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Win a trip to South Africa!

Last post Sun, Dec 26 2010 5:05 by allspice5. 12 replies.
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  • Thu, Dec 17 2009 10:01

    Win a trip to South Africa!

    We've just launched a poll this morning offering the chance to win a trip to South Africa.

    As the world's leaders meet in Copenhagen, we're asking how the planet can feed itself.

    Specifically, the poll asks:  Of the factors listed in the poll below, which ONE do you believe will have the biggest positive impact on feeding
    the world?

    The five factors are:

    1. Removal of trade barriers
    2. Government intervention in food production
    3. Investment in R & D
    4. Uptake of new technologies and genetic modification
    5. Broader expertise through education and training

    You can vote on the poll and enter the prize draw here

    AND please feel free to post any thoughts you may have on how the planet can feed itself in the future on this thread...

  • Thu, Dec 17 2009 11:53 In reply to

    Re: Win a trip to South Africa!

    Last year, the International Assessment of Agricultural Science, Technology and Development published a report “Agriculture at the Crossroads”, which looked at this very issue. The report was commissioned by the World Bank & the UN FAO and drew upon the work of over 400 scientists from around the globe. http://www.agassessment.org  

     

    Possibly the most important aspect of this report is that it looked at the needs and solutions from the perspective of the developing countries themselves rather than that of developed countries looking for opportunities to benefit from what they have to offer.

     

    Unfortunately, this poll is only likely to reflect the effectiveness of both governments and corporations in promoting their own agenda rather than an understanding of the complex issues at stake.

     

    I have just tried 2 searches on the Farmers Weekly website – one for “IAASTD” (no results found) and one for “GM” (several hundred hits relating to genetic modification). Farmers Guardian fared only marginally better.

     

    Surely the only real conclusions that can be drawn from a poll like this are that the farming press should be more pro-active in reporting independent science-based information such as the IAASTD report and less eager to herald press releases coming from industry (eg that GM is essential to feed the world) without providing an informed balance?

     

  • Thu, Dec 17 2009 12:31 In reply to

    • motley
    • Top 150 Contributor
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    • Joined on Mon, Mar 30 2009
    • Suffolk

    Re: Win a trip to South Africa!

    Leveller:
    report “Agriculture at the Crossroads”,

    Many thanks for this. Most interesting, only a quick glance but it is possible to see that the 20th century may very well have been the american century. What is for sure the 21st century belongs to China. I guess the real trouble with this wonderful work is it ain't been done by practical farmers and so will not come with the comensurate wisdom ordained by being done by practical men, of experience.

     Many thanks again for this leveller. I wonder are you related to Winstanley?

    Leveller:
    Surely the only real conclusions that can be drawn from a poll like this are that the farming press should be more pro-active in reporting independent science-based information

    Hmmmmmmm yes, but as I have found, many folk on these threads don't want this, they want their practical knowledge gleaned from generations of keeping it in the family to be codified, verified and assurred.  As with the last poll 94% of poll agreed that agriculture is solution to global warming. 

    When responding to my writing, they tell me how bad it is. As if I needed to be told that, I know it is. It is like the professor who lecturered me on nitrogen in 1974. I asked him what work he had done with clover. He laughed at me, as did my peer group (there was over 100 undergraduates reading agriculture then in our year!). "What is this clover you talk of boy, is it a weed?" was his reply. I will never forget that. I wonder if they are still laughing at me?

    When they see that this report, you bring to our attention, was edited by Watson of uea fame, they will dismiss it oh so simply. Did you see Watson on newsnight the other night have a run in with a yank?

    Farming is for us, all.
  • Thu, Dec 17 2009 13:26 In reply to

    Re: Win a trip to South Africa!

     

    I agree with the sentiments but I think you have got the wrong Watson. IAASTD was chaired by Bob who coincidently had a run in with another opinionated Yank on TV last night but kept his temper better.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b00pft7c/The_Environment_Debate/ 

  • Thu, Dec 17 2009 14:11 In reply to

    • motley
    • Top 150 Contributor
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    • Joined on Mon, Mar 30 2009
    • Suffolk

    Re: Win a trip to South Africa!

    Thanks for this.

    I wonder if we can use and abuse Oscar Wilde. "Once is happenstance. Twice is coincidence. Three times is enemy action." ?

    Farming is for us, all.
  • Thu, Dec 17 2009 15:05 In reply to

    Re: Win a trip to South Africa!

    No 4 will probably have the biggest impact, with fruit having a longer shelf life and the ability to grow different crops better in marginal areas.  Whether it'll be positive is another thing?

    However, I'd like to think that a little of all five factors would help towards the World being able to feed it self.

     Anyway its milking time so I'm off. 

  • Thu, Dec 17 2009 15:51 In reply to

    Re: Win a trip to South Africa!

    Julian Gairdner:
    AND please feel free to post any thoughts you may have on how the planet can feed itself in the future on this thread...

    Get some guns / designer diseases and kill 3bn people. Lets face it, fertiliser is essentially a fossil fuel / mined resource which will run out.

    Food will be grown in vats and processed into basically tofu. Get to like it - wont be much good soil left when there are 12bn people running about.

    Not for print please.
  • Thu, Dec 17 2009 23:20 In reply to

    • andy h
    • Top 500 Contributor
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    • Joined on Sat, Oct 18 2008
    • Fordingbridge, Hants United Kingdom.

    Re: Win a trip to South Africa!

     While all of these points are important, in the African context, training at the local level by locally experienced people has consistantly shown the best results.Training peasant and small scale commercial farmers in sustainable agriculture and environmental management such as the Dinbangombe project in Zimbabwe, and the commercial farmers in Kwara, Nigeria training local students, and mentoring peasant farmers, are both showing results out of all proportion to the imput. Large, expensive projects, especially by the UN are mostly a disaster.

    http://sangacattle.webs.com/
  • Fri, Dec 18 2009 0:07 In reply to

    Re: Win a trip to South Africa!

    andy h:
    Training peasant and small scale commercial farmers in sustainable agriculture and environmental management such as the Dinbangombe project in Zimbabwe, and the commercial farmers in Kwara, Nigeria training local students, and mentoring peasant farmers, are both showing results out of all proportion to the imput.

    Some interesting views coming out of this, but do we honestly believe the answer to feeding the world lies at the hands of those countries that can barely feed themselves at present?

    Talk to those nations that are currently the largest food exporters and you realise they're gearing up to do more.

    BUT how will climate change affect things? Here in the comfortable climate of the UK we simply don't realise just how much of a knife edge farming's on in Australia and Canada, for example - two of the world's major grain producing nations.

    Maybe technology will provide the answer. But even technology can't get away from the fact that food production requires the right amount of water at the right time, and for many parts of the world, that simply isn't happening...

  • Fri, Dec 18 2009 18:15 In reply to

    • andy h
    • Top 500 Contributor
      Male
    • Joined on Sat, Oct 18 2008
    • Fordingbridge, Hants United Kingdom.

    Re: Win a trip to South Africa!

     The point is that the food needs to be produced where the need is, and there are vast acreages of land either fallow or under utilised, especially the now deserted farms in Zimbabwe.

    The diaspora of Zimbabaweans has spawnes a mini green revolution in the neighbouring states of Zambia and Mocambique, where the political climate is favourable for agricultural expansion, Africa has a vast untapped potential,especially where irrigation can be utilised (linked to hydro-electric schemes?).

    http://sangacattle.webs.com/
  • Thu, Dec 24 2009 6:16 In reply to

    Whisper [:-*] Re: Win a trip to South Africa!

    Of the factors listed in the poll below, which ONE do you believe will have the biggest positive impact on feeding
    the world?

    The five factors are:

    1. Removal of trade barriers
    2. Government intervention in food production
    3. Investment in R & D
    4. Uptake of new technologies and genetic modification
    5. Broader expertise through education and training
     

    Julian, and other forum members ...

    With reference, the selected five (5) factors pertaining to positively impacting of feeding the world, I consider the 'Removal of trade barriers' would have a more immediate impact, conditional upon this being done irrespective of who is doing the dragging and kicking.

    The alternative options are also consistent with the notion of increasing food production and that they also pend universal agreements, (irrespective of who is dragging and kicking).  It can be envisaged the relative activities pertaining to each of the factors to increase the production of food would be shared more universally/readily post a consensus to remove trade barriers, (indeed, factors 3, 4 & 5 are conceptually relative to the notion of 'exchangability') ... thus, it is my consideration the removal of trade barriers would pre-empt such opportunities for further exchange.  In summary, the removal of trade barriers would be akin to 'getting the horse in front of the cart", as such.  

    However, such idealism pends the unlikelihood of the global power-elites benevolently genuflecting to the 'common good' ... and universally so!

    One only has to consider the range of agenda taken to, and from, Copenhagan recently ... (of course, this assumes one does accept the, as espoused, fix is and can be based on some, or other, monetary fix, (the same being a transparent con that accords with self-interests of the power-elites, that is, they're going to gain from carbon trading, and 'we the people' are going to pay ... and, in the this ironic context, many more, inclusive of many who reside in 'supposed' affluent societies, will personally/economically end up being further disenfranchised with regard to food, (shelter, clothing, services, and etcerata). 

    Further, (regards environmental concerns) ...

    Contemporary lifestyle factors, specifically, all human activity relative to increasing/increased urbanisation causally, (as distinct from correlatively, I believe), underlies the negative influences of humans of the environment.  Consider the following two very basic ponderings: 1). how many calories of energy is there actually contained within a can of diced tomato compared to the calories of energy consumed to produce, process, package and and distribute said can of diced tomato ... and, 2). an A340 Airbus takes off from Sydney and flies directly to Perth equates to how many units of bovine flatulence, (a surcharge on fares, does this actually ameliorate the impact of the environment ... recite, if you will, the as espoused economic logic ... as others pass it off as some reality).

    Hmmm, if only our elected members actually represented 'we the people'; starting at the local government level.  The general extent of the political disenfranchisement of 'we the people' of Australia reflects how remote any notional ideals of a more inclusive world are.  The social in our society is being torn asunder ... fair go, mate: no way!   I have been a witness to the social and economic fabric of Australian society, generally, being gradually dismantled by the power-elites since around Hawke and Keating's Accord MkIII ... and, as if Howard gave, or Rudd gives, a damn about other than those that keep them in power ... that is, the power-elites in concert with the concentrated ownership of the media, (owned by fellow power-elites) ... and, of course, the associated setting and mediation of feux agenda.

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

  • Fri, Jan 1 2010 7:31 In reply to

    Re: Win a trip to South Africa!

    The single most important factor in feeding the worlds population is the promotion of stable and just government. This includes international law and treaties, but the primary problem is the unstable and corrupt government of individual nations. This can be illustrated by the contrasts between North and South Korea and between the Zimbabwe 2010 and Zimbabwe 1990.

    There are already sufficient natural resources and technology to feed the current world population and more. The obstacles are the economic incentives for production on one hand and the the poverty of the hungry on the other. The economic incentives for production need not be artificial subsidies. In fact, that has often shown to be counter-productive. It is simply self-evident that, whatever production system is considered, a farmer will only continue to produce if his income from sales covers his costs by an adequate margin over the medium term. All the benefits of technology, education, national infrastructure and trade agreements are denied to a producer who is denied good governence. Negotiated land reform, independent judiciary, the banishing of corruption, avoidance of war, just trade, are all changes which require courageous and unselfish national leadership. And support from the international community.

    Poverty of the potential consumer of food production is the other side if the same coin. People denied peace from war, or racial equality, property rights, commercial justice, an honest beurocracy, are also denied the freedom to engage in even the most basic commerce that would achieve resilience to recover from unexpected events. As an example we could pick any one of thousands of peacefull villages on the African Continent which never make the headlines. Justice and stability are successfull provided by a traditional eldership system backed by a national government of benign neglect. But the cashless village economy has kept chronic starvation off the list of concerns for centuries.

    Nations which have stepped out on the road to high technology economies, but fallen off the cliff of corruption and bad governance, are condemned to wallow at the bottom of the cliff unless they can produce leaders of character who can be encouraged by an international community that sets the right example. That example is to place a priority on integrity in international relationships rather than discount it's vallue for the sake of short term domestic political or economic advantage. And farmers in all nations have a part to play in this perocess.

  • Sun, Dec 26 2010 5:05 In reply to

    Re: Win a trip to South Africa!

     We hear much in the news about how the world needs to embrace #'s 3, 4, and 5, but when did a lot of food in developed countries ever feed the world's poor and hungry?  Big business would have us believe that they will save the world from hunger.  They would also have us believe that we as farmers are much more profitable because of their wonderful technologies.  The fact is, there are people starving in some places in this world at the same time as there are "gluts" in other places, bringing depressed prices that threaten the longevity of food production in developed countries.  $20 per acre TUA's, $30 per acre herbicides, and $15 per acre fungicides are really helping to make food more affordable for the hungry!  

     I also wonder if agriculture is really being subsidized, when compared to labor, and farm inputs.  If there was really such a thing as free trade, it wouldn't just apply to certain products or services.  I have no idea how it compares in other countries, but in Canada, farm commodities are generally priced in export position, meaning that anything that is considered to be an "export market" has freight to port deducted from the port price.  Domestically used product can be purchased at that reduced price, even though it doesn't actually make the trip to port, resulting in the equivalent of a subsidy to every person who uses those products. That is a subsidy that comes directly from farmers' pockets.  Besides that, domestic labor is not subject to competition from third world labor rates, resulting in the equivalent of another subsidy which is paid at the cash register by all Canadians, including farmers.  Because of that disparity, there are products that, in the past, were made here but are almost exclusively imported now, because of cheaper imports. Will food be the next casualty?

     The only possibility for feeding the poor and hungry in this world is to narrow the gap between the wage/price scales in developed countries and poor countries.  We could continue to "rebate" the "subsidy" paid by farmers to everyone else, or develop a system of calculating those imbalances, and adding a correction to domestically used products that would be paid back to farmers to allow them to continue to feed the world's poor at a price some might be able to afford.  Regarding genetic modification, these products are supposedly tested.  So was Thalidomide ... time is a great revealer of past mistakes.  Another thought ... if every landowner, rural and urban, grew more garden and less lawn, how many hungry people could be fed with what we would no longer consume here?

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