In this month's New Agriculturist...
A new report compiled by Sir Nicholas Stern for the UK government has once again raised the profile of climate change as the most serious challenge facing the global community. Without serious investment to control carbon dioxide emissions, the global economy is at risk and, he points out, it is the poorest countries who will suffer the most.
The Earth Policy Institute has warned that the increasing diversion of US grain harvests to ethanol production could threaten livestock and poultry industries in maize-importing countries across the world, from Japan to Egypt and Mexico. For sub-Saharan Africa, where maize is often a staple food, the implications for human food security could also be grave. Meanwhile, continued concern over use of fossil fuels and their contribution to climate change is further stoking the debate on alternative energy sources. Focus on looks at the potential offered by energy crops and animal waste to the world's poor farmers, and how the impacts associated with large-scale production of biofuels could be avoided.
Choosing the right crops and technologies is key. In Print includes a review of Ian Scoones' latest book, which discusses how political and business interests have controlled the direction of biotech development in India, drawing out lessons with global significance. Perspective comes from China, where the degraded Loess Plateau has been restored by local communities and lessons learned have been shared with African audiences. Similarly, in Developments we report on how a successful watershed-based approach to natural resource management in India is being transferred to Rwanda.
In News, discouraging reports on progress towards meeting the millennium development goals in Africa, and on the future of smallholder farming in Latin America are balanced with encouraging developments in the fight against desertification, the ability to diagnose plant disease and the empowerment of women in India. In Thailand, subject of Country Profile, agriculture remains key despite the country's industrial progress, whilst the future direction of agricultural extension in Africa is discussed in Points of View. Finally, the importance of good agricultural practice is demonstrated by Chinese grape farmers in the Picture Feature.
As this year draws to a close, we look forward to some exciting developments in 2007, including a new look for New Agriculturist.
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