Knowledge for better food systems

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19 November 2012

An article in Insights, the magazine of the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), explores the complex issues of increasing livestock production and consumption. As consumption is flattening in the developed world, over the next several  decades  demand for meat will continue to increase in the developing world. The article also explores the need for raising livestock sustainably in order to mitigate negative impacts on human health and the environment.

19 November 2012

The most severe and extensive drought in at least 25 years is seriously affecting U.S. agriculture, with impacts on the crop and livestock sectors and with the potential to affect food prices at the retail level.

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19 November 2012

The Danish government has officially ended its tax on saturated fat just a year after it was introduced, and has cancelled a proposed sugar tax.

2 November 2012

We recently asked for more information on fishing and aquaculture and the following was passed along to us. These are now up in the Research Library.

25 October 2012

The Courtauld Commitment is a voluntary “responsibility deal” aimed at improving resource efficiency and reducing the carbon and wider environmental impact of the grocery sector. This includes action to reduce food and packaging waste.  Signatories to the deal include UK grocery retailers and manufacturers, and the initiative is led and coordinated by the Waste Resources Action Programme (WRAP). 

14 October 2012

The Hershey Company recently announced it will source 100 percent certified cocoa for its global chocolate product lines by 2020 and accelerate its programs to help eliminate child labor in the cocoa regions of West Africa.

14 October 2012

This is a very interesting take on rural food security from CGIAR guest bloggers, Matthew Fielding, Swedish International Agricultural Network Initiative and Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI) and Tom Gill, SEI. 

14 October 2012

Australia managed to pass a national carbon pricing scheme into legislation, which came into effect in July of this year. The “Clean Energy Plan” involves a temporary CO2-equivalent tax for three years, followed by an emissions trading scheme aimed at producing strong growth and low pollution.

24 September 2012

The EU is considering plans to limit crop-based biofuels to 5% of transport fuel. 

31 July 2012

The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) have launched the Biodiversity for Food and Nutrition Project.  

17 July 2012

A new FAO-led partnership is looking to improve how the environmental impacts of the livestock industry are measured and assessed. FAO and governmental, private-sector, and nongovernmental partners will work together on a number of fronts to strengthen the science of environmental benchmarking of livestock supply chains.

11 July 2012

There’s an interesting article in The Guardian about Sam Dryden, head of agriculture at the Gates Foundation.

11 July 2012

This is taken from CCAF’S latest e-newsletter.  CCAFS is the CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security, a partnership between the Consultative Group on International Agricultural CGIAR and the Earth System Science Partnership (ESSP).

19 June 2012

A new 'Farm Platform' has been launched at Rothamsted Research North Wyke in Devon, aims to help farmers to optimise productivity in ways that are sustainable, whilst at the same time understanding the impact of farming methods on the environment. 

19 June 2012

Natural Resources Institute at the University of Greenwich, is inviting people to subscribe to its new e-newsletter - The Resource, to keep everyone informed of its latest activities. 

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19 June 2012

According to figures published by the European Environment Agency, greenhouse gas emissions increased in 2010, as a result of both economic recovery in many countries after the 2009 recession and a colder winter.

Nonetheless, emissions growth was somewhat contained by continued strong growth in renewable energy sources. For more information see here.

31 May 2012

In the mailing on 15 May 2012 we highlighted this paper by Seufert et al, published in Nature, which compared yields in organic and conventional farm systems. The study elicited a great deal of media comment and in response the study’s authors have written this interesting piece which you can read here.

21 May 2012

The New Agriculturalist’s May 2012 issue focuses on ‘climate sustainable agriculture’ and features a number of smallholder projects focusing variously on soil carbon, rainwater harvesting, conservation agriculture and so forth.

9 May 2012

Mexico is the second country in the world to have to have instituted legally binding targets on GHG emission reductions.  The law mandates a reduction in CO2 emissions by 30% below business-as-usual levels by 2020, and by 50% below 2000 levels by 2050 (note that this is a relative target – the UK’s target is an absolute one)

13 April 2012

McDonald's has launched a long term programme to support British and Irish farmers, with efforts to boost the number of young people in the industry and improve environmental and animal welfare standards.

25 March 2012

This article in the Vancouver Sun looks at the work being done in Canada to promote local sourcing of foods in schools and hospitals  - interesting to note parallel activities in different countries.
 

9 March 2012

This article in the Copenhagen Post covers reactions to the Danish government’s proposal to tax sugar  in a manner similar to last year’s introduction of a saturated fat tax.

9 March 2012

This article in Science Daily is based on materials prepared by the French Institut de Recherche pour le Développement (IRD)  It argues that Brazil’s reliance on agricultural exports to drive economic growth is environmentally unsustainable and highlights the link between deforestation for cattle grazing, soy production on cleared land which pushes cattle further into the forest, and the sale of high-value timber.  The article states that government controls introduced from the year 2000 have scaled down deforestation from around 20,000 to 6,000 km² per year, but the threat of an increase in world demand is always just over the horizon, with implications for further deforestation.

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