Since the 1980s, as rising seas and storm surges started pushing saltwater through the banks of tidal rivers and ruining their crops, rice farmers in Bangladesh, backed by the government, began shifting to shrimp farming. As Stephen Robert Miller writes in FERN’s latest story, published with The Guardian, “It was a way to adapt, and for a while it worked. Commercial shrimp, known as ‘white gold,’ has become one of the country’s most valuable export commodities.” (No paywall)
Shakuntala Thilsted, who spent years proving, and then promoting, the value of fish grown in backyard ponds to improve the diets of poor families in Asia and Africa, was the 2021 winner of the $250,000 World Food, the sponsoring foundation announced on Tuesday. In Bangladesh, her pond-polyculture approach supports 18 million people and turned the nation into the world's fifth-largest aquaculture producer.
Researchers are developing a new strain of genetically modified rice that contains much higher levels of iron and zinc, says the University of Melbourne. "This has the potential to reduce chronic malnutrition disorders that can be caused by an over-reliance on rice in the human diet," says the university.
The United States will continue its run as the world's largest cotton exporter during 2016/17 with shipments up by 26 percent from the previous marketing year, said the International Cotton Advisory Committee. Higher yields and a 20 percent expansion in U.S. plantings will assure an abundant supply for shipment overseas.
As China grapples with its massive cotton surplus, Bangladesh and Vietnam will take its place as the world's leading cotton importers, says the International Cotton Advisory Committee. China will remain the largest consumer, using nearly three of every 10 tonnes of cotton that goes through cotton mills in 2016/17.
The founder of a rural development organization active in 11 countries, Fazle Hasan Abed of Bangladesh, is the winner of the $250,000 World Food Prize.