Knowledge for better food systems

Showing results for: Conventional agriculture

12 September 2018

The World Wildlife Fund has released a report measuring on-farm crop waste at various locations in the United States. During the 2017-18 growing season, 40% of tomatoes, 39% of peaches, 2% of potatoes and 56% of romaine lettuce were left in the field. Causes of waste at the farm stage include strict quality standards, damage due to weather, variable consumption patterns and unpredictable labour supply. Some growers pointed out, however, that the nutrients in on-farm waste food are almost always recycled, e.g. as animal feed or by ploughing the waste back into the field.

Image: CIAT, A bunch of avocados grown by a smallholder farmer near Palmira, southwestern Colombia, Wikimedia Commons, Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic
17 July 2018

Smallholders with farms under two hectares produce 28–31% of all crops and 30–34% of all food supply on 24% of the world’s agricultural land, according to a new paper. This contrasts with common claims that smallholders produce 70–80% of the world’s food. The paper also finds that, relative to larger farms, farms under two hectares have greater crop species diversity, allocate less of their crop outputs towards feed and processing and are important suppliers of fruit, pulses, roots and tubers.

Image: Nazmulhuqrussell, Floating Agricultural Field in Bangladesh, Wikimedia Commons, Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported
26 May 2018

The FAO runs the Globally Important Agricultural Heritage Systems programme, which documents and protects traditional farming methods and systems from around the world. Systems included in the programme include agroforestry in northern Tanzania, floating gardens in Bangladesh and rice terraces in the Philippines.

15 May 2018

This book, by Henry Buller and Emma Roe, examines issues of animal welfare in the food supply chain. Topics include the care of farm animals, the ethics of using welfare as a marketing tool and the links between globalisation of farm animal welfare.

Image: Aqua Mechanical, Tractor Fertilize Field Pesticide And Insecticide, Flickr, Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic
26 March 2018

This article examines the toxicity of ‘adjuvants’ in pesticides. Commercial pesticide formulations contain the active ingredient and various other chemicals - adjuvants - such as surfactants, antifoaming agents, preservatives, solvents and dyes. Adjuvants are generally neglected by health risk assessments of pesticides in the United States and the European Union. This paper uses the examples of glyphosate and neonicotinoids to illustrate that adjuvants can result in pesticides being significantly more toxic than the active ingredient alone. The paper calls for changes in regulation.

19 March 2018

Author Barry Estabrook explores the American pork industry in search of more responsible production systems.

Image: United Soybean Board, Corn Harvest, Flickr, Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic
12 March 2018

This article explains the technological changes behind the three-fold increase in global crop production between 1961 and 2014, i.e. since the Green Revolution. It examines the 58 countries that are responsible for 95% of food production and assesses the impacts of changes in land use, inputs and efficiency.

13 February 2018

This book, edited by Gaetano Martino, Konstantinos Karantininis, Stefano Pascucci, Liesbeth Dries and Jean Marie Codron, discusses different types of organisations within the European agri-food sector.

14 November 2017

This new book explores the current resistance to the corporate neoliberal agri-food regime. It theorizes and empirically assesses the strengths, limits and contradictions that characterize different forms of established and emerging resistance movements.

26 May 2017

This research from USDA’s Economic Research Service looks at trends in consumer demand for organic food since the 1990s and developments in organic production.

Photo: djfrantic, Bees on our Boysenberries, Flickr, Creative Commons License 2.0 generic.
12 April 2017

This paper in Biological Conservation argues that the role of pesticides in driving biodiversity loss deserves renewed emphasis, quantification and amelioration. The authors present their views on how conservationists should support integrated approaches, for sustainable agriculture and rural development planning, that simultaneously address food security, pesticide use and biodiversity conservation.

Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, Pesticide Spraying, Flickr, Creative Commons License 2.0.
15 March 2017

This Nature Plants paper by researchers from agroecological and agronomical research institutions in France used a statistical modelling approach to predict the effects of reducing pesticide use on the productivity and profitability of French arable farms.

16 September 2016

This book deals with past legacies and emerging challenges associated with agriculture production, water and environmental management, and local and national development. It offers a critical interpretation of the tensions associated with the failures of mainstream regulatory regimes and the impacts of global agri-food chains.

Photo: Flickr StateofIsrael, Agriculture, Creative Commons License 2.0
23 August 2016

Entering into the sustainable intensification debate, Johan Rockström from the Stockholm Resilience Centre and colleagues propose that a paradigm for sustainable intensification can be defined and translated into an quantitative, operational framework for agricultural development.

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