"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.”
"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.”
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.
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…
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.