The New Agriculturist - Reporting Agriculture for the 21st Century


This healthy crop - like many others - was destroyed in December by flash floods. (credit: Busani Bafana)For many years hailed as southern Africa’s bread basket, Zimbabwe’s agriculture has been on a steady decline, shrinking by 50 per cent in seven years, triggering a wave of food shortages and pushing up the prices of food stuffs. Political and economic stability and security of land tenure are key to agricultural revival.

Demand for food is expected to double in the developing world in the next 25-50 years (credit: World Bank)A UN-backed report has called for radical reform of agriculture in order to meet the challenges of food insecurity, climate change and environmental sustainability.

Livestock are an important source of income to the poorAt a meeting convened by the Pro-Poor Livestock Policy Initiative (PPLPI) of FAO, William Easterly, guest speaker and critic of the impact of development aid, acknowledged that the initiative appears to have found a more constructive way to facilitate pro-poor policy and institutional change.

'Tsiru' chocolates produced at a community-run chocolate factory (credit: Felipe Carazo)Indigenous subsistence farmers in La Amistad International Park on the border of Panama and Costa Rica are receiving help in growing organic cocoa through traditional polyculture techniques, which provides income while contributing to the protection of biodiversity and watersheds.

Agricultural exports could become the driving force of economic growth in AfricaNews about Africa often makes bleak reading but there is a more positive side to African development, which is often overlooked. At a forthcoming meeting, African business leaders will have an opportunity to catch the world's attention by highlighting the latest trends, technologies and best practices that are transforming Africa's agribusiness sectors.

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May 2008