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Posts tagged "Food Security"

Not easy to watch. But a prelude to a major disaster in Africa…


VIDEO REPORT: An emergency at the horizon

UNICEF and partners are preparing for the worst of the nutrition crisis in the Sahel region of Africa, where 10 million people are already food insecure.

To read more about UNICEF’s involvement in the Sahel region, please visit:

North Korea does not have the adaptive capacity to buffer against climate-driven food insecurity while it is simultaneously weakened by energy shortages, economic decrepitude, limited horizontal access to information, and limitations of its geography. These trends are mutually reinforcing and likely to function as positive feedback loops. It would therefore be prudent to assume that increased exposure to climate change hazards is likely to accelerate underlying trends of state decay.
Benjamin Habib in his article, “Climate change and regime longevity in the DPRK (North Korea)”

"The administration had been poised to announce a significant donation of food aid to North Korea this week, the first concrete accomplishment after months of behind-the-scenes diplomatic contacts between the two wartime enemies, according to sources close to the negotiations. And, an agreement by North Korea to suspend its controversial uranium enrichment program was expected to follow within days, the sources said.

Suspension of uranium enrichment by North Korea had been a key outstanding demand from both the U.S. and South Korea of the North, which has tested two atomic devices in the past five years. Recent food talks in Beijing yielded a breakthrough on uranium enrichment, the sources said.”

Source: AP

Looks like there’s a big activist strategy session today with over 100 meetings by environmentalists looking to stop the Keystone XL Pipeline. Looks like most are online sessions and others are meet-ups. There’s a conference on Dec. 5th as well. Interesting times.

"Farm chiefs have a narrowing chance to diversify vital crops at rising threat from drought, flood and pests brought by climate change, food researchers warned on Monday.

The world’s nearly 7 billion people are massively dependent on a dozen or so crops that, thanks to modern agriculture, are intensively cultivated in a tiny number of strains, they said.

When climate change gets into higher gear, many of these strains could be crippled by hotter and drier – or conversely wetter – weather and exposed to insects and microbial pests that advance into new habitats.

“Farmers have always adapted, but the pace of change under climate change is going to be much greater than in the past. There’s going to be a real need to move fast,” said Bruce Campbell, head of a research programme called Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS)

“There are two sorts of changes that are going to happen. One is a gradual temperature increase, the other is the extremes, extremes of heat and floods, and I think they are already here. In the meteorological records, there are so many extremes that are being beaten, although it’s very difficult to pin them to climate change.”

The adaptation strategies are being published in a compendium book, Crop Adaptation to Climate Change.”

Source: Eco-Business

Restoring and preserving dry-land forests can help provide food and fertilizer on small farms and prevent the recurrence of famine in Kenya and other African countries, a research group said.

The destruction of forests and other forms of human-caused land degradation have caused more damage than drought, turning vast areas of once-grazeable and farmable land into near-desert, forestry experts from the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research said in an e-mailed statement yesterday.

“Deforestation and land degradation have hindered capacities to cope with disasters and adapt to climate variability and change in the long-term,” said Frances Seymour, director general of the group’s Center for International Forestry Research. Research carried out by the center in 25 countries shows that forests serve as an important defense against poverty, providing about a quarter of household income for the people living in and around forest areas.

Famine in the Horn of Africa has put millions of people at risk in Somalia, Kenya and other countries. The United Nations estimates that hundreds of people are dying every day, more than 13 million are at risk, and a third of Somalia’s population has been displaced.

Seymour said that dry-land areas are likely to suffer more frequent and severe droughts as the climate changes, and that protecting and restoring forests in such areas should have a more prominent place in the debate about global warming.


We don’t have a long-term reserve. We have a global food supply of about 2 or 3 weeks,
Eugene Takle, speaking on the world’s emergency food supply in case of sudden collapse. Takle is Professor of Agricultural Meteorology and Director of the Climate Science Program at Iowa State University.

Clinton’s subdued, serious speech on Somalia at the IFPRI focuses on sustainable agriculture. She demonstrates deep knowledge of the immediate crisis, implores regional governments to intervene, now, and implores al-Shabaab to step-up. Most interesting is her vision for the region for sustainable agriculture. Run Hilary Run? 

Bottom line: Immediate: U.S. has spent $580 million for about 4.6 million people this year for food, distribution, protection, health care, aid workers, and clean water. Long-term: The U.S. has dedicated around $3 billion towards building better agricultural practices throughout Africa. This second part, the long-term strategy for sustainable agriculture at very large scales, deserves more coverage. 

More: Crisis in the Horn of Africa | How You Can Help

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton delivered remarks on the humanitarian crisis in the Horn of Africa at the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) on August 11, 2011. Secretary Clinton discussed the ongoing international humanitarian response, as well as how the crisis in the Horn of Africa shows the urgency of investing in sustained food security through efforts such as Feed the Future, the U.S. Government’s global hunger and food security initiative.

Secretary… more »

(via statedept)

What’s interesting about this is that the State Dept is trying to develop a long-term fix, rather than a full-on hand-out. They’re developing a sustainable agriculture program with local farmers.

With Feed the Future, President Obama’s initiative on food security, we are working with the Kenyan government and smallholder farmers to achieve sustainable, long-term and life-saving agriculture development.” More below…

Dr. Jill Biden traveled to Kenya with former U.S. Senator Bill Frist, USAID Administrator Raj Shah, Assistant Secretary of State Eric Schwartz, and Special Assistant to the President Gayle Smith. At the Dadaab Refugee Complex the delegation witnessed firsthand the effects of one of worst droughts in 60 years and the results of the famine in Somalia. 29,000 children under the age of five have died in the past three months and more than 12 million people across the Horn of Africa are in urgent need of care.

About the Author: Dr. Rajiv Shah is the Administrator for the U.S. Agency for International Development.

Earlier this week, I visited the world’s largest refugee camp in Kenya, where thousands of exhausted and starving refugees have sought food, water and medical care after fleeing…

Oil is splitting Northern and Sudan and Southern Sudan, just a few months after both sides agreed to split into two countries. I’ve written about Sudan’s environmental, land, climate and natural resources conflicts many times, here (oil), here (food supply), here (deforestation), and here (land). It’s the next Darfur, which, ultimately, was a fight over land. 


Some 60,000 people have fled bombing in Sudan’s South Kordofan region near the north-south border, the UN says. Northern forces are accused of targeting the area’s pro-southern groups, as oil-rich South Sudan prepares for independence next month. US President Barak Obama has called for a ceasefire following the upsurge of fighting, to prevent a return to the two-decade north-south civil war.

(via alwaysinrepair-deactivated20111)

When the Indian monsoon failed in 1965, President Lyndon Johnson’s administration shipped one-fifth of the U.S. wheat crop to India, successfully staving off famine. We can’t do that anymore; the safety cushion is gone.
Foreign Policy’s The New Geopolitics of Food. A must read.


Maine Town Becomes First in US to Declare Food Sovereignty | Sustainable Cities Collective

The town of Sedgwick, Maine, population 1,012 (according to the 2000 census), has become the first town in the United States to pass a Food Sovereignty ordinance.  In doing so, the town declared their right to produce and sell local foods of their choosing, without the oversight of State or federal regulation.  

What does this mean?  In the debate over raw milk, for example, the law opens the gate for consumer and producer to enter a purchasing agreement without interference from state or federal health regulators.  According to the Mayo Clinic, a 1987 FDA regulation required that all milk be pasteurized to kill pathogens such as salmonella and E. coli.  The Sedgwick ordinance declares that: