Today's top stories on global agricultural development and food security issues.
By Sung Lee
Technology makes the desert bloom, Financial Times, April 2
With domestic production still providing just a fraction of overall needs, most Gulf governments have looked overseas to secure food supplies, investing tens of billions of dollars buying farming property in what is described by many as a land grab. Analysts warn that much of the land acquired is not being worked, meaning it has little impact on food security. Jeffrey Culpepper, chairman of Agrisecura, a company that focuses on investing in farms overseas, says there is a simple solution to that.
At UN conference, Latin American countries reaffirm commitment to eradicate hunger, UN News Center, April 2
“This initiative belongs to the countries and should be embraced by all: governments, parliaments, civil society and the private and academic sectors, because fighting hunger cannot just be the commitment of a single government. It must be a decision made by an entire society,” said the Director-General of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization, Jose Graziano da Silva. At the conference, States renewed their commitment to the Latin America and the Caribbean without Hunger 2025 Initiative, an effort that aims to ensure that no child, man or woman in the region endures hunger.
Look who's saving the world – not Canada, Opinion, Nahlah Ayed, CBC, April 1
As a group, the BRICS still give far less than the wealthy traditional Western donors, the report states. But it goes on to note that "as the U.S. and Europe have slowed donor spending, the BRICS' assistance programs have become much more prominent." About time, you might say. Traditionally, the more prosperous — and similarly influence-hungry — West has been the primary source of foreign assistance over the last many decades. But, in recent years, the West hasn't been as prosperous as it once was.
Moving Food Faster to Those Who Need it Most in the Sahel, Opinion, Dina Esposito, USAID Impact Blog, March 30
The food we are shipping this week should arrive by late April, just four to five weeks from now. USAID’s speedy contribution complements efforts of the UN World Food Program and other agencies to procure food for the hungry regionally. Because markets in the Sahel are currently stretched to meet the demand for food, internationally sourced assistance is vital to ensure that food prices don’t rise even higher.
Challengers for World Bank leadership ask for ‘a fair chance’, Howard Schneider, Washington Post, March 30
In interviews, Okonjo-Iweala and Ocampo acknowledged that Kim has unquestioned expertise in public health. But they said public health is a narrow slice of what the World Bank does and an issue that many other global organizations address. Ocampo, who has also been a senior U.N. official and prolific academic, says he would put emphasis on helping poor and middle-income countries manage the effects of climate change. He says he would also represent a bridge between the World Bank’s practical focus and the new ideas brewing in academia.