Issues 69, December 2004
Policy Settings for Food Security
Food security is not just about producing enough food. It also requires that everyone can afford food of suitable quality. Policy settings need to recognise the range of factors that can prevent people from achieving a secure and adequate food supply.
Food, Water and War
A well-fed population is one of the best ways to stop war and terrorism.
Crops and Food Security
Three crops produce 70% of humanity’s food calories. Feeding a growing population can only be done if we can increase our productivity of these and other crops.
Racing Against Time to Save Our Green Gold
Rare varieties of major crops often have important traits that can be bred into more widely grown strains. Yet these precious landraces often only exist in remote parts of the world, and must be found quickly before they become extinct.
Why Is 2004 the International Year of Rice?
Almost half of the world’s population depends on rice for their survival. Populations in rice-growing areas are rising faster than production and we need to turn it around. This is why 2004 was named The International Year of Rice.
World Food: How to Meet the Growing Need
Genetic modification of crops has been going on for centuries. New techniques enabling the identification and transfer of genes with specific properties hold great potential for feeding a growing population.
Genetically Engineered Crops Can’t “Feed the World”
Industry and the US government falsely claim that genetically modified crops and foods can “feed the world”. This unethically exploits the sickness and death of starving people by raising hope of GM solutions where none exist.
Tropical Forests: A Lifeline for Millions
If tropical forests are treated with respect they can provide vital food and materials for the communities around them. However, to use them sustainably we need to understand both the forests and the needs of the local population.
Landcare for Development
The lessons of the Australian Landcare movement are proving of great benefit to developing countries. The export of Australian knowledge can do as much to feed the world as our production.
The Role of Livestock in Food Security
Livestock can play a valuable role in achieving greater security for many poor farmers, particularly because they can act like a bank. They can be sold when money is needed, not just when the crop is harvested.
Food Choice Matters
Raising animals for food uses huge amounts of water and crops that could have been eaten directly. It’s the most inefficient form of food production, and usually very environmentally damaging as well, yet we often ignore these problems when considering the threats to the security of our food supply.
Sustaining Fish as a Food Supply
Most of the world’s oceans have been overfished, and production is falling while demand is rising. Aquaculture should be able to provide the solution, but sustainable fish farming has not always proved easy.
Water and Food Security: Is There a Crisis?
Most of our water is used to grow food, so a secure water supply is essential for sustainable agriculture. One crucial challenge is to work out how much water we need.
Arsenic Contamination of Water
Arsenic in water supplies poses a threat to millions of people across the world, poisoning not only drinking water, but the food it is used to grow.
The Effect of Climate Change on Agriculture
The food we grow depends on the local climate. When this changes rapidly it will not be easy for us to adapt in time.
The Role of Permaculture in Attaining Global Food Security
Clever, locally appropriate solutions can often increase food production while benefiting the environment and producing saleable products. Permaculture can prove an all-round winner in developing countries if the right knowledge is available.