Food and Agriculture Organization FAO

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Sims B.,3 Bourneside | Heney J.,Food and Agriculture Organization FAO
Agriculture (Switzerland) | Year: 2017

The importance of conservation agriculture (CA) is discussed in the context of producing food for a growing population while, at the same time, conserving and improving the natural resource base: sustainable crop production intensification. CA requires mechanization, and the necessary equipment may be beyond the reach of the majority of smallholder farmers, especially in sub-Saharan Africa. A logical solution to this situation is to provide CA mechanization services from private sector entrepreneurs. These will be well-equipped with appropriate CA equipment and will usually benefit from specific training on the technical aspects of CA machinery operation and on the business skills needed to run a profitable venture. The technical skills to be reinforced include: equipment selection, calibration of planters, seeders and sprayers, field operation, maintenance and repair. Business skills needed include: market research and feasibility studies, business planning, calculation of operational costs, partial budgets, break-even points and cash flows. The case is made for local manufacture to reduce the costs of machinery acquisition and to encourage local adaptation. Start-up costs are discussed together with the options of obtaining finance. Guidelines for marketing and managing the mechanization service provision business are developed. These include the importance of contracts, work planning, regular maintenance schedules and record keeping. Finally the most appropriate vehicle for delivering the training and sustaining support is considered. Formal training courses are a good starting point, but can be expensive to organize and execute. Individual counselling from extension sources is a viable option when the quality of the service is high enough. Study groups of involved entrepreneurs should be encouraged and supported to overcome the problems that will inevitably arise in new business ventures. © 2017 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.

Faures J.-M.,Food and Agriculture Organization FAO | Bernardi M.,Food and Agriculture Organization FAO | Gommes R.,European Commission - Joint Research Center Ispra
International Journal of Water Resources Development | Year: 2010

Managing uncertainty related to climate variability has always been at the core of all agricultural activities. For farmers across the world, the concept of average rainfall is often less important than its dispersion and distribution during the cropping season. In most developing countries, farming practices are based on risk-mitigation strategies that do not allow for the development of highly productive agriculture, but mitigate the risks associated with the variability of climate and of other factors like markets or freshwater availability. The paper reviews the concept of average precipitation and discusses the stochastic nature of climate variables. It addresses the relationship between climate and crop production and related farmers' behaviour, and discusses the different tools and approaches that are available to anticipate, mitigate or compensate for the negative effects of climate variability in agricultural production. © 2010 Taylor & Francis.

Derpsch R.,Rolf Derpsch | Friedrich T.,Food and Agriculture Organization FAO | Kassam A.,University of Reading | Hongwen L.,China Agricultural University
International Journal of Agricultural and Biological Engineering | Year: 2010

In 1999 no-tillage farming, synonymous of zero tillage farming or conservation agriculture, was adopted on about 45 million ha world wide, growing to 72 million ha in 2003 and to 111 million ha in 2009, corresponding to an growth rate of 6 million ha per annum. Fastest adoption rates have been experienced in South America where some countries are using no-tillage farming on about 70% of the total cultivated area. Opposite to countries like the USA where often fields under no-tillage farming are tilled every now and then, more than two thirds of the area under no-tillage systems in South America is permanently not tilled; in other words once adopted, the soil is never tilled again. The spread of no-tillage systems on more than 110 million ha world-wide shows the great adaptability of the systems to all kinds of climates, soils and cropping conditions. No-tillage is now being practiced from the artic circle over the tropics to about 50olatitude south, from sea level to 3,000 m altitude, from extremely rainy areas with 2,500 mm a year to extremely dry conditions with 250 mm a year. No-till farming offers a way of optimizing productivity and ecosystem services, offering a wide range of economic, environmental and social benefits to the producer and to the society. At the same time, no-till farming is enabling agriculture to respond to some of the global challenges associated with climate change, land and environmental degradation, and increasing cost of food, energy and production inputs. The wide recognition of no-till farming as a truly sustainable system should ensure the spread of the no-till technology and the associated practices of organic soil cover and crop rotation, as soon as the barriers to its adoption have been overcome, to areas where adoption is currently still low. The widespread adoption globally also shows that no-tillage farming cannot any more be considered a temporary fashion or a craze; instead largely through farmers'own effort, the system has established itself as a farming practice and a different way of thinking about sustainable agro-ecosystem management that can no longer be ignored by scientists, academics, extension workers, farmers at large as well as equipment and machine manufacturers and politicians.

Marongwe L.S.,Ministry of Agriculture | Kwazira K.,Food and Agriculture Organization FAO | Jenrich M.,Food and Agriculture Organization FAO | Thierfelder C.,International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center | And 2 more authors.
International Journal of Agricultural Sustainability | Year: 2011

This paper highlights the limiting factors of agricultural production in Zimbabwe and presents conservation agriculture (CA) as a potential solution to address many of these challenges. CA, based on the three principles of minimum soil disturbance, crop residue retention and crop rotations, targets low soil fertility, moisture deficits and low management standards through the use of soil-fertility-enhancing technologies (precision fertilizer application, crop rotations, sequencing and interactions), improved moisture use efficiency and higher standards of agronomic management practices. The paper also explains the role of CA in natural resource conservation as increasing productivity will reduce the land under crop production and increase the area under natural vegetation. Trends in the development of CA in the past five years and its current status in the country are explained, with the roles of different stakeholders outlined. Evidence on the impact of CA on both food security and the environment is presented. In conclusion, the paper looks at the various factors that may affect the spread of CA to different agro-ecological zones in the country. © 2011 Earthscan.

Yagi N.,University of Tokyo | Clark M.L.,Maureen and Mike Mansfield Foundation | Anderson L.G.,University of Delaware | Arnason R.,University of Iceland | Metzner R.,Food and Agriculture Organization FAO
Marine Policy | Year: 2012

ITQs have not yet been introduced by the Government of Japan. In coastal areas, fishery cooperative associations have traditionally played an important role in managing fisheries through self-imposed rules and peer-monitoring systems. Recently, however, the economic competitiveness of Japanese fisheries in the international market is being questioned. In this paper, a detailed examination of the pros and cons of the current system in Japan is compared to the current fishery management measures of Iceland and the United States, where attaining economically or biologically efficient outcomes may be prioritized in making fisheries management decisions. For many coastal fisheries in Japan, maintaining a management scheme in which stakeholders play an active role in determining fisheries measures seems more relevant if their priority is to maintain the stability of coastal communities and equity of stakeholders. Intensive dialog among stakeholders would be necessary to identify shared objectives of their fishery operations and to make decisions to establish specific steps toward the goal of increasing economic efficiency, environmental sustainability, or stability of communities and equity of stakeholders. © 2011 Elsevier Ltd.

Peset F.,Polytechnic University of Valencia | Ferrer-Sapena A.,Documentacion e Historia Del Arte | Subirats-Coll I.,Food and Agriculture Organization FAO
Profesional de la Informacion | Year: 2011

We show the first steps of the initiatives Open data and Linked open data as sources of innovation in the field of information management. As the Open Access movement (OA) and the Open Archives Initiative (OAI) implied some years ago, these two initiatives constitute a shock that reverberated in technological innovation and the structure of the Web. We present a global overview of Open data and national projects related to government data. Four Spanish local or regional administrations have already begun to release their data: in chronological order, Asturias, Euskadi, Zaragoza and Catalonia. In the case of Linked open data we also provide a global picture, with 203 registered projects. We describe in more detail the work that the W3C is currently carrying out in the field of libraries. Finally we present the consecuences these new developments can have for librarianship and information science.

Iannotti L.,Washington University in St. Louis | Muehlhoff E.,Food and Agriculture Organization FAO | Mcmahon D.,Food and Agriculture Organization FAO
Journal of Development Effectiveness | Year: 2013

This review examined milk programmes affecting nutrition in developing countries through multiple pathways. Four programme typologies were identified: dairy production and agriculture, school-based, fortified milk and milk powder and blended foods. Evidence was rated by inference level with plus signs indicating positive design features: probability (1), plausibility (2) and adequacy (3). Six of the 24 studies were rated 1, demonstrating a causal link between milk intervention and nutrition outcome. High-quality evaluations and cost-effectiveness analyses are needed. Milk programming that capitalises on its nutritional advantages, positive public perception and complementary poverty reduction strategies shows potential for improving nutrition globally. © 2013 Copyright Taylor and Francis Group, LLC.

Traill W.B.,University of Reading | Mazzocchi M.,University of Bologna | Shankar B.,School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London | Hallam D.,Food and Agriculture Organization FAO
Nutrition Reviews | Year: 2014

The Second International Conference on Nutrition, organized by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations and the World Health Organization, will take place in November 2014. In 1992, the First International Conference on Nutrition declared, "Hunger and malnutrition are unacceptable." Twenty-two years later, it is timely to revisit the state of global nutrition and examine the forces that have brought change to diets worldwide. Calorie availability has increased throughout the world, even in the least-developed countries, where per capita availability has grown by 10%. As a consequence, the proportion of undernourished people has fallen, yet obesity has emerged as a major public health concern, primarily in developed countries but also among the growing middle classes in middle- and low-income countries. Globally, the nutrition transition has been affected by increased intakes of livestock products, processed foods, and fast foods. These changes are most readily explained by economic growth, urbanization, and globalization. International trade and liberalization of investment have been the key policy drivers of dietary change. © 2014 International Life Sciences Institute.

Herforth A.,Food and Agriculture Organization FAO | Ballard T.J.,Food and Agriculture Organization FAO
Global Food Security | Year: 2016

How agriculture can improve human nutrition is a topic of debate. Recent reviews demonstrate little impact on nutritional status but do not critically examine the choice of appropriate outcome indicators. This paper reviews which nutrition impact indicators are currently used in agriculture-nutrition projects, and highlights priorities and gaps in measurement. Many project evaluations are statistically underpowered to observe impact on nutritional status, but appear to be powered to observe impacts on food consumption and dietary quality, which we conclude are an appropriate level of impact of agriculture-nutrition projects. To improve the evidence base, there is a need to develop indicators of outcomes that are not being fully measured, including dietary quality and food security, women's empowerment, health environments, and food environments. © 2016

Zezza A.,Food and Agriculture Organization FAO | Tasciotti L.,Food and Agriculture Organization FAO
Food Policy | Year: 2010

Urban agriculture may have a role to play in addressing urban food insecurity problems, which are bound to become increasingly important with the secular trend towards the urbanization of poverty and of population in developing regions. Our understanding of the importance, nature and food security implications of urban agriculture is however plagued by a lack of good quality, reliable data. While studies based on survey data do exist for several major cities, much of the evidence is still qualitative if not anecdotal. Using a recently created dataset bringing together comparable, nationally representative household survey data for 15 developing or transition countries, this paper analyzes in a comparative international perspective the importance of urban agriculture for the urban poor and food insecure. Some clear hints do come from our analysis. On the one hand, the potential for urban agriculture to play a substantial role in urban poverty and food insecurity reduction should not be overemphasised, as its share in income and overall agricultural production is often quite limited. On the other hand, though, its role should also not be too easily dismissed, particularly in much of Africa and in all those countries in which agriculture provides a substantial share of income for the urban poor, and for those groups of households to which it constitutes an important source of livelihoods. We also find fairly consistent evidence of a positive statistical association between engagement in urban agriculture and dietary adequacy indicators. © 2010 Elsevier Ltd.

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