Africa

Rice prices are up as India restricts exports

The global rice market is still feeling the impact of India’s decision last August to limit its rice exports in the name of battling high domestic food prices, said two IFPRI analysts. “Rice-importing countries in sub-Saharan Africa have felt the greatest impacts, scrambling to find alternative sources even as global rice prices have risen more than 20 percent since India imposed its restrictions,” they wrote in a blog.

U.S. announces $2.9 billion in global humanitarian aid

With world hunger rates rising, President Biden announced Wednesday at the United Nations an additional $2.9 billion in U.S. humanitarian assistance, including funds to feed schoolchildren and expand food production. We’re “taking on the food crisis head-on,” said Biden in a speech that denounced Russia for invading Ukraine and called for action on global warming.

More locust swarms to besiege East African harvest

The harvest in Kenya is likely to coincide with the arrival of a new generation of desert locusts to attack the crops, said the UN Food and Agriculture Organization. Locusts also are swarming in Ethiopia and Somalia, said the FAO.

Greatest locust threat in decades in East Africa

Swarms of food-devouring desert locusts threaten food security for nearly 10 million people in Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia, said the Food Security and Nutrition Working Group on Monday, describing the infestations as the worst in 25 years in Ethiopia and in 70 years in Kenya. The group, which focuses on central and eastern Africa, said the locust upsurge threatens the coming agricultural season.

World hunger up, afflicts 820 million people

One in nine of the earth's population is undernourished and the global hunger rate is creeping up from the low set in 2015, said five UN agencies in a report on Monday. Hunger is most prevalent in Africa, at nearly double the global level, but on every continent, women are more likely than men to go hungry.

Scanty rainfall a threat to food supply in eastern and southern Africa

High temperature and inadequate rainfall are adversely affecting crop development in southern Africa, says the UN Food and Agriculture Organization. They result may be poor yields and heavier than usual infestations of the fall armyworm, which spreads in dry weather. In a special alert, the FAO said small harvests are "foreseen to intensify food insecurity in 2018, increasing the number of people in need of assistance."

Startup formerly known as Hampton Creek takes aim at malnutrition in Africa

The food startup that began as Hampton Creek is now known as JUST, and its newest product is a nutrient-fortified cassava porridge named Power Gari that it says is the solution to malnutrition in western Africa, reports the Washington Post. "JUST believes that its product will increase Africans' intake of critical vitamins and minerals by including them in a product that tastes good and is sold at retail in slick branded bags, unlike the fortified foods currently offered by development organizations."

Winter wheat is potential cover crop for Plains cotton growers

A simulation by Texas A&M scientists indicates that winter wheat is a feasible cover crop for cotton growers in the arid Plains, says one of the researchers.

Famine likely soon in Yemen if food imports remain blocked

An estimated 80 percent of Yemen's food supply arrives by boat, so the recent closure of its ports makes famine a likelihood across the country, says the Famine Early Warning Systems Network. Meanwhile, the UN says that warfare and climate change are driving up hunger rates in sub-Saharan Africa.

Researchers find stem-rust resistant gene for wheat

Researchers at the University of California, Davis, have discovered a gene that creates resistance to stem-rust — a fungus that threatens wheat crops in Africa and Asia and food security worldwide.

UN: A third of Earth’s land is damaged, largely from industrial agriculture

A third of the Earth’s land is severely degraded and 24 billion tons of fertile soil are disappearing each year, according to a new United Nations-backed study that puts the majority of the blame on intensive agriculture. “The Global Land Outlook is billed as the most comprehensive study of its type, mapping the interlinked impacts of urbanisation, climate change, erosion and forest loss," reports The Guardian.  "But the biggest factor is the expansion of industrial farming.”

Hobbled by drought, pastoralists consider putting down roots

Drought in the Horn of Africa has killed the livestock of nomadic herders and forced thousands of pastoralists into refugee camps, dependent on food aid. Authorities in Ethiopia, while dealing with the crisis, are looking into longer-term adaptations, such as introducing irrigated agriculture and small farms in the country's Somali region, "a land long known for just herding animals," says the Washington Post.

‘Nobel Prize of agriculture’ goes to Green Revolution leader in Africa

The president of the African Development Bank, Akinwumi Adesina, is the 2017 winner of the $250,000 World Food Prize for his two decades of work expanding food production on the continent through policy reforms, financial innovation, and modern farming practices. The award is known as the Nobel Prize of food and agriculture.

‘Unprecedented’ threat of four famines at same time, says FAO

Although global food supplies are robust, the world faces "an unprecedented situation" of four threats of famine in multiple countries simultaneously, says the assistant director-general of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization.

Trump seeks 15-percent domestic cut to pay for big military spending

President Trump would pay for his proposed $54-billion increase in military spending in fiscal 2018 by cutting domestic discretionary programs by 15 percent, said the think tank Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. "The president's proposal would continue a severe, multi-year squeeze" on discretionary programs such as education, job training, clean water, and medical and scientific research, said the think tank.

In South Sudan, 100,000 people face starvation in man-made famine

Three U.N. agencies said war and a collapsing economy have put 100,000 people at risk of starvation in South Sudan. An additional 1 million are on the brink of starvation, said the agencies, which warned, "The total number of food insecure people is expected to rise to 5.5 million at the height of the lean season in July if nothing is done to curb the severity and spread of the food crisis."

Drought drives up food prices in East Africa; armyworms a threat in southern Africa

Corn, sorghum and other cereal grains are selling at record prices in East Africa, where drought has shriveled crops, said the UN Food and Agriculture Organization. High food prices "are severely constraining food access for large numbers of households with alarming consequences for food insecurity," said an FAO official.

Rainy season fails in east Africa, jeopardizing farm families

"Damages to crops appear to be irreversible and rangeland conditions remain generally poor" in east Africa, following scant rainfall during the October-December rainy season, says the UN Food and Agriculture Organization in a special alert that describes support for agriculture as an urgent need. "Food insecurity is expected to significantly deteriorate by early 2017."

Experts say women farmers key to reducing global hunger

Hunger experts at an FAO meeting in Rome said that if women farmers had the same access as men to land, tools, and credit, crop yields would rise by at least a third and there would be 150 million fewer hungry people in the world, Reuters reports.

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