emerging blog

Scaling up Agricultural Adaptation through Insurance

Insurance can help increase farmers’ resilience and capacity to adapt. Innovations and learning in this field are growing quickly, providing concrete responses to urgent needs. 

The CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS), in partnership with the Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation (CTA) and Syngenta Foundation for Sustainable Agriculture (SFSA), is hosting a conference on "Scaling up Agricultural Adaptation through Insurance” during the UNFCCC SBSTA week in Bonn. The event will showcase CCAFS’ own work on index-based insurance as well as experiences from around the globe

 

Understanding Addis Ababa: Financing for development

2016 was the first full year of implementation of the Addis Ababa Action Agenda. Efforts have begun at all levels to mobilize resources and align financing flows and policies with economic, social and environmental priorities in support of all three dimensions of sustainable development. The recently launched advance unedited draft of 2017 report of the Inter-agency Task Force on Financing for Development Addis Ababa Action Agenda calls on businesses to apply their creativity and innovation to solving sustainable development challenges, and invites them to engage as partners in implementation of the sustainable development agenda. 

I could not overlook the following acknowledgment: “While the large preponderance of private business activity remains profit driven, a growing number of institutions have double or triple (social and environmental) bottom lines.” 

As the report highlights, it is important to recognize that the private sector includes a wide range of diverse actors, from individual households and international migrants to multinational corporations. And that Private business activity, investment and innovation are major drivers of productivity, employment and economic growth.

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Raise a Glass for World Milk Day!

When you picture a glass of milk in a child’s hand in Canada, it might not lead you to think about the one billion people around the world who derive their livelihoods from the dairy sector. In fact, livestock, including dairy, is often a portal of entry to agriculture and food security for many small families who may not have access to land to farm. A cow that provides fresh milk or a chicken that produces eggs, can be a way, often for women to provide regular food to their family and ultimately to earn an income. Over 37 million dairy farms are female-headed making them a major part of dairy production systems and think about the multiplying impacts on their families.

Also, the importance of the dairy sector in economic terms is not limited to producing milk. There are many great examples of projects working to help create value addition through milk. It can be a simple as having a cooling facility to allow milk to get to market in programmes like those run by TechnoServe and Heifer International. In one East African programme alone, they are working with 136,000 smallholder farming families in Uganda, Kenya, and Tanzania to sustainably improve their livelihoods by 2018, while stimulating income growth for an additional 400,000 secondary beneficiaries.

Another example is India where milk is largely produced by smallholders. The Indian government led a “White Revolution” that has helped increase smallholder production so now the per capita availability of milk has increased from 176 grams per day in 1990-91 to 322 grams per day by 2014-15. It is more than the world average of 294 grams per day during 2013. This is incredibly important in a country where milk is a vital source of protein.

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Canada’s new investment to support food safety and a reformed Codex Alimentarius

During the G20 Agriculture Ministers’ Meeting held in Berlin on January 22, the Canadian Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, Lawrence MacAulay, met with the Director General of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), Dr. José Graziano da Silva, and announced a contribution of $1 million to support international bodies that develop the standards for food safety and plant and animal health. This new investment will go towards scientific and technical work of the Codex Alimentarius and the International Plant Protection Convention, supported by the FAO, and the World Organization for Animal Health in their efforts to promote a safe, fair and science-based trading environment. This will be added to Canada’s ongoing financial voluntary and membership contributions to the FAO to support its work to improve global food security, agriculture, fisheries, and forestry. 

The importance of the Codex Alimentarius relies on the crucial role it plays in enabling trade in agricultural products that benefits both producers and consumers. One of its responsibilities is to set standards in terms of international pesticide Maximum Residue limits (MRLs). Recognition of the importance of the Codex’s role in establishing MRLs has led to recent efforts by its members to improve its functioning and, since 2007, the time of the MRL elaboration process was reduced from over 10 years to approximately 2 years. Yet, it is still too much. 

Ideally Codex MRLs should be established soon after a new active ingredient or new use is approved by a national authority and in use on crops entering international commerce. For this reason, delays in the establishment of MRLs, or the failure to develop them, and the resulting lack of harmonisation affect badly market access, productivity and farmer livelihoods. MRLs are needed to make registered products useful to farmers who wish to trade, or must trade. If there is no Codex MRL in place, importing countries can apply zero or near-zero default tolerances for residues of products.

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Global Dialogue Series: Eliminating Food Loss and Waste (FLW)

One-third of all food produced for human consumption is lost or wasted, and it costs around $940 billion dollars each year to the global economy. Food Loss and Waste happens through the entire value chain, but it is greater nearer “the fork” in the developed regions and nearer “the farm” in developing regions. Moreover, FLW contributes around 8% of the global GHG emission which in the context of scale, would be the third largest contributor of GHG behind China and USA. 

I recently participated in the Global Dialogue Series on Food Loss and Waste hosted by the UN Global Compact. The series are online discussions, informing the development of short briefs designed to support business engagement in support of food security, nutrition, and sustainable agriculture in the context of the 2030 Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goal 12.3 –Reduce per capita global Food Waste and Loss by 50% by 2030.  

The invited panel for the series on FLW were stakeholders from the UN Global Compact, the Food and Agriculture Agency (FAO), and the World Resource Institute (WRI). The private sector was engaged as well with participation from Tesco, Campbell, and Danone who are leading the charge on FLW through concrete strategies and actions. 

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Time for Action on Food Waste

After spending the last 10 years meeting the needs of consumers and clients in the Food Service industry, my first visit to the United Nations at their headquarters in New York to participate in Food and Agriculture Organizations (FAO) conversation on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) was stimulating and inspiring.

We are facing some of the most important decisions related to our collective future on one of the most rudimentary pillars of our society, food & and its security.  The fight to achieve food security, malnutrition and end hunger is one of the greatest challenges facing the world today and in the coming years. Globally, close to one billion people are undernourished and a further billion are overweight or obese.

Rising populations, diminishing resources and deteriorating environments only raise the stakes. In a world where one third of the food we produce is thrown away, we cannot help but ask ourselves the question: Could food wastage and hunger be an expression of the same problem?

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Let's be BOLD on International Women's Day

Today we are celebrating International Women Day #IWD2017. This year’s theme is #BeBoldForChange! Being bold is indeed what women need to do to take their destiny in their own hands. 

Change will not happen organically and it will not happen in our lifetime if all of us women don’t question every day the status-quo.

WE have to be bold to refuse the archaic roles assigned to women in the family and in the professional life.

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Feed the Truth

Depending on where you were born, when you think about famous Mexican figures different names might come to mind: El Chapulin Colorado, El Santo, Benito Juárez, Emiliano Zapata or Frida Kahlo. You might know some of them, but you may not have heard of Daniel Lubetzky. The son of a Holocaust survivor, Daniel is a Mexican-American entrepreneur, author,activist, founder and CEO of KIND Healthy Snacks (KIND). 

On February 15th, Daniel Lubetzky announced the launch of Feed the Truth. Established as an independent organisation, Feed the Truth will seek to improve public health by revealing and counteracting the food industry’s undue influence in shaping nutrition policy and ability to disseminate biased science, in addition to other activities that are detrimental to public health. “We’re eager for Feed the Truth to step in and hold all of us in the food community accountable for what we say and claim,” said Lubetzky.

To ensure Feed the Truth’s independence from KIND, Lubetzky will remove himself entirely from all activities and governance of the new organisation. Feed the Truth’s independent Board of Directors, once established, will seek to ensure consumers have access to unbiased nutrition information.

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Happy Agriculture Day Canada!

Think about what you did today, yesterday or even last week. Did you order a burger at lunch? Pour milk in your morning coffee? Walk past a tree? Whether you thought about it or realized it at all, agriculture touches us daily. It is all encompassing and includes everything from the raising of livestock, the growing of crops, to the maintaining of the soil.

The cultivation of land for food dates back, in our recorded history, to the 15th century when Samuel de Champlain, the “Father of New France,” came to Canada and first noted that the Huron and Iroquois nations were cultivating the land and growing foods such as corn, potatoes and squash1. As the east was developed, settlers were able to move west and soon indications of small scale farms were evident, with the first coming up near Lake Athabasca, Saskatchewan in 1778. Since then, the growth of agriculture across the country has been immense.

Today, according to statistics produced by the Canadian Agriculture and Agri-Food System, it is estimated that 2.2 million Canadians have jobs that fall under the umbrella of agriculture, that’s every 1 in 8 jobs! Now, this doesn’t mean that these individuals are out in the field everyday. It could mean anything from animal nutritionist, researcher, or land agent to seed sales. The agriculture sector of Canada contributes approximately $100 billion to our annual GDP, that’s more than some countries overall GDP2.

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Trading is the Spice of Life

The Spice Islands. Malabar. These names evoke historical ties to distant lands, exotic tastes, and thrilling adventures. The spice trade was the foundation of globalism and multiculturalism before we talked about such things.

These traders have always been ethnically diverse, creative and co-operative to ensure the spices are shared around the world. So it was a great thrill for me to join them at the International Spice Conference in Kerala, India. Kerala is one of the biggest spice producing regions, and I will note the food is every bit as wonderful as one might imagine from a land where turmeric, cumin and curry leaves are common.

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