If governments encourage climate-smart farming, they would see an increase in agricultural productivity and a sizable reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by agriculture, said a report by the World Bank and the IFPRI think tank on Wednesday. The report advocates a "repurposing" of agriculture policies and subsidies.
Marc Sadler, an advisor to the World Bank on agriculture risk and markets, told an Agrimoney conference that global agriculture needs "transformational change" to meet rising demand for food at the same time there is concern about controlling greenhouse gas emissions. Agriculture is a major source of the gases.
Some activist groups are abandoning the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil—a panel of palm producers, consumer companies, and activist groups that provides sustainability certificates for the industry—over complaints that it has not done enough to correct industry abuses.
As many as 28 million people would be pushed into poverty and global livestock production could fall by up to 7.5 percent if resistant bacteria overwhelm the healing powers of antibiotics, says the World Bank. The economic impact would be "similar to — and likely worse than — that caused by the 2008 financial crisis," but without hope of a recovery, says the Bank.
"Prized farms are at the center of heated political infighting in Zimbabwe," says the New York Times, with the tactic, used against white landowners in the past, now a lever in the struggle over succession of President Robert Mugabe. At the same time, political opponents are under threat of losing their land, the Mugabe administration promises reforms, including recognition of land ownership, to obtain financing from the international Monetary Fund.
Months after it assured protesters it would protect indigenous communities, the World Bank approved a $70-million loan for a massive agribusiness project in Tanzania and included a waiver of the need to consult with, and win broad support of, affected indigenous groups, reports the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists.
In a report released in conjunction with its annual meeting, the Word Bank lists three related food challenges - hunger, obesity and deficiencies in vitamin and mineral intake. "Despite significant progress, 795 million people still are not getting the minimum dietary energy needs," said the report.
In a piece that explores the dramatic expansion of palm-oil plantations in the rainforests of Indonesia, journalists Jocelyn Zuckerman and Michael Hudson detail abuses committed against the Batin Sembilan, an indigenous community in Sumatra that was forcibly resettled by the largest agribusiness in Asia, Wilmar International Limited.
The World Bank projected the portion of the world living in extreme poverty will fall below 10 percent this year, the lowest rate ever. In a statement, the Bank said the projections were "fresh evidence that a quarter-century-long sustained reduction in poverty is moving the world closer to the historic goal of ending poverty by 2030."
The World Bank has reduced by $20 million its annual funding for a global agricultural research network that it helped found 35 years ago, says the Hagstrom Report.
A global temperature increase of close to 1.5 degrees Celsius "is already locked into the earth's atmospheric system by past and predicted greenhouse gas emissions," said the World Bank in releasing a report on likely impacts in three regions of the world.
The World Bank says international food prices fell by 6 percent over a four-month stretch and are the lowest in four years. Lower wheat prices drove the decline, says the bank's Food Price Watch.
The World Bank's special envoy on climate change says global warming could disrupt the food system "potentially within the next decade," said the Sydney Morning Herald.
Monsanto Co, the giant seed company, expects to begin sales in 2016 of soybeans engineered for tolerance to a wider range of herbicides, says the St Louis Business Journal.
Ahead of the annual meeting of the World Bank, the United States is calling on other nations to contribute to a fund that supports local food production worldwide.