Meat consumption in China has increased significantly since the 1970s and could climb further in the next decade, giving the country one of the highest per capita consumption rates in Asia, said a USDA report: "This trend creates new opportunities for exporters in the United States and other countries but it also poses food security challenges and environmental impacts."
More and more people were going hungry or lacking reliable access to food even before Covid-19 hit in 2020, and "the main effect of the pandemic was to sharply increase the deteriorating trend in food security" in low- and middle-income nations, said an Iowa think tank. "Most of the increase in the number of food-insecure people from Covid-19 in 2020 was driven by large Asian countries, particularly India, Bangladesh and Pakistan."
Unlike earlier incidents, Asian customers for wheat grown in the U.S. Northwest did not bat an eye at the USDA announcement that GMO wheat was found growing in the wild in Washignton state. "At this point there is no trade disruption and we do not expect any," said U.S. Wheat Associates, the export promotion arm of the wheat industry, on Monday.
Philippines officials are considering a request for a biosafety permit for so-called golden rice, which would allow use of the vitamin A-enriched GMO rice as food or feed and for processing, says the Cornell Alliance for Science. The biosafety permit would allow researchers to conduct human nutrition studies, the alliance said during the summer, and an application to allow cultivation of the rice in the Philippines "will be submitted in the future."
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.
Meat is significantly more affordable in America than it is in Europe, where prices are, on average, twice as high, and Asia, where many people can barely afford to buy it at all, says the 2017 meat-price index, released by Caterwings, a UK-based business-to-business catering service.
With Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to meet President Trump on Friday, the two largest U.S. livestock groups suggested the president "initiate free-trade agreement negotiations with nations in the Asia-Pacific region beginning with Japan." Separately, 87 farm and trade groups and agribusinesses wrote Trump in support of expanded access to Asia-Pacific markets, the region involved in the Trans-Pacific Partnership.
Farmers in Asia and Europe have destroyed millions of birds as they combat epidemics of avian influenza, says the Wall Street Journal. The United States lost 10 percent of its egg-laying hens in its worst-ever outbreak of bird flu in 2014-15 but this time, U.S. egg producers are enjoying higher prices as they ship eggs to South Korea.
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.
The UN International Labor Organization estimates 3.5 million people around the world work in forced labor conditions in agriculture, including forestry and fishing, says Civil Eats in a story on slavery in the food chain. "This means that forced labor has played a role in the supply chains of many of the most popular food and drinks."
Aquaculture is a vital source of food for much of the developing world, not the evil stepchild of wild caught fish, said a panel of experts at the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Sustainable Food Institute in Monterey, Calif.
"Extreme poverty, child mortality, and hunger all fell by around half between 1990 and 2015," thanks to the Millennium Development Goals set by the United Nations in 2000, says the International Food Policy Research Institute in its 2016 Global Food Policy Report.
Exports of U.S. pork are down by 17 percent for the first half of this year compared to 2014, due to the strong dollar and to increased competition for sales to Asia, says the U.S. Meat Export Federation, a trade group based in Denver.
Deputy of Agriculture Undersecretary Al Almanza told lawmakers the White House is likely to release in April a long-delayed regulation to put the USDA in charge of catfish inspection, says Agri-Pulse.
Production from fish farms will grow by as much as 4.14 percent annually through 2022 - faster than a forecast made earlier this year - and offering a chance of better nutrition for millions of people, especially in Africa and Asia, said a report by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.
Strong demand in the opening weeks of the marketing year and lower market prices are forecast to result in record exports of U.S. soybean meal, said USDA. It estimated sales of 12.8 million short tons, up 10 percent from 2013/14.
From the Aral Sea basin in central Asia to the San Joaquin Valley of California, 20 percent of the world's irrigated land is degraded by salt buildup, says a study by United Nations University.
Food production could shrink by 2 percent per decade for the rest of the century, pulled down by higher temperatures, shifts in rainfall and natural disaster, says a report by the Chicago Council on Global Affairs. It calls on the United States to include climate change activities in international agriculture development efforts.
The "Feed the Future" program, which combines private sector and U.S. funding with local leadership to spur agricultural development overseas, "reached nearly 7 million smallholder farmers and helped to save 12.5 million children from the threat of hunger, poverty, and malnutrition in just the last year alone," says USAID, the parent agency.