By Worldwatch Institute
02 August, 2012
Worldwatch Institute highlights 12 ways to make the U.S. agriculture system more resilient to drought and, in the long run, more sustainable
Washington, D.C.––Soaring temperatures and low precipitation could not occur at a worse time for many farmers in the United States. Intensifying drought conditions are affecting corn and soybean crops throughout the Midwest, raising grain prices as well as concerns about future food prices.
The U.S. Drought Monitor reports that 88 percent of this year’s corn crop and 77 percent of the soybean crop are now affected by the most severe drought since 1988. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is providing drought assistance to 1,584 counties across 32 states and warns of increased food prices in 2013 as a result of corn and soybean yield losses.
Corn is currently selling at around $9 a bushel, a 50 percent increase from June, while soybeans are selling at a record high of $17 a bushel as a result of drought-related losses in crop yields. “The increased prices may benefit farmers in the short run,” said Danielle Nierenberg, director of the Worldwatch Institute’s Nourishing the Planet project, “but consumers will experience the aftermath of price increases in the form of more money spent on poultry, beef, pork, and dairy products.”
Nearly half of all domestic corn production is used as livestock feed, a trend that is now encouraging larger livestock producers to import corn from Brazil while smaller farmers must reduce herd sizes by sending more animals to the market. Most immediately, poultry prices are expected to rise 3.5 to 4.5 percent due to the animals’ more rapid growth and therefore more sudden response to higher feed prices. The price of beef is projected to rise the highest—-4 to 5 percent by November—-but at a slower rate, reflecting the longer growth period and higher feed requirements of beef cattle….. Read More >>>>>
Rio+20 Legacy: Sec-Gen Ban Ki-moon’s #ZeroHungerChallenge for a future without hunger! @zerohungerchallPosted: July 5, 2012
From the UN News Centre: Rio+20: Secretary-General challenges nations to achieve ‘zero hunger’
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon launched the ‘Zero Hunger Challenge’ at Rio+20, where all countries were invited to work for a future where every individual has adequate nutrition and where all food systems are resilient.
“In a world of plenty, no one – not a single person – should go hungry,” Mr. Ban said during the launch of the initiative at the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20) in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on Thursday night. “I invite all of you to join me in working for a future without hunger.”
“Zero hunger would boost economic growth, reduce poverty and safeguard the environment. It would foster peace and stability,” Mr. Ban added, calling on farmers, business people, scientists, civil society and consumers to join the challenge by honouring past promises and work together to put an end to hunger.
The ‘Zero Hunger Challenge’ has five main objectives: to achieve 100 per cent access to adequate food all year round; to end malnutrition in pregnancy and early childhood; to make all food systems sustainable; to increase growth in the productivity and income of smallholders, particularly women; and to achieve a zero rate of food waste.
Inspiration for the initiative came from work being carried out by many countries and organizations to end hunger, including Brazil.
The ‘Zero Hunger Challenge’ is supported by UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), World Food Programme (WFP), UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the World Bank and Bioversity International.
“Big problems call for bold goals. The Zero Hunger Challenge can help us mobilize political commitment, the first step to eradicate hunger,” said FAO’s Director-General, José Graziano da Silva, said at a high-level meeting in Rio de Janeiro today. “This is a personal challenge from the Secretary-General, but one that all of us should answer, as individuals and collectively. FAO embraces this challenge of a Zero Hunger World.
More than 40,000 people – including heads of State and government, parliamentarians, mayors, UN officials, business and civil society leaders – are attending Rio+20, which ends on Friday. It seeks to shape new policies to promote global prosperity, reduce poverty and advance social equity and environmental protection.