Atlantis Online

the Coffee Shop => Causes & Activism => Topic started by: Bianca on June 19, 2009, 07:16:02 am



Title: WORLD HUNGER
Post by: Bianca on June 19, 2009, 07:16:02 am






EFFORTS TO RELIEVE WORLD HUNGER

http://atlantisonline.smfforfree2.com/index.php/topic,19169.0.html




AGRICULTURAL NOAH'S ARK IN ARCTIC-Svalbard International Seed Vault

http://atlantisonline.smfforfree2.com/index.php/topic,19163.0.html


Title: Re: WORLD HUNGER
Post by: Bianca on June 26, 2009, 12:47:21 pm










                                              Bumper crop, but Zimbabwe hungry 





 
BBC NEWS
June 26, 2009

Zimbabwe has had a bumper maize crop but the hunger crisis remains.
 
Some three million people face hunger in Zimbabwe, despite a significant rise in food production, the UN says.

Good rainfall over the past year has boosted production of the staple crop, maize, by 130% to 1.1m tonnes.

But about 2.8m people will still face food shortages this year, warned the report from the Food and Agriculture Organisation and World Food Programme.

They found that Zimbabwe's situation remains critical with basic necessities out of reach for most households.

The BBC's Andrew Harding in Johannesburg (the BBC is banned from Zimbabwe) says that, as so often with Zimbabwe, it is one step forward and two steps back.

The report also forecast the lowest ever harvest of wheat this winter because of high seed prices and electricity shortages.


Title: Re: WORLD HUNGER
Post by: Bianca on June 26, 2009, 12:49:20 pm









'Struggling to survive'



"This year's improved harvest comes after two consecutive years of poor production," said the World Food Programme's Jan Delbaere, who worked on the report, reports AP news agency.

"Having depleted their food stocks and sold livestock and other assets to cope with the effects of the recent crises, many rural households are still struggling to survive."

Zimbabwe's vice-president pleaded for an international financial stimulus.
 
The warning comes a day after Zimbabwe's vice-president called on the international community to provide her country with a financial stimulus package to offset its economic crisis.

Addressing a gathering of the world's richest and poorest countries at the UN in New York, Joyce Mujuru, a Zanu-PF member, said the lack of external support for Zimbabwe was threatening the unity government's programme.

Also on Wednesday, Zimbabwe launched a public consultation as it prepares to draft a new constitution to pave the way for the next elections.

Plans for the charter were enshrined in February's power-sharing pact between President Robert Mugabe's Zanu-PF and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai's Movement for Democratic Change (MDC).

In April, parliament elected a 25-member committee, drawn from both parties, to tour the provinces and carry out a consultation on the new constitution.

The draft document is supposed to be introduced in parliament by February next year, with a referendum to be held by July.


Title: Re: WORLD HUNGER
Post by: Bianca on June 26, 2009, 12:53:08 pm
(http://www.latimes.com/media/graphic/2009-06/47481450.jpg)


Title: Re: WORLD HUNGER
Post by: Bianca on June 26, 2009, 12:54:07 pm










                                           A 'TIME BOMB' For World Wheat Crop



          The Ug99 fungus, called stem rust, could wipe out more than 80% of the world's wheat

                                        as it spreads from Africa, scientists fear.

                       The race is on to breed resistant plants before it reaches the U.S.







By Karen Kaplan
LA Times
June 14, 2009

The spores arrived from Kenya on dried, infected leaves ensconced in layers of envelopes.

Working inside a bio-secure greenhouse outfitted with motion detectors and surveillance cameras, government scientists at the Cereal Disease Laboratory in St. Paul, Minn., suspended the fungal spores in a light mineral oil and sprayed them onto thousands of healthy wheat plants. After two weeks, the stalks were covered with deadly reddish blisters characteristic of the scourge known as Ug99.

Nearly all the plants were goners.

Crop scientists fear the Ug99 fungus could wipe out more than 80% of worldwide wheat crops as it spreads from eastern Africa. It has already jumped the Red Sea and traveled as far as Iran. Experts say it is poised to enter the breadbasket of northern India and Pakistan, and the wind will inevitably carry it to Russia, China and even North America -- if it doesn't hitch a ride with people first.

"It's a time bomb," said Jim Peterson, a professor of wheat breeding and genetics at Oregon State University in Corvallis. "It moves in the air, it can move in clothing on an airplane. We know it's going to be here. It's a matter of how long it's going to take."


Though most Americans have never heard of it, Ug99 -- a type of fungus called stem rust because it produces reddish-brown flakes on plant stalks -- is the No. 1 threat to the world's most widely grown crop.

The International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center in Mexico estimates that 19% of the world's wheat, which provides food for 1 billion people in Asia and Africa, is in imminent danger. American plant breeders say $10 billion worth of wheat would be destroyed if the fungus suddenly made its way to U.S. fields.

Fear that the fungus will cause widespread damage has caused short-term price spikes on world wheat markets. Famine has been averted thus far, but experts say it's only a matter of time.

"A significant humanitarian crisis is inevitable," said Rick Ward, the coordinator of the Durable Rust Resistance in Wheat project at Cornell University in Ithaca, N.Y.

The solution is to develop new wheat varieties that are immune to Ug99. That's much easier said than done.

After several years of feverish work, scientists have identified a mere half-dozen genes that are immediately useful for protecting wheat from Ug99. Incorporating them into crops using conventional breeding techniques is a nine- to 12-year process that has only just begun. And that process will have to be repeated for each of the thousands of wheat varieties that is specially adapted to a particular region and climate.

"All the seed needs to change in the next few years," said Ronnie Coffman, a plant breeder who heads the Durable Rust Resistance in Wheat project. "It's really an enormous undertaking."


Title: Re: WORLD HUNGER
Post by: Bianca on June 26, 2009, 12:55:07 pm









Ancient adversary



Farmers have been battling stem rust for as long as they have grown wheat. The fungus' ancestors infected wild grasses for millions of years before people began cultivating them for food, said Jorge Dubcovsky, professor of genetics and plant breeding at UC Davis.

"The pathogen keeps mutating and evolving," he said. "It's one of our biblical pests. This is not a small enemy."

When a spore lands on a green wheat plant, it forms a pustule that invades the outer layers of the stalk. The pustule hijacks the plant's water and nutrients and diverts them to produce new rust spores instead of grain. Within two weeks of an initial attack, there can be millions of pustules in a 2.5-acre patch of land.

Wheat plants that can recognize a specific chemical produced by stem rust can mount a defense against the fungus. But the rust is able to mutate, evade the plant's immune system and resume its spread.

Stem rust destroyed more than 20% of U.S. wheat crops several times between 1917 and 1935, and losses reached nearly 9% twice in the 1950s. The last major outbreak, in 1962, destroyed 5.2% of the U.S. crop, according to Peterson, who chairs the National Wheat Improvement Committee.

The fungus was kept at bay for years by breeders who slowly and methodically incorporated different combinations of six major stem rust resistance genes into various varieties of wheat. The breeders thought it unlikely that the rust could overcome clusters of those genes at the same time.

After several outbreak-free decades, it seemed that stem rust had been defeated for good. Scientists switched to other topics, and the hunt for new resistance genes practically slowed to a crawl.


Title: Re: WORLD HUNGER
Post by: Bianca on June 26, 2009, 12:56:18 pm









A new strain of stem rust was identified on a wheat farm in Uganda in 1999.

"It didn't draw a lot of attention, frankly," said Marty Carson, research leader at the Cereal Disease Laboratory, part of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. "There's very little wheat grown in Uganda."

East Africa is a natural hot spot for stem rust. Weather conditions allow farmers to grow wheat year-round, so rust spores can always find a susceptible host. Some of the wheat is grown as high as 7,000 feet above sea level, where intense solar radiation helps the fungus mutate.

The highlands are also home to barberry bushes, the only plant on which stem rust is known to reproduce through sexual recombination. That genetic shuffling provides a golden opportunity for the fungus to evolve into a deadly strain.

Within a few years, Ug99 -- named for the country and year it was identified -- had devastated farms in neighboring Kenya, where much of the wheat is grown on large-scale farms that have so far been able to absorb the blow. Then it moved north to Ethiopia, Sudan and Yemen, putting more small farms at risk. Those that can afford it are trying to make do with fungicides, but that's too cumbersome and expensive to be a long-term solution, Ward said.


To make matters worse, the fungus is becoming more virulent as it spreads. Scientists discovered a Ug99 variant in 2006 that can defeat Sr24, a resistance gene that protects Great Plains wheat.

Last year, another variant was found with immunity to Sr36, a gene that safeguards Eastern wheat.

Should those variants make their way to U.S. fields any time soon, scientists would be hard-pressed to protect American wheat crops.


Title: Re: WORLD HUNGER
Post by: Bianca on June 26, 2009, 12:57:37 pm









A laborious task



Now the pressure is on to develop new wheat varieties that are impervious to Ug99. Hundreds of varieties will need to be upgraded in the U.S. alone.

"You can't just breed it into one or two major varieties and expect to solve the problem," Peterson said. "You have to reinvent this wheel at almost a local level."

The first step is to identify Ug99 resistance genes by finding wheat plants that can withstand the deadly fungus.

Roughly 16,000 wheat varieties and other plants have been tested in the cereal disease lab over the last four years. The tests were conducted between Dec. 1 and the end of February, when the Minnesota weather is so frigid that escaping spores would quickly perish, Carson said.

These and similar efforts at a research station in Kenya have turned up only a handful of promising resistance genes, which crop breeders such as Brett Carver at Oklahoma State University in Stillwater are trying to import into vulnerable strains of wheat.

Each year, Carver crosses hundreds of plants in a greenhouse to produce as many as 50,000 candidate strains. Over the next four years, those are winnowed down, and the most promising 2,000 are planted in the field.

Only the hardiest strains are replanted each year, until the 12-year process results in a single new variety with dozens of valuable traits, such as the ability to withstand drought and make fluffy bread.

The oldest of the plants Carver bred for Ug99 resistance are only 3 years old, but one of the strains has been planted in the field already in case the fungus hitches a quick ride to the U.S. on an airplane or in a shipping container.

"In the absence of stem rust, it would not be the highest-yielding wheat," he said. "In the presence of stem rust, it would be the only thing that would survive."



karen.kaplan@latimes.com


Title: Re: WORLD HUNGER
Post by: Bianca on June 26, 2009, 02:46:38 pm








                                                   Roots of Asia's rice crisis





By David Montero
Tue Apr 22, 2008
 
BOHOL, Philippines - Gantallan Plorensio's farm is a paradox at the heart of Asia's growing rice crisis. The fields that get enough water have never been more productive, contributing to a 5 percent annual increase in rice production over the past two years.
 
"We have a lot of rice fields, but no irrigation," he says. "They're just sitting there."

As a regional rice crisis looms, threatening political instability and social unrest, the idle fields in Mr. Plorensio's village underscore a failure of policy and foresight repeated across the region: For decades, governments have been encouraging a boom in services and skyscrapers, but not the capacity to grow more rice. Financing in agriculture has stagnated, and fewer farmers are expected to produce more rice for exploding populations.

That neglect is one of the central causes of what some analysts call the "perfect storm" – including rising global oil prices, drought in Australia, and inclement weather – behind the rice crisis.

"It's a failure to recognize the importance of agriculture," says Duncan Macintosh, a spokesman for the International Rice Research Institute, based in Laguna, about 40 miles from Manila, the capital of the Philippines. "Agriculture is becoming a very unfashionable industry." 


Title: Re: WORLD HUNGER
Post by: Bianca on June 26, 2009, 02:47:34 pm








Philippines at the center of crisis



At the epicenter of the storm is the Philippines, the world's largest importer of rice. The island nation annually imports between 10 to 15 percent of its rice. But because global rice supplies are so tight – causing India, China, Cambodia, and Vietnam to restrict exports – the Philippines is having a hard time fulfilling an import order of around one million tons.

The country is paying exorbitant prices for whatever rice it can get its hands on, driving up prices around the world to double last year's.

A shortfall of 10 percent is expected for 2008, causing fears that food riots could erupt here as they have in countries such as Haiti, Egypt, Mexico, Burkina Faso, and Senegal.

Those are just concerns so far in the Philippines, but the government of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo – like the governments of Haiti and Malaysia, among others – has been shaken by the growing crisis and faced with public calls for her ouster.

At the center of the storm lies a simple question: Why can't the Philippines, and other countries in Asia, produce enough rice to feed themselves?

Some reasons are beyond the direct control of the Philippines and other Asian archipelagos like Indonesia and Malaysia. Because their farmland is spread over thousands of miles and different islands, production, maintenance, and transportation make rice cultivation expensive and difficult.

"Thailand, the world's largest [rice] producer, has 9.82 million [hectares of rice fields]. The Philippines has 4 million hectares of productive farmland. And those 4 million hectares are spread over 7,000 miles," says Mr. Macintosh, adding that the Philippines also lacks a river delta, which by providing an easy and abundant water source, allows Asian countries like Vietnam, India, and Cambodia to produce higher rice harvests.

Other factors in the rice crisis are also beyond the Philippines' control. Rising oil prices have made rice more expensive to produce, by increasing fertilizer and transportation costs; pests in Vietnam, one of the world's largest producers, have wiped out as much as 200,000 tons; and the collapse of Australia's rice production due to drought has eaten away at global rice stocks.

But many other factors are directly a failure of foresight here, as in the rest of Asia. Although government spending on agriculture accelerated in the 1960s and '70s, pumped into irrigation systems, fertilizer, and rice breeding that spawned the Green Revolution, it slowed by half throughout the 1990s, according to one study. In 2002, the Philippines invested only $0.46 for every $100 of agricultural output, a level consistent with the rest of Asia, according to a study by International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) in Washington. It means that Asia is a slacker when it comes to investment in agriculture compared with the rest of the developing world, which spent $.053 for every $100 of agricultural output, and the developed world, which spent more than $2.0. The global average was around $.070.

Instead, Asia is increasingly transforming farmland into office parks and suburbs. In the Philippines, half of irrigated land has been transformed into urban development in the past two decades. While this fuels new economic engines such as services and industry, it also undercuts resources needed to grow food.


Title: Re: WORLD HUNGER
Post by: Bianca on June 26, 2009, 02:49:27 pm








                                         Sweet sorghum, clean miracle crop for feed and fuel






by Jean-Louis Santini
Mon May 12, 2008
 
WASHINGTON (AFP) - The hardy sweet sorghum plant could be the miracle crop that provides cheap animal feed and fuel without straining the world's food supply or harming the environment, said scientists working on a pilot farming project in India.
 
"We consider sweet sorghum an ideal 'smart crop' because it produces food as well as fuel," William Dar, Director General of the non-profit International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) said in a statement.

Sweet sorghum (Sorghum bicolor) is the world's fifth largest grain crop after rice, corn, wheat and barley.

It grows in dry conditions, tolerates heat, salt and waterlogging, making it an ideal crop for semi-arid areas where many of the world's poor live, ICRISAT agronomist Mark Winslow said in an interview with AFP.

The plant grows to a height of 2.6-4.0 meters (8-12 feet) and looks like corn. Its stalks are crushed yielding sweet juice that is fermented and distilled to obtain bioethanol, a clean burning fuel with a high octane rating.

It has high positive energy balance, producing about eight units of energy for every unit of energy invested in its cultivation and production, roughly equivalent to sugarcane and about four times greater than the energy produced by corn.

Sweet sorghum requires little or no irrigation, limiting the use of fuel-burning water pumps that emit carbon dioxide, the main greenhouse gas contributing to climate change, Winslow said.

"With proper management, smallholder farmers can improve their incomes by 20 percent compared to alternative crops in dry areas in India," said Dar.

In partnership with Rusni Distilleries and some 791 farmers in Andhra Pradesh, India, ICRISAT helped to build and operate the world's first commercial bioethanol plant, which began operations in June 2007.

Sweet sorghum in India costs 1.74 dollars to produce a gallon (3.78 liters) of ethanol, compared with 2.19 dollars for sugarcane and 2.12 dollars for corn, the research institute said.

Similar public-private-farmer partnership projects are also underway in the Philippines, Mexico, Mozambique and Kenya, as countries search for alternative fuels, India-based ICRISAT added.

The United States and European Union are also very interested in making biofuel from sweet sorghum, Winslow said.

The US Department of Agriculture is sponsoring an international conference in Houston, Texas, in August to examine the plant's potential in ethanol production.

In addition to ethanol, "I think (sorghum) is going to be one of the two big crops in the tropics" that supply biofuel such as ethanol, the demand for which "far exceeds the supply" on the world market, Winslow said.

"It's a win-win situation" for developing nations since it allows them to save money they now spend on oil imports and invest it in sweet sorghum-ethanol production in dry areas.

He said India could meet its entire fuel needs with 100 bioethanol plants like the the one in Andhra Pradesh, which produces 40,000 liters (10,568 gallons) of ethanol every day.

Unlike corn, sweet sorghum is not in high demand in the global food market, so its use in biofuel production would have little impact on food prices and food security, ICRISAT said.

Sweet sorghum is grown on more than 42 million hectares (107 million acres) in 99 countries, with United States, Nigeria, India, China, Mexico, Sudan and Argentina its leading producers.


Title: Re: WORLD HUNGER
Post by: Bianca on June 26, 2009, 02:51:10 pm


Rain clouds shroud a forest near the western Austrian
city of Dornbirn, June 12, 2007.

Rising temperatures have forced many plants to creep
to higher elevations to survive, researchers reported
on Thursday.

(Miro Kuzmanovic/Reuters)









                                    Climate change forces plants higher: study By Michael Kahn






Fri Jun 27, 2008
 
LONDON (Reuters) - Rising temperatures have forced many plants to creep to higher elevations to survive, researchers reported on Thursday.
 
More than two-thirds of the plants studied along six West European mountain ranges climbed an average of 29 meters in altitude in each decade since 1905 to better conditions on higher ground, the researchers reported in the journal Science.

"This is the first time it is shown that climate change has applied a significant effect on a large set of forest plant species," said Jonathan Lenoir, a forest ecologist at AgroParisTech in France, who led the study.

"It helps us understand how ecosystems respond to temperature changes."

Earlier this week, U.S. researchers warned warming temperatures could turn many of California's native plants into "plant refugees" looking for more suitable habitats.

They concluded that a warming climate and rainfall changes would force many of the U.S. state's native plants to range north or to higher elevations or possibly even go extinct in the next 100 years.

The French team's findings suggest plants at high altitudes face the same or greater impacts from rising temperatures, Lenoir said in a telephone interview.

"Plant species move where it is optimal for them to grow," Lenoir said. "If you change these optimal conditions, species will move to recover the same conditions."

Using database on plant species found at specific locations and elevations stretching back to 1905, the researchers showed many plants have steadily crept higher to conditions best suited for survival and growth.

Plants move higher by dispersing their seeds in the wind, which blows them to higher elevations and cooler temperatures similar to their former location, Lenoir said.

The researchers tracked 171 forest plant species during two periods -- between 1905 and 1985, and from 1986 to 2005 -- along the entire elevation range from sea level to 2,600 meters.

They found that two-thirds of the plants responded to warming temperatures over that time by shifting to higher altitudes.

Plants at higher altitudes also appear most sensitive to warmer conditions because slight temperature changes at higher altitudes have a bigger impact, he added.




(Reporting by Michael Kahn; Editing by Maggie Fox and Ibon Villelabeitia)


Title: Re: WORLD HUNGER
Post by: Bianca on June 26, 2009, 02:58:38 pm










                             Satellite Data Can Warn Of Famine, NASA Researchers Find






ScienceDaily
(July 19, 2007)

— A NASA researcher has developed a new method to anticipate food shortages brought on by drought. Molly Brown of NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md., and her colleagues created a model using data from satellite remote sensing of crop growth and food prices.

Brown conceived the idea while working with organizations in Niger, West Africa, that provide information regarding failed crops and help address local farmers' worries about feeding their families. Brown's new approach could improve the ability for government and humanitarian aid officials to plan and respond to drought-induced food price increases in Niger and elsewhere.

Supply and demand largely dictate food prices, with greater supply leading to lower prices and less supply leading to higher prices. During a food crisis in semi-arid regions like Niger, food shortages are often brought on when lack of rainfall significantly reduces the amount of grain farmers are able to grow. Farmers in regions like Niger are able only to grow a few drought-resistant crops, and therefore must buy grain at unaffordably high prices at the end of the year to make up for shortfalls in production. This scenario could drive a drought-driven food security crisis. A lack of locally-produced and affordable grain, coupled with increased prices and reduced access to food, could lead to starvation and hunger-related illness in the most vulnerable segments of society.

Brown, the lead author of a study to be published early next year in the journal Land Economics, said that until now officials have primarily studied the after effects of occurrences like floods or droughts that might affect crop production as their best means of warning of a coming food security crisis. "With this new study, for the first time we can leverage satellite observations of crop production to create a more accurate price model that will help humanitarian aid organizations and other decision makers predict how much food will be available and what its cost will be as a result. This is a unique opportunity for an economic model to take climate variables into account in a way that can aid populations large and small," she said.

Agricultural economists often use a mathematical formula and typically data on crop yield, a range of market prices, and other variables to develop a price model that estimates what food prices may be in the marketplace. Brown applied remote-sensing data in an economic model producing an enhanced way for aid officials to combat a problem that affects 3.6 million people in Niger alone.

To use their price model in a real-world situation, Brown and her colleagues compared variations in crop production to variations in food prices in parts of West Africa. They focused on a sample crop, a drought-resistant grain called millet. Locally, people use millet to create a couscous-like dish. Brown's team observed the June-September wet season to the October-May dry season -- and the amount and growth rate of green vegetation. Then, it studied how seasonal climate differences affected the crop's price in local markets.

Brown used long-term data from sensors on NASA-built satellites to gauge the density of local plant life, an indicator of the strength of the crop. From space, sensors pick up reflections from the ground to determine the ground's "greenness" and enable researchers to estimate the amount of rainfall. Those data in turn may be used to estimate the amount of grain that crops will produce. Brown combined the satellite data and climate variables with the price model to create maps of millet prices covering a complete area. With these maps decision makers can predict price changes, food availability and ultimately food insecurity.

Food prices are not determined solely by human action. Climate variables affect about 20 percent of the process of market pricing, according to the study's co-author Jorge Pinzon, a research scientist and mathematician at Goddard. This is a factor that decision makers often do not take into account when analyzing food security, Pinzon said.

"It is critical to include climate and environmental variables in food security planning when piecing together all of the forces that come together to create famine," said Pinzon. "This model can help officials better understand the role that climate plays in food availability and pricing, and also in famine warning when applied to a real-time planning effort."

Brown believes that information provided by this new technique can aid organizations that are part of the U.S. Agency for International Development's (USAID) Famine Early Warning System to stem suffering that occurs every year from food crises. Brown hopes that her method, funded by NASA and USAID, may eventually help the farmers in Niger more effectively plan what to grow and when to grow it to earn a living wage.

"This price model can be used in any region of the world where there are seasonal climate factors that can contribute to local food production crises," said Brown. "Even a country with normally adequate food production can still experience a food crisis if a drought hits. We hope that decision makers will work together with scientists to apply this model so that even a farmer on a small plot of land can better sustain his family during a drought."


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Adapted from materials provided by NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center.
Email or share this story:| More Need to cite this story in your essay, paper, or report? Use one of the following formats:
 APA

 MLA NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center (2007, July 19). Satellite Data Can Warn Of Famine, NASA Researchers Find. ScienceDaily. Retrieved June 18, 2009, from


http://www.sciencedaily.com­ /releases/2007/07/070719111414.htm


Title: Re: WORLD HUNGER
Post by: Lisa Wolfe on June 26, 2009, 11:16:15 pm
Good topic, Bianca, I have been reading it.  People don't appreciate how dangerous fungus is.  Also, climate change has really effected rainfall patterns.  It is going to get a lot worse before it gets better! Unfortunately. 

Some of these countries, there isn't even much that America can do about it.  Even when we drop food someplace, the warlords confiscate it and use it as leverage over their people, such as in Somalia.  The human race was born to suffer, one way or another, it seems.


Title: Re: WORLD HUNGER
Post by: Bianca on July 07, 2009, 07:27:58 am










All true, Lisa. 

Still, I feel hopeful since there are enough people out there who are willing to help, in
many ways, even us here by bringing up the subject and raising awareness as best we can.


Title: Re: WORLD HUNGER
Post by: Bianca on July 07, 2009, 07:30:03 am









                                                   1.02 Billion People Hungry:



                           One Sixth Of Humanity Undernourished, More Than Ever Before






ScienceDaily
(June 20, 2009)

— World hunger is projected to reach a historic high in 2009 with 1,020 million people going hungry every day, according to new estimates published by United Nation's Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).

The most recent increase in hunger is not the consequence of poor global harvests but is caused by the world economic crisis that has resulted in lower incomes and increased unemployment. This has reduced access to food by the poor, the UN agency said.

"A dangerous mix of the global economic slowdown combined with stubbornly high food prices in many countries has pushed some 100 million more people than last year into chronic hunger and poverty," said FAO Director-General Jacques Diouf. "The silent hunger crisis — affecting one sixth of all of humanity — poses a serious risk for world peace and security. We urgently need to forge a broad consensus on the total and rapid eradication of hunger in the world and to take the necessary actions."

"The present situation of world food insecurity cannot leave us indifferent," he added.

Poor countries, Diouf stressed, "must be given the development, economic and policy tools required to boost their agricultural production and productivity. Investment in agriculture must be increased because for the majority of poor countries a healthy agricultural sector is essential to overcome poverty and hunger and is a pre-requisite for overall economic growth."

"Many of the world's poor and hungry are smallholder farmers in developing countries. Yet they have the potential not only to meet their own needs but to boost food security and catalyse broader economic growth. To unleash this potential and reduce the number of hungry people in the world, governments, supported by the international community, need to protect core investments in agriculture so that smallholder farmers have access not only to seeds and fertilisers but to tailored technologies, infrastructure, rural finance, and markets," said Kanayo F. Nwanze, President of the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD).

"For most developing countries there is little doubt that investing in smallholder agriculture is the most sustainable safety net, particularly during a time of global economic crisis," Nwanze added.

"The rapid march of urgent hunger continues to unleash an enormous humanitarian crisis. The world must pull together to ensure emergency needs are met as long term solutions are advanced," said Josette Sheeran, Executive Director of the UN World Food Programme.





Hunger on the rise

Whereas good progress was made in reducing chronic hunger in the 1980s and the first half of the 1990s, hunger has been slowly but steadily on the rise for the past decade, FAO said. The number of hungry people increased between 1995-97 and 2004-06 in all regions except Latin America and the Caribbean. But even in this region, gains in hunger reduction have been reversed as a result of high food prices and the current global economic downturn.

This year, mainly due to the shocks of the economic crisis combined with often high national food prices, the number of hungry people is expected to grow overall by about 11 percent, FAO projects, drawing on analysis by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Almost all of the world's undernourished live in developing countries. In Asia and the Pacific, an estimated 642 million people are suffering from chronic hunger; in Sub-Saharan Africa 265 million; in Latin America and the Caribbean 53 million; in the Near East and North Africa 42 million; and in developed countries 15 million in total.

In the grip of the crisis

The urban poor will probably face the most severe problems in coping with the global recession, because lower export demand and reduced foreign direct investment are more likely to hit urban jobs harder. But rural areas will not be spared. Millions of urban migrants will have to return to the countryside, forcing the rural poor to share the burden in many cases.

Some developing countries are also struggling with the fact that money transfers (remittances) sent from migrants back home have declined substantially this year, causing the loss of foreign exchange and household income. Reduced remittances and a projected decline in official development assistance will further limit the ability of countries to access capital for sustaining production and creating safety nets and social protection schemes for the poor.

Unlike previous crises, developing countries have less room to adjust to the deteriorating economic conditions, because the turmoil is affecting practically all parts of the world more or less simultaneously. The scope for remedial mechanisms, including exchange-rate depreciation and borrowing from international capital markets for example, to adjust to macroeconomic shocks, is more limited in a global crisis.

The economic crisis also comes on the heel of the food and fuel crisis of 2006-08. While food prices in world markets declined over the past months, domestic prices in developing countries came down more slowly. They remained on average 24 percent higher in real terms by the end of 2008 compared to 2006. For poor consumers, who spend up to 60 percent of their incomes on staple foods, this means a strong reduction in their effective purchasing power. It should also be noted that while they declined, international food commodity prices are still 24 percent higher than in 2006 and 33 percent higher than in 2005.

The 2009 hunger report (The State of Food Insecurity in the World, SOFI) will be presented in October.


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Adapted from materials provided by Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.
Email or share this story:| More Need to cite this story in your essay, paper, or report? Use one of the following formats:
 APA

 MLA Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (2009, June 20). 1.02 Billion People Hungry: One Sixth Of Humanity Undernourished, More Than Ever Before. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 7, 2009, from



http://www.sciencedaily.com­ /releases/2009/06/090619121443.htm


Title: Re: WORLD HUNGER
Post by: Bianca on July 10, 2009, 06:56:15 am










                                                G8 set to tackle hunger in Africa






BBC NEWS
July 10, 2009

"It is time for us to switch because food security is not just food aid," he said.

"It is the ability of people to produce food locally and for them to be able to have access to local markets."

Mr Nwanze said he expected US President Barack Obama to call for support on Friday from the G8 and other emerging economies for the agriculture initiative.

The US is reportedly planning to contribute some $3.5bn to the programme.

Mr Obama was to meet representatives of Angola, Algeria, Nigeria and Senegal in L'Aquila, before meeting Pope Benedict XVI in Rome and embarking on an African tour later on Friday.

Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi, who is also attending Friday's talks in L'Aquila, told Reuters news agency that the key message from African nations was that the G8 had to live up to its commitments.

Aid organisations have criticised some members for failing to deliver on the promise made at the 2005 G8 summit to increase annual aid levels to sub-Saharan Africa by $25bn by 2010.

Italy, the present summit host, has come under particular pressure for cutting, rather than increasing, aid this year.

Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi has said the global economic crisis and Italy's mounting debts are responsible for a delay in Rome meeting its promises.


Title: Re: WORLD HUNGER
Post by: Bianca on July 10, 2009, 07:02:19 am









G8 summit tackles food supplies 



Leaders of the G8 developed nations are reported to have agreed new efforts to boost food supplies to the hungry, on the final day of a summit in Italy.

The group has reportedly pledged to provide at least $15bn (£9.2bn) over three years to efforts to help poor nations develop their own agriculture.

AFP news agency quotes a G8 statement as saying there is "an urgent need for decisive action" on hunger and poverty.

On Thursday, the second day of talks, the summit focused on climate change.

Leaders from both developed and developing nations agreed that global temperatures should not rise more than 2C above 1900 levels.

That is the level above which, the UN says, the Earth's climate system would become dangerously unstable.

 
On Friday, attention at the summit in the Italian city of L'Aquila turned to the issue of food security.

BBC economics correspondent Andrew Walker says the idea is to put more emphasis on helping people feed themselves.

That is to be achieved with more investment in the agriculture of developing countries, and the G8 nations - Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia and the US - are expected to pledge significant resources, our correspondent adds.

However, although the total amount of overseas development aid (ODA) was increased in 2008, the rich countries are still behind on their target to double aid that was made at the G8 Gleneagles Summit in 2005 - and Italy is among the laggards.

Not all the $15bn reportedly pledged to the agriculture initiative will be new funding.

Kanaya Nwanze, president of the International Fund for Agricultural Development, told the BBC that he welcomed the announcement of more investment in agriculture in the developing world.



 G8 KEY ISSUES/TIMETABLE

0630 GMT - impact of economic crisis on Africa, African leaders attending
0830 GMT - food security
1100 GMT - final news conference


G8 members: Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia, US


Title: Re: WORLD HUNGER
Post by: Bianca on July 10, 2009, 07:30:20 am









                                        World leaders launch $15Bln food initiative





           
Alessandra Rizzo And
Emma Vandore,
Associated Press Writers
July 10, 2009
L'AQUILA, Italy

– World leaders have launched a $15 billion initiative to help farmers in poor countries increase production, marking a shift in the way the West tackles world hunger, according to a draft statement obtained Friday by The Associated Press.

Not all the money is new, and it will be distributed over three years. The United Nations welcomed the new strategy as an overdue shift away from the focus on delivering emergency food aid. Anti-poverty groups, however, said the funding was insufficient.

The new strategy is aimed at enabling poor farmers to produce more of their own food by improving productivity, shifting the focus from delivering aid. The initiative is a new approach on an issue — food security — that has emerged recently as a threat to political stability.

"There is an urgent need for decisive action to free humankind from hunger and poverty," said the draft statement. "We will aim at substantially increasing aid to agriculture and food security."

The initiative was launched at the end of three-day of talks in Italy of Group of Eight industrialized nations. The talks were expanded to include emerging economies and, on Friday, African nations. All of the 27 countries were expected to endorse the statement.

Washington was expected to commit $3 billion, and Paris $2 billion, delegates said.

In a separate statement, leaders said it is important to increase access to water and sanitation and the G-8 promised to assist African countries in doing so.

Food security, or ensuring adequate access to food, has jumped to the fore of the political agenda recently. High prices last year led to food riots in some countries, including some violent ones.

Increasing small farmers' productivity would have long-term impact on world hunger, regional trade and eventually help curb immigration toward Europe and other rich nations, delegates and experts said. While food aid will still be necessary to prevent people from starving, the new approach puts emphasis on a longer-term aim.

"It's a total shift, a welcome and encouraging one," said Jacques Diouf, the chief of the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization.

"You solve the problem of hunger by giving the necessary tools to farmers who are in these poor countries so they can produce food," Diouf told the AP.

The initiative calls for support around harvest time and puts emphasis on small farmers and private sector growth, as well as on families and women. It says that any improvement in agricultural production should be coupled with measures to help countries to adjust to changing conditions caused by global warming.


Title: Re: WORLD HUNGER
Post by: Bianca on July 19, 2009, 07:45:58 am










                             Once world's bread basket, Iraq now a farming basket case




           

Mike Tharp,
Mcclatchy Newspapers.
– Fri Jul 17, 2009
MISHKHAB,
Iraq

— Once the cradle of agriculture for civilization, the Land Between Two Rivers — the Tigris and Euphrates — has become a basket case for its farmers.

Just ask Naji Habeeb , 85. His family has been growing rice in this village 135 miles southeast of Baghdad for generations. Thin green shoots stick out of the flat paddies, shin-deep in brown water.

The Iraqi government, he claims, still owes him half of what he's due from last year's crop. He turned it in months ago and still hasn't been paid. "Shall I suck my fingers and eat like a baby?" he shouted. "The Ministry (of Agriculture) will never know my family is hungry!"

Habeeb's family members have farmed the 538-square-foot plot next to a branch of the Euphrates River the same way for centuries. Except today they till with tractors, run water pumps with gasoline and spread artificial fertilizer. They plant seedlings by hand in June and July, irrigate and keep bugs and disease away in the summer heat, harvest by hand in October.

However, their efforts haven't helped Iraqi agriculture overcome the twin disasters of war and sanctions, which have transformed the country from one of the world's premier sources of aromatic rice and nearly 500 kinds of dates 30 years ago into a net importer of food.

Iraq now imports nearly all the food its people eat: California rice, Washington apples, Australian wheat, fruits and vegetables from its neighbors. All are staples in Iraqi groceries and on the dinner table.

The decline of the farming sector creates other problems. Agriculture accounts for half or more of Iraqi jobs and is the second-largest contributor to the gross domestic product. The prices that people and the government pay for shortfalls in what they used to grow weaken the country's economy.

For its part, Prime Minister Nouri al Maliki's office says he unveiled an "agricultural initiative" two years ago. It included $240 million to bolster farmers, including no-interest loans, guarantees to buy crops, research and development, and other plans. A deputy in the Ministry of Agriculture , Mahdi al Qaisi, said that his agency "will be happy to help farmers, who are our brothers. The time of fear has ended; there is no need to be afraid."

Iraq's agriculture faces the same problems as farmers everywhere: drought (in its fifth year), bugs, disease, salty water, red tape. Those problems are exacerbated, however, by location and history. Eight years of war with Iran , defeat in the Persian Gulf War of 1991, then 12 years of sanctions and, most recently, six years of war and U.S.-led occupation have left the country's agricultural sector in shambles.

Reliable statistics are elusive or suspect. Iraq is the only country, for example, in which the U.S. Foreign Agricultural Service estimates crop yields by using satellite data.

The available numbers, however, suggest a stagnant and backward sector.

This year's wheat harvest is expected to be 1.3 million tons, down a million tons from last season. The prized amber rice crop grown by Habeeb and popular throughout the region for its perfumed scent will be around 100,000 tons, one-third of last year's yield.

One result is that Iraq has become one of the world's biggest importers of wheat, around 3.5 million tons. Barley to feed livestock — sheep, goats and cattle — also is shipped in from other countries. The higher cost of raising livestock means that more will have to be culled.

Another result: Iraqi consumers pay more for homegrown produce than they do for some imports.

Zaineb Kemal , a mother of four in Mosul , said that Iraqi produce had become scarce and expensive. That's why "so many people prefer to buy imported goods," she said, adding that she likes Iranian watermelons, Syrian cucumbers and Egyptian oranges.

Anti-globalization groups praise the fact that Iraqi farmers reuse their own seeds season after season. That doesn't lead to robust crops, however, and farmers routinely spread twice as much seed as they ordinarily would need to ensure the reduced yields.


Title: Re: WORLD HUNGER
Post by: Bianca on July 19, 2009, 07:46:45 am









As in any country, agriculture is political. Unlike most nations, however, the present Iraqi government doesn't protect — let alone subsidize — many of its farmers, according to Western experts, the rice farmers in Mishkhab and consumers.

"Most farmers have been abandoned by the state," said Qasim Muhaideen, 43, who works in Mosul's central market. "How can our farmers compete in price and availability?"

Geopolitics also influences what happens to Iraq's farmers.

Turkey and Syria have built dams on the Euphrates within their borders, and they turn the spigot off and on to Iraq .

"The shortage is very effective," Awn Theyab, the director general of Iraq's National Center for Water Resources , said after Turkey reduced the flow after one week. "If it continues, we won't have enough water for the first round of the winter season, because our reservoirs are empty."

A few bright spots have sprouted. Aquaculture is emerging slowly as a food source, and 100,000 carp fingerlings were released to reservoirs in April. They'll grow to only one-fourth the size of the 25-pound monsters pulled from the Tigris, but the supply is more stable.

There's also been a boom in "hoop houses," plastic greenhouses for tomatoes using drip irrigation, not the usual field flooding.

Multinational provincial reconstruction teams report growing interest in better farming practices. Beekeepers, poultry producers and growers who want to learn modern techniques have started attending workshops. During the years of sectarian and tribal violence, they were afraid to be seen with Americans. Just this week, 175 Iraqis signed up for a soil salinity seminar.

Habeeb and his partner, Abdul Abbas Muhair, 67, have never met a foreign agricultural adviser, however.

Sitting barefoot on a carpet runner in a tiled room next to their paddies, Habeeb and Muhair swapped gripes about the government. Poor or zero planning. Delayed or incomplete payments. Baksheesh — bribes — needed for the best seeds. Weak fertilizer. Weaker pesticide. Power to run water pumps for only six hours a day, so they must buy gasoline for generators.

Even worse than their litany, they said, is their loss of pride. In their fathers' day, the aromatic rice they grew was enjoyed in Egypt , Lebanon — throughout the Middle East . Now it's all sold to the government.

A rooster crowed outside as little boys in the 15-member clan slid closer and listened to their elders.

"I feel sad not to export our rice anymore," Muhair said. "It was enough for your life."



(Tharp is the executive editor of the
Merced (Calif.) Star-Sun .

McClatchy
special correspondents
Laith Hammoudi and
Sahar Issa
contributed to this article
from Baghdad .)

MORE FROM MCCLATCHY

Shiite pilgrimage poses major challenge for Iraqi military

In Baghdad , the poor have no choice but to beg

With one bat and no uniforms, Iraq's baseball team hits field




Read what McClatchy's
Iraqi staff
has to say at

Inside Iraq .


Title: Re: WORLD HUNGER
Post by: Bianca on July 20, 2009, 09:59:31 am








Amazonian TERRA PRETA Can Transform Poor Soil Into Fertile



http://atlantisonline.smfforfree2.com/index.php/topic,14638.0.html


Title: Re: WORLD HUNGER
Post by: Harconen on July 22, 2009, 02:22:08 pm
Starving locals struggle to pull through in famine-hit E Uganda


www.chinaview.cn  2009-07-20 20:35:46        

    By Samuel Okiror Egadu

    TESO, Uganda, July 20 (Xinhua) -- As wild plants, leaves, fruits and weeds are withering in the unmerciful sunshine, the hope for the starving population in eastern Uganda to pull through a looming famine become dimmer as well.

    "I don't know what I am going to survive with my family now. The wild plants we have been depending on have withered," said Innocent Opumar, a resident in Katakwi district.

    Local residents in six districts in eastern Uganda, also known as Teso region, since earlier this year resorted to what had been left in the field after a widely crop failure following prolonged drought and unpredictable rainfalls.

    As 34 starvation-related deaths were reported, hunger drove people to risk digging up and eating immature cassava, which may keep them fed for a moment but hospitalized later for food poisoning.

    "The hunger forced me to go and uproot the immature cassava. We boiled it. After eating, it turned out to be a disaster. Everybody had diarrhoea and vomiting," Charles Anoma told Xinhua at Acowa health centre in Amuria district.

    Anoma and his family of ten people were admitted at the health centre due to food poisoning.

    The health center was also crowded by malnourished children, who are the most vulnerable and imminent victims along with elders in this crisis.

    "We receive this kind of cases on a daily basis. We only give them oral dehydration salt as we don't have food to give them," said Rauben Ibwalatum, the health assistant at Acowa health centre.

    Without food, social gatherings including weddings were banned by Amuria authorities in a bid to regulate and control food; children massively dropped out of schools to work outside for a solid meal; HIV/AIDS patients stopped taking antiretroviral drugs which require five meals a day.

    "We are only waiting for our days to come and die," an AIDS patient who declined to be named told a group of visiting legislators in Amuria.

    "I have never seen a climax of famine like this. People can't afford a meal for several days," said Omax Hebron Omeda, the Amuria resident district commissioner.

    "People now don't know what is called breakfast, lunch or supper. Very soon, if government doesn't intervene by scaling up the food supply, people are going to die," he said.

    A severe food shortage has swept most parts of the country, leaving up to three million people in the crisis while the government has yet come up with enough funds to respond to the urgent appeals from 52 out of 80 districts.

    Granaries went empty in most parts of Teso region. For those who have any little left, they prefer keeping it inside the house due to escalating food thefts reported in the last few months.

    "You cannot even leave any food stuff to dry on the compound; you will not get it because some one will just steal it," said Judith Akello, a resident of Katakwi district.

    A total of 17 districts in northwestern, northeastern and eastern Uganda have been listed as the most hit, acute food shortage is being experienced in 31 districts while four districts in western Uganda were evaluated as moderately affected.

    The government has so far delivered relief food to over 1,000 starving people in the region, but it is far beyond enough.

    "What can one cup of beans and two of posho do? It's just for one meal," said Patrick Amuriat, the chairperson of Teso Parliamentary Group.

    Robert Ekongot, the Katakwi district chairperson, asked the government to provide food that can last for at least six months as no harvest would be expected in the near future.

    "We need both immediate, short term and long term interventions to address this situation," he said.

Editor: Deng Shasha

http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/2009-07/20/content_11740584.htm


Title: Re: WORLD HUNGER
Post by: Bianca on July 27, 2009, 11:20:33 am







"GIVE A STARVING MAN A FISH

AND HE WILL EAT FOR A DAY



TEACH A MAN TO FISH

AND HE WILL EAT EVERY DAY"




I am just paraphrasing here, but the best that we can do is improve the quality and disease resistance

of STAPLE CROPS. 


Title: Re: WORLD HUNGER
Post by: Bianca on July 27, 2009, 11:20:58 am









                                                 'Burton' Barley Fends Off Aphids






ScienceDaily
(Apr. 1, 2005)

— When they're attacked by Russian wheat aphids, leaves of vulnerable barley plants develop tell-tale white streaks and tight, corkscrew curls. These weakened plants produce fewer plump, nutritious kernels needed for feeding cattle or sheep, or for foods such as pearled barley for soups--or malt for making confections or brewing beer.

But an animal-feed barley named Burton, developed by Agricultural Research Service scientists and their university colleagues, resists attack by both kinds, or biotypes, of Russian wheat aphids that are found in this country. Leaves on Burton plants don't become streaked or curled when the green, one-sixteenth-inch-long aphids puncture them to feed on the plants' sap. Without the snug, rolled-leaf shelters, aphids become more vulnerable to their natural enemies, and more easily knocked off the plant by wind or rain, according to ARS plant geneticist P. Phillip Bregitzer. He works at the agency's Small Grains and Potato Germplasm Research Unit at Aberdeen, Idaho.

Bregitzer and plant geneticist Dolores W. Mornhinweg at the ARS Wheat, Peanut and Other Field Crops Research Unit, Stillwater, Okla., chose the sequence of parent plants for Burton barley. Those plants included two well-known, ARS-developed malting barleys, Crystal and Klages; a popular animal-feed barley known as Baroness, and a parent that Mornhinweg developed from a wild, Russian wheat aphid-resistant barley from Afghanistan.

Burton is named for former ARS entomologist Robert L. Burton, now deceased, who spearheaded much of the ARS Russian wheat aphid research from his Stillwater laboratory.

Researchers at the Colorado, Idaho, Nebraska and New Mexico Agricultural Experiment Stations collaborated to make Burton available to growers in 2004. Seeds of this plant, described technically as a hulled, two-rowed spring barley, are still available in limited quantities from the University of Idaho's Foundation Seed Program, 3793 N. 3600 E., Kimberly, Idaho 83341, phone (208) 423-6655.

ARS is the U.S. Department of Agriculture's principal scientific research agency.


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Adapted from materials provided by USDA / Agricultural Research Service.
Email or share this story:| More Need to cite this story in your essay, paper, or report? Use one of the following formats:
 APA

 MLA USDA / Agricultural Research Service (2005, April 1). 'Burton' Barley Fends Off Aphids. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 27, 2009, from



http://www.sciencedaily.com­ /releases/2005/03/050325175952.htm


Title: Re: WORLD HUNGER
Post by: Bianca on July 27, 2009, 11:22:31 am








                                          New Winter Hulless Barley Has High Protein






ScienceDaily
(Apr. 7, 2005)
— Blacksburg, Va.

– Virginia Tech's Small Grains Breeding Program is developing a new type of barley that lacks the fibrous covering. This new hulless barley offers producers an alternative grain for both traditional and new markets, including food, feed, and ethanol.

The price for winter barley has declined since 1996. Even though winter barley was an integral component of the region's cropping system, growers stopped producing it because it was not profitable. The Small Grains Breeding Program work is aimed at reversing this trend. It has focused on improving and diversifying barley's end-use quality.

"Traditional hulled barley cultivars that have higher starch and energy content, therefore, better feed quality, such as cultivars named 'Thoroughbred' and 'Price,' have recently been released by Virginia Tech," said Carl Griffey, professor of crop and soil environmental science at Virginia Tech. "Similar to wheat in appearance, ulless barley is significantly higher in starch content and significantly lower in fiber than traditional hulled barley," he said. Virginia Tech released the first winter hulless barley cultivar, "Doyce," in 2003.

The breeding program is developing both traditional soft red winter wheat cultivars and new cultivars with unique and high-value end-use characteristics such as higher protein content, quality, and white seed color. The Virginia Tech wheat cultivars "Tribute" and "Renwood 3260" have a unique protein quality, making them suited for specialty products. The cultivar "Pearl" is the first soft white cultivar developed and released from the program. Production of such high-value specialty grains offers producers an economic alternative to commodity markets.

The Small Grains Breeding Program continues to work on more new cultivars that help provide solutions to agriculture problems. Another of the projects aims to develop wheat and barley cultivars resistant to pests and so require fewer chemical inputs. For example, producers would obtain higher yields of a safer and higher quality grain that is resistant to Fusarium head blight, commonly referred to as scab. Scab problems have occurred on an annual basis during the past decade, and severe epidemics nearly devastated the crop in Virginia during 1998 and 2003. Scab-resistant wheat cultivars developed at Virginia Tech include "Roane," "McCormick," and "Tribute."


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Adapted from materials provided by Virginia Tech.
Email or share this story:| More Need to cite this story in your essay, paper, or report? Use one of the following formats:
 APA

 MLA Virginia Tech (2005, April 7). New Winter Hulless Barley Has High Protein. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 27, 2009, from



http://www.sciencedaily.com­ /releases/2005/03/050329125454.htm


Title: Re: WORLD HUNGER
Post by: Bianca on July 27, 2009, 11:24:07 am
(http://www.sciencedaily.com/images/2007/11/071130154659-large.jpg)

Hydoponics screening of barley.

(Credit:
Image courtesy of
University of Adelaide)


Title: Re: WORLD HUNGER
Post by: Bianca on July 27, 2009, 11:34:11 am









                                                    Crucial Barley Gene Identified






ScienceDaily
Dec. 4, 2007

— Adelaide scientists have identified the major gene responsible for boron toxicity tolerance in barley, allowing breeders to select with 100% accuracy barley varieties that are tolerant to boron.

The discovery was made by a research team led by Dr Tim Sutton of the Australian Centre for Plant Functional Genomics at the University of Adelaide’s School of Agriculture, Food and Wine at the Waite Campus.

The gene, known as Bot1, was first discovered in a boron-tolerant African barley known as Sahara.

Bot1 helps barley plants survive in soils containing high amounts of boron, common to much of Southern Australia, Asia and Africa. The gene works by preventing the entry and accumulation of boron in the plant, which causes the damage and limits growth.

Since the early 1980s scientists have known about the toxic effects of boron on cereal crops in southern Australia.

“Highly boron-tolerant barley landraces (crop varieties) had been previously identified, but nothing was known about the molecular basis of their tolerance,” says Dr Sutton. ‘We used genomics, which is a combination of modern molecular biology techniques, to identify the sequence of the boron-tolerant gene from Sahara, and the underlying molecular mechanism that provides the tolerance.”

“Boron is an essential micronutrient for plants but they require just the right amount, and boron toxicity and deficiency severely limit crop production worldwide,” says Professor Peter Langridge, CEO of the Australian Centre for Plant Functional Genomics. “This discovery means that farmers growing barley in high boron environments will be able to choose varieties of barley more suited to their soils, therefore minimising crop loss to this condition.”

Scientists can now work towards transferring this gene into commercially important barley varieties using either conventional breeding or transformation techniques.

The paper, Boron toxicity tolerance in barley arising from efflux transporter amplification (2007) by Tim Sutton, Ute Baumann, Julie Hayes, Nicholas C. Collins, Bu-Jun Shi, Thorsten Schnurbusch, Alison Hay, Gwenda Mayo, Margaret Pallotta, Mark Tester and Peter Langridge, appears in the 30 November issue of Science.

Boron toxicity appears in the tips of the older leaves first, turning them yellow with characteristic brown spots. It then extends down the leaf as toxicity increases until it causes tissue death and eventually plant death.

Barley is a main ingredient in the production of beer and confectionary. In Australian barley crops, yield has been estimated to be reduced as much as 17% as a result of boron toxicity.

Thirty per cent of South Australia’s grain growing soils are affected by high levels of boron.

The findings were published in the journal Science November 30, 2007.


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Adapted from materials provided by University of Adelaide.
Email or share this story:| More Need to cite this story in your essay, paper, or report? Use one of the following formats:
 APA

 MLA University of Adelaide (2007, December 4). Crucial Barley Gene Identified. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 27, 2009, from



http://www.sciencedaily.com­ /releases/2007/11/071130154659.htm


Title: Re: WORLD HUNGER
Post by: Bianca on July 27, 2009, 11:36:18 am









                                          New Winter Hulless Barley Has High Protein






ScienceDaily
(Apr. 7, 2005)
— Blacksburg, Va.

– Virginia Tech's Small Grains Breeding Program is developing a new type of barley that lacks the fibrous covering. This new hulless barley offers producers an alternative grain for both traditional and new markets, including food, feed, and ethanol.

The price for winter barley has declined since 1996. Even though winter barley was an integral component of the region's cropping system, growers stopped producing it because it was not profitable. The Small Grains Breeding Program work is aimed at reversing this trend. It has focused on improving and diversifying barley's end-use quality.

"Traditional hulled barley cultivars that have higher starch and energy content, therefore, better feed quality, such as cultivars named 'Thoroughbred' and 'Price,' have recently been released by Virginia Tech," said Carl Griffey, professor of crop and soil environmental science at Virginia Tech. "Similar to wheat in appearance, ulless barley is significantly higher in starch content and significantly lower in fiber than traditional hulled barley," he said. Virginia Tech released the first winter hulless barley cultivar, "Doyce," in 2003.

The breeding program is developing both traditional soft red winter wheat cultivars and new cultivars with unique and high-value end-use characteristics such as higher protein content, quality, and white seed color. The Virginia Tech wheat cultivars "Tribute" and "Renwood 3260" have a unique protein quality, making them suited for specialty products. The cultivar "Pearl" is the first soft white cultivar developed and released from the program. Production of such high-value specialty grains offers producers an economic alternative to commodity markets.

The Small Grains Breeding Program continues to work on more new cultivars that help provide solutions to agriculture problems. Another of the projects aims to develop wheat and barley cultivars resistant to pests and so require fewer chemical inputs. For example, producers would obtain higher yields of a safer and higher quality grain that is resistant to Fusarium head blight, commonly referred to as scab. Scab problems have occurred on an annual basis during the past decade, and severe epidemics nearly devastated the crop in Virginia during 1998 and 2003. Scab-resistant wheat cultivars developed at Virginia Tech include "Roane," "McCormick," and "Tribute."


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Adapted from materials provided by Virginia Tech.
Email or share this story:| More Need to cite this story in your essay, paper, or report? Use one of the following formats:
 APA

 MLA Virginia Tech (2005, April 7). New Winter Hulless Barley Has High Protein. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 27, 2009, from



http://www.sciencedaily.com­ /releases/2005/03/050329125454.htm


Title: Re: WORLD HUNGER
Post by: Bianca on July 27, 2009, 11:39:22 am
(http://www.sciencedaily.com/images/2009/07/090721091822-large.jpg)

Dr Robin Allaby examines barley in a field.

(Credit:
Image courtesy of
University of Warwick)


Title: Re: WORLD HUNGER
Post by: Bianca on July 27, 2009, 11:41:05 am









                  DNA Of Ancient Lost Barley Could Help Modern Crops Cope With Water Stress






ScienceDaily
(July 24, 2009)

— Researchers at the University of Warwick have recovered significant DNA information from a lost form of ancient barley that triumphed for over 3000 years seeing off: 5 changes in civilisation, water shortages and a much more popular form of barley that produces more grains. This discovery offers a real insight into the couture of ancient farming and could assist the development of new varieties of crops to face today's climate change challenges.

The researchers, led by Dr Robin Allaby from the University of Warwick's plant research arm Warwick HRI, examined Archaeobotanical remains of ancient barley at Qasr Ibrim in Egypt's Upper Nile. This is a site that was occupied for over 3000 years by 5 successive cultures: Napatan, Roman, Meoitic, Christian and Islamic.

The first surprise for the researchers was that throughout that period every culture seemed to be growing a two rowed form of barley. While natural wild barley tends to be two rowed most farmers prefer to grow a much higher yield 6 row version which produces up to 3 times as many grains. That 6 row version has grown for over 8000 years and that was certainly grown in the lower Nile over the same period as Qasr Ibrim was occupied. It was thought that despite the fact that the rest of Egypt used 6 row barley that the farmers of Qasr Ibrim were perhaps deliberately choosing to import 2 rowed barley but the researchers could not understand why that would be so.

The plant scientists were pleased to find that the very dry conditions at Qasr Ibrim meant that they were able to extract a great deal of DNA information from barley samples from the site that dated back 2900 years. This was far better than would normally be expected from barley samples of that age. This led to the researchers to a second and much bigger surprise. They found that the DNA evidence showed that the two rowed barley at the site wasn't the normal wild two eared barley but a mutation of the more normally cultivated six rowed barley that had changed into a two ear form that had continued to be cultivated for around three millennia.

Dr Robin Allaby said: "The consistency of the two-row phenotype throughout all the strata spanning three millennia indicates that the reason for the reappearance of the two row form is more likely to be genetic, not environmental. Consequently, the two-row condition has probably resulted from a gain of a function mutation at another point in the plants DNA that has also reasserted the two-row condition from a six-row ancestor"

"There may have been a natural selection pressure that strongly favoured the two-row condition. One such possible cause we are currently investigating is water stress. Qasr Ibrim is located in the upper Nile which is very arid relative to the lower Nile where six-row remains are found, and studies have shown that two-row can survive water stress better than six-row"

He concluded that: "This finding has two important implications. Such strong selection pressure is likely to have affected many genes in terms of adaptation. Archaeogenetic study of the DNA of such previously lost ancient crops could confirm the nature of the selection pressure and be very valuable in the development of new varieties of crops to help with today's climate change challenges. Secondly this crop's rediscovery adds to our respect for the methods and thinking of ancient farmers. These ancient cultures utilized crops best suited to their environmental situation for centuries, rather than the much more popular six rowed barley they used a successful low grain number yield crop which could cope far better with water stress."


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Journal reference:

1.Dr Robin Allaby, Sarah A. Palmer, Jonathan D. Moore, Alan J. Clapham and Pamela Rose. Archaeogenetic Evidence of Ancient Nubian Barley Evolution from Six to Two-Row Indicates Local Adaptation. PLoS One, (in press)
Adapted from materials provided by University of Warwick.
Email or share this story:| More Need to cite this story in your essay, paper, or report? Use one of the following formats:
 APA

 MLA University of Warwick (2009, July 24). DNA Of Ancient Lost Barley Could Help Modern Crops Cope With Water Stress. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 27, 2009, from



 http://www.sciencedaily.com­ /releases/2009/07/090721091822.htm


Title: Re: WORLD HUNGER
Post by: Bianca on August 13, 2009, 08:20:16 am









                                                'Trees of life' are vital food source 







BBC NEWS
Miranda Spitteler 
Aug. 1, 2009

The "famine food" of trees can keep drought-hit communities alive when all other food crops fail, says Miranda Spitteler. In this week's Green Room, she argues that policy makers need to recognise the important role trees play in providing emergency food aid.


 
 Communities living in countries most affected by food shortages have long known about the key role that trees can play in reducing the need for conventional aid
 
Food insecurity is a defining characteristic of life for many of the world's poorest people, exacerbated now by climate change and the rise in food prices.

Emergency food aid has been the staple of international responses to crises, such as drought and famine for decades.

However, it is much better that the emergency is addressed before it happens.

Farmer Arzouma Thiombiano from eastern Burkina Faso recalls how trees saved lives in the mid 1980s.

"Over 20 years ago, a big famine came but people escaped starvation by eating baobabs leaves and fruit," he says.

Communities living in countries most affected by food shortages have long known about the key role that trees can play in reducing the need for conventional aid.

Recognition of this by the West, and practical support for a localised tree-based solution is urgently needed.


Title: Re: WORLD HUNGER
Post by: Bianca on August 13, 2009, 08:22:32 am









Food for through

Widespread droughts across Africa have devastated crops this year. According to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), 30 countries around the world are in crisis and require help from overseas.

 
Fruits, leaves, wood and bark provide the vital resources for rural life

Trees: More than just carbon sinks


 
The effects of climate change are making droughts more of a norm than an exception. This is a pattern that places some of the most vulnerable communities in an increasingly precarious position when it comes to meeting basic food needs.

In Burkina Faso in West Africa, malnutrition affects nearly 40% of the rural poor. Climate change is further impacting on already fragile agricultural lands, and high food costs are affecting people's health.

By the time shortages and hunger in countries like Burkina Faso reach "emergency" levels and warrant aid; families, communities, agricultural practices and lands will have suffered greatly.

The G8 summit held in Italy at the beginning of July pledged $20 billion to support indigenous food production to alleviate the need for such emergency food aid.

What is missing from this pledge is any mention of the key role that trees can play.

"Conventional" crops are often not native and require expensive inputs, significant irrigation and land preparation in order to produce a successful harvest.

 
Food from trees can provide vital nutrition when other food crops fail 
This means that they are more vulnerable to droughts. For smallholder farmers in Africa's drylands, a failed harvest can mean months of malnutrition and hardship.

Trees, on the other hand, often survive when other crops fail. Commonly seen by the West as "famine foods", tree foods already form a significant part of daily diets across rural Africa.

Trees provide fruits, nuts, seeds, leaves, flowers, sepals, even sap, which can all be used as food.

Take Moringa oleifera - its leaves have more beta-carotene than carrots, more protein than peas, more vitamin C than oranges, more calcium than milk, more potassium than bananas and more iron than spinach.

Data shows that nursing mothers produce more milk when they add Moringa leaves to their diet.

The leaves can be dried and eaten during the hungry period, and animal fodder from trees is also vital in producing milk and meat.

This existing localised "emergency relief", is what the G8 funding must seek to strengthen.


Title: Re: WORLD HUNGER
Post by: Bianca on August 13, 2009, 08:24:06 am









Self-help



The fight against hunger - especially in drought-hit times - must target those at the epicentre of world poverty - smallholder farmers in rural Africa.

 
 It is time for the value of trees to be recognised at all levels internationally
 
They need support to adopt agro-forestry techniques, which boost soil fertility and provide tree food crops to supplement nutrition. They need the right environment to invest in their land, the ability to share information, and modest support at grass roots level.

Training and support can help villagers earn money from things that grow on trees.

This income can give them food-purchasing power when crops fail, and access to vital services, such as healthcare and education.

This approach can increase self sufficiency for both rural communities and national economies. It can increase environmental security, diversify livelihood options and reduce the vulnerability of poor households to climate change and external shocks.

It can bring real, sustainable long-term returns.

In Dongo, a village in Burkina Faso, Tree Aid's Village Tree Enterprise project aims to help villagers generate income from tree products. All the participants are women.

One of their husbands explained: "During the last drought period, when my granary was empty, my wife's income contributed more than 50% of the household's income."

Projects like these provide communities with the skills and support to manage their trees. They enable people like the group in Dongo to improve their own resilience to drought, crop failure, and higher food prices.

It is time for the value of trees to be recognised at all levels internationally.

Groups like the G8 must make a commitment to developing the enormous potential of agro-forestry. In so doing they present a joined up approach to resolving two of the key issues facing the world today.

They will simultaneously alleviate poverty and food insecurity for people who need it most, while tackling the impact of climate change by encouraging the protection and planting of trees.