and difficult. The high cost of storage facilities in port cities contributes to the expense of imported fertilizer; insufficient industrial capacity makes domestic production unlikely.
Angola passes law to spur biofuel production
Angola recently passed a law aimed at promoting domestic biofuel production. The South Africa Notes writes: “According to the Oil Minister, Botelho de Vasconcelos, the law will address Angola’s national energy needs and ‘preserve the environment given the diversification of the economy’ [sic]. ‘Bio-fuel production will also create jobs and build a renewable energy source and will allow regional integration and promote return of populations to rural areas’.
Reduced water resources in Limpopo River Basin threatens small farmers
A study by the International Food Policy Research Institute [IFPRI], found that water supplies in the Limpopo River Basin will fall over the next two decades, owing to reduced rainfall, disproportionately impacting small farmers who must compete with both commercial farms and mining companies for access to water.
Insect farming aimed at food security, GHG emissions, and "meat crisis"
The UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) is sponsoring a project in Laos to research insect farming as an alternative to meat/dairy. While many Laotians already eat insects, most catch them in the wild. Research will focus on reducing production costs, assessing nutritional content, and developing food safety standards.
The South Africa Node highlights the research behind the pilot project:
Sources:South Africa Node Aug 2010, pg. 4
Theatre for Policy Advocacy helps give voice to women farmers
A new program in Southern Africa uses theater to facilitate community dialogue about agricultural policy issues faced by women farmers.
The South Africa Node writes,
Sources:South Africa Node Aug 2010, pg. 2
Women depend on forests disproportionately and suffer forest loss more
Women are disproportionately dependent upon forests for their livelihood and suffer much more when forests are destroyed, writes Uchema Idoku:
"…Forests are the basis for sustainable and predictable progress and development.
Sources:Center for Democracy and Development, July 2010 pg. 3
The Double Damage: Gender and Deforestation in West Africa
http://www.unilorin.edu.ng/publications/ogunlade/pakistan%20journal.pdf http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSN06339904 Http://laazotenegra.wordpress.com/2009/10/16/top-3-myths-about-women-climate-change-its-a-great-big-bad09/
Salinity-tolerant agriculture could improve livelihood of rural farmers in Bangladesh
A new salinity-tolerant paddy species could increase productivity of coastal small scale-farmers, boost income, and potentially buffer against urban migration.
The Strategic Foresight Group writes,
Sources:The Strategic Foresight Group, Nov 2010, page 6: http://newsletters.clearsignals.org/SFG_July2010.pdf#page=6
‘Salinity-affected land brought under scheme’. NewAgebd. 06 February 2010.
‘The saline revolution?’ bdnews24. 28 April 2010.
‘Mechanisms of salt tolerance in crop plants and salinity management’. Rivers and Communities.
Blog 27 August, 2009.
Agriculture in Thailand needs structural/political support
Without support programs or policies, Thai farmers are getting squeezed by a host of social drivers, putting the profession itself under threat.
The Strategic Foresight Group writes that Thailand is witnessing a rapid decline in the number of farmers. The Strategic Foresight Group focuses on the lack for structural support for farmers,
Sources:The Strategic Foresight Group, July 2010, page 16: http://newsletters.clearsignals.org/SFG_July2010.pdf#page=16
‘The Future of Farming in Thailand’. Bangkok Post. 15 May 2010.
‘Off-farm Income and Education in rural Thailand’. The New Mandala (Blog). 09 December 2009.
NationMaster – World Statistics, Country Comparisons.
Construction demands increase sand dredging, threatening Vietnam's rivers and lands
A surge in demand for sand in Southeast Asia has contributed to illegal dredging in Vietnam's rivers, which has accelerated erosion; increased erosion brings increased landslides, which threaten houses, gardens, and fertile lands along the banks.
The Strategic Foresight Group writes,
Sources:The Strategic Foresight Group, July 2010, page 14: http://newsletters.clearsignals.org/SFG_July2010.pdf#page=14
‘Red River Sand Exploitation still a threat to local residents’. Vietnam News. 2 April 2010.
< http://www.vnnnews.net/red-river-sand-exploitation-still-a-threat-to-local-residents >
‘Sand dredgers leave families homeless’. Vietnam News. 29 March 2010.
< http://www.vnnnews.net/sand-dredgers-leave-families-homeless >
‘Dredged Mud Threat to scenic waterfall.’ Look at Vietnam. 9 April 2010.
< http://www.lookatvietnam.com/2010/04/dredged-mud-threat-to-scenic-waterfall.html >
‘Loss of Fertile Land blamed on Dredging.’ DTI News Vietnam. 16 April 2010.