By Sung Lee
Today's top stories on global agricultural development and food security issues.
To Foster Food Security Support Women’s Land Rights, Care, April 30
Millions of people across the world suffer from food insecurity, but a growing body of evidence is uncovering one way to address this problem: land rights. A preliminary study of a land purchase program in the Indian state of Andhra Pradesh, which provided beneficiaries with plots of land of up to one acre, found that beneficiary households experienced significantly higher levels of food security. It means that 76% of beneficiary households reported having two meals a day, compared to only 50-57% of non-beneficiary households.
Food Security a National Security Issue, Opinion, Omardath Maharaj, Guardian Media, April 29
Food security is important and refers to the availability of food and one’s access to it. Price volatility and high food prices have become the focus of governments internationally, as well as here in Trinidad and Tobago. Civil unrest, praedial larceny, low nutrition and other social ills render food security as a national security issue. The development of the agriculture sector should therefore be a major part of any sustainable development initiative.
Mobile Money in Africa: Press 1 for Modernity, The Economist, April 28
Market traders use mobile phones to pay peasant farmers for a single bag of cassava or maize-meal. Mobile phones are also used to bank remittances from family members abroad. This may explain why mobile money has done so well in Somalia, a country which barely has a government, but where a third of adults said they used mobile money last year. For the most part, mobile-phone money is a substitute both for paper-based banks and for, say, sending cash via a bus driver.
Predators for Peace, Foreign Policy, April 27
The work of these entrepreneurs points to a future in which waves of aid drones might quickly deliver a peaceful "first strike" capacity of food and medicines to disaster areas. Relief drones could offer direct point-to-point delivery of medicines and essential supplies. On-board video could verify that the aid has been dropped to target recipients and provide real-time feedback on ground conditions. As technology constantly betters the drones' capabilities, ranges, and payloads, it's possible to imagine even more creative methods of aid delivery.
The Farm Bill: What Does It Mean for Food Crises?, One Campaign, April 27
Currently in Congress, there is an opportunity to make our food aid dollars go much farther. It’s called the Farm Bill. The Farm Bill is a massive bill that Congress puts together every five years. It covers mostly domestic agriculture policy, including farm subsidies, environmental conservation, food safety, rural community development and, in the international realm, food aid.