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.
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."
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."
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.
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 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.
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.”
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.
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.
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.