Stories tagged: CropLife International

10 Ways Agriculture is Improving Lives in Asia

In this latest instalment of our “Supporter Spotlight” series, we take a trip to Asia to learn about the innovative projects Farming First supporters are working on all over the continent to improve food security and farmers’ lives.

1. Fintrac: Beating Drought with Smart Water Management in Cambodia

When the rains did not come in 2015, one group of farmers in the northeastern province of Pursat not only survived, but thrived. They had banded together to form a Water User Group, that managed farmer access to the Polyum Canal. By maximising efficiency and eliminating conflict around water use, and using good agricultural practices taught by the Cambodia HARVEST program, group members have increased their productivity from an average of 2,500 kilograms per hectare to more than 4,000. As a result, their household incomes have increased by 536 percent! Read more >>

2. GAIN: Meet the Wheatamix Women in India

Through funding from the Bestseller Foundation, GAIN is working in the states of Karnataka and Bihar in India to improve the nutrition and lives of groups of semi-literate women. These women are trained to run their own factories producing a quality blended complementary food product called ”Wheatamix” in Bihar and “Shakhti Vita” in Karnataka. This complementary food product, fortified with vitamins and minerals, has the potential to reach thousands of women, adolescents and children in the region. Read more >>


3. CropLife: An Indian Farmer Perspective on Biotechnology

In this interview with CropLife International, Balwinder Singh shares his experience of planting an insect-resistant strain of cotton. “I was lucky to be part of the trial when Bt cotton came to India, and when I saw the benefits of this technology; I was the first person to say, this is what is going to save us,” he said. “I took a gamble, and took an additional 50 hectares of land on lease to sow Bt cotton.  It has paid off and my family is enjoying a decent living.” Read more >>

4. IPNI: Healthier Soils Make Indian Farmers More Maize

Access to water has created a challenge for many Indian farmers, increasing interest in alternative crops to flooded rice. Working in West Bengal, research staff at the International Plant Nutrition Institute have focused on developing a rice-maize rotation as an alternative to rice to address the water challenge. Research showed that adding potassium, phosphorus, sulphur and zinc in order to grow maize effectively added US$80 – $290/ha to the farmer’s income. Not only was the maize yield increased, but similar responses were recorded in the rice in these on-farm trials. Read more >>

5. CNFA: Building a Network for Agro-Input Services in Bangladesh 

CNFA implements the USAID-funded Agro-Inputs Project (AIP) to improve the knowledge of and access to quality agricultural inputs for farmers in Bangladesh. CNFA provides trainings and technical assistance on business management and ethics, basic agronomics, safe use and handling of pesticides and other related topics to 3,000 agro-input retailers. Of this, 300 women-retailers are specifically targeted. These agro-input retailers are expected to serve 1 million smallholder farmers, impacting more than 5 million individuals across 20 southern districts of Bangladesh, generating more than $100 million in sales. Read more >>

6. Livelihoods: Mangroves Restore Agricultural Land in Indonesia 

In 1987, Northern Sumatra had 200,000 hectares of mangroves. Today, less than half of that amount remains, with only 83,000 hectares standing. This Livelihoods project has restored mangrove forests, and as a result, increases the safety of the local population. Replanting coastal mangroves significantly buffers coastal communities from future tsunamis akin to that of the 2004 tsunami. Mangrove forests also help to restore vital agricultural land. Additionally, this project generates new sources of economic income. Local villagers are able to increase their revenues by selling the by-products of the mangroves such as fish, mollusks, batik dye and honey. Read more >>


7. HarvestPlus: Iron Pearl Millet Enriches Diets in India

Iron deficiency is rampant in India, affecting 7 out of 10 children. It impairs mental development and learning capacity, increases weakness and fatigue, and may increase the risk of women dying during childbirth. HarvestPlus is working with partners to promote varieties of pearl millet rich in iron, to help combat malnutrition. Read more >>

8. iDE: Saving Time and Earning Money Through Water Access in Nepal 

Rural villages in Nepal lack several basic services, but the primary issue for many is access to water. Multiple-Use Water Systems (MUS) are an improved approach to water resource management, which taps and stores water and distributes it to households in small communities to meet both domestic and household agricultural needs. In addition to dramatically decreasing the workload of women and girls, MUSs provide benefits in health and sanitation, as well as enabling communities to improve their decisions on the allocation of water resources. “After we got the water it was easy to grow vegetables,” says Kamala Pariyar, a rural farmer in Dikurpokhari. “I used to ask my husband for money to buy basic things. Now, by selling the vegetables, I can earn 600 rupees a day. I have enough money.” Read more >>

9. World Vision: Mangrove Planting Revitalizes Philippine Fishing Community

When a fishing village in the western part of Leyte in the Philippines was struggling to catch enough to feed their families, World Vision helped to implement a mangrove planting initiative. Each family was provided with an average of 1,000 mangrove stalks to plant in the area near their house, to provide a safe habitat of various species of fish, where they can lay their eggs without being disturbed by double net fishing. There is now abundant fish for catching once more, and the community is protected from the risk of typhoons. Read more >>


10. IFA: Combatting Iodine Deficiencies Through Fertigation

Globally it is estimated that 2.2 billion people in the world are at a risk of iodine deficiency, which causes a wide range of physiological abnormalities, mainly related to defective mental development and brain damage. The content of iodine in food depends on the iodine content of the soils in which crops are grown. In Xinjiang Province, in the North West of China, the soil is particularly poor in iodine with an associated high infant-mortality rate. A project was put in place to supply the water irrigation system with iodine using an iodine fertilizer dripping technique, called fertigation. With this technique, the iodine from the treated water is absorbed by the soil and progresses through plants, animals and humans that eat the iodine-rich plants. Thanks to this project, rates of infant mortality halved and local livestock production increased by 40% in the first year! Read more >>

Do you have an inspiring story about Asian agriculture? Tweet @FarmingFirst and tell us about it!

14 Ways Agriculture is Reducing Poverty

“Only by putting the poorest in charge of their own lives and destinies, will absolute poverty and deprivation be removed from the face of the earth.”

These words came from Sir Fazle Hasan Abed, 2015 winner of the prestigious World Food Prize, which was announced this summer. To celebrate the prize giving in Des Moines this October at the Borlaug Dialogue, we are delving into the ways our supporters around the world are using agriculture as a means to empower the poorest in the latest instalment in our “content mash-up” series.

Read on to find out how farmers are being helped to graduate to more sustainable livelihoods… Continue reading

Economist Debate on Biotechnology and Sustainable Agriculture

All of this week and next, The Economist is running an online debate under the theme ‘Biotechnology and sustainable agriculture are complementary, not contradictory.’

During the live debate, readers will hear from both sides of the motion, with Pamela Ronald, Professor of Plant Pathology at the University of California, defending it, whilst Charles Benbrook, Chief Scientist at the Organic Center, is against.

Today, Howard Minigh, CropLife International CEO, is featured as a guest blog in the debate.

Today, more than ever, farmers are burdened with many challenges: feeding an increasing world population; producing crops despite extreme growing conditions brought on by climate change; preserving and improving scarce natural resources such as water, soil, energy, forests and air—while also stewarding the land for future generations.

To meet all these challenges, farmers must adopt sustainable agricultural practices. It is critical that farmers have access to a full range of farming tools, including everything from training in farming techniques, to machinery and equipment, to choice in inputs and seeds.

For the full article click here.

The public can go to the Economist Debates site and add their own comments and cast their vote on the discussion.

CropLife International Helps Build Consensus on Biodiversity While UN Talks Make Landmark Deal

grassymanOn the final day of the Convention on Biological Diversity meetings that took place in Nagoya, Japan over the last couple of weeks, an agreement on safeguarding threatened animals and plants was achieved.

During the two weeks of the tenth meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP10), representatives from the 193 nations of the UN gathered to address the unprecedented loss of biodiversity that is seriously compounded by global warming.

The 20 goals of the newly adopted Nagoya Protocol include increasing the area of protected land in the world from 12.5% to 17%, and the area of protected oceans from 1% to 10%, by 2020.

Parallel to the UN session, CropLife International has run three Town Hall-style events with farmers, agricultural experts, researchers and policymakers, as part of a global campaign to engage audiences worldwide in a discussion on how agriculture can protect and preserve our natural resources. The Biodiversity World Tour travelled across three continents, starting off in Iowa, USA, then heading to Brussels, Belgium, before finishing off in the same place as the UN biodiversity discussions, in Nagoya.

Here are some highlights from the tour:

Tom Vilsack, US Secretary of Agriculture, reiterated the importance of science-based regulation and the need to maintain a diverse choice of technologies for farmers.

As we confront the dual challenge of feeding the world while maintaining biodiversity…we must utilize all of the appropriate tools in our toolbox.

Secretary Vilsack maintained that achieving the goals of food security and protecting biodiversity “requires formulation of careful national and international policies and requires the advancement of agricultural research and practices. Above all, these solutions must be built on strong science.”

In a video message, EU Environment Commissioner, Janez Potočnik, warned that decision-makers must act now, and stressed the dependence of food production on a foundation of biodiversity.

Food and agriculture do not exist in a vacuum. Both depend on biodiversity for the fertile soils and the varieties of plant and animal resources it provides.

The panel was optimistic that greatly increasing food needs can be met while protecting biodiversity. The panel drew particular attention to the environmental costs being borne in the developing world due to the deceleration of European productivity, and warned that it is imperative not just to farm for food but also to farm for biodiversity. Prof. Harald von Witzke, Humboldt University Berlin, stressed,

We need to produce more on the acreage already being farmed. “Even rich countries such as those in the European Union need to increase productivity.

At the final event in Nagoya, the panel discussed how the aspirations of the UN and the CBD could be successfully implemented.

The Town Halls have been broadcast live online, with those not present at the talks being able to ask the panel questions via Twitter, Facebook and email. For links to the recorded videos, visit the Biodiversity World Tour’s website.

CropLife International Begins Its Biodiversity World Tour

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Leading up to the Convention on Biological Diversity in Nagoya, Japan at the end of October, CropLife International are organising a three-stop world tour to discuss the role of sustainable agricultural practices in safeguarding biodiversity.

The Biodiversity World Tour starts tomorrow in Iowa, USA, and then heads east to Brussels, Belgium next week, before ending up in Nagoya in two weeks time.

  • Iowa: 12 October: 10am to 11.30am Central Time

In Iowa, three farmers – one from North America, one from South America and the other from Asia – will discuss the challenges they face in preserving biodiversity on their farms. Special guest Tom Visack, US Secretary of Agriculture, will also be speaking.

  • Brussels: 20 October: 4pm to 5.30pm Central European Time

At the Brussels event, agricultural researchers will discuss the technologies and strategies that can help farmers ensure the protection of biodiversity, with the additional pressures of a growing population and a changing climate.

  • Nagoya: 27 October: 9.30am to 11am Central European Time

The final event in Nagoya will look at the solutions to meeting the biodiversity preservation goals as set by the UN and the Convention on Biological Diversity.

Each event will be broadcast live online on the Biodiversity World Tour website. Individuals can also interact with the discussions both prior to and during the event, by submitting questions, either via the website’s Ask A Question forum, or via posting on the CropNews Facebook wall, or sending a question on Twitter by using the hashtag #BWT2010.

Farming First in China Dialogue: What Would You Tell the G20?

Farming First have contributed to a virtual roundtable on China Dialogue’s website where experts and commentators have been invited to debate the top priorities for world leaders in Toronto this weekend. Speaking on the behalf of the Farming First coalition, Howard Minigh, President and Chief Executive of CropLife International insisted on the need for putting food security first for sustainable development and called on the G8 and G20 to provide support to existing food security initiatives.

The proliferation of aligned, but ultimately separate, food-security initiatives over the past two years suggests a number of roles for the G8 and G20 to play, as core funders of international development.

Farming First, a sustainable-development coalition, believes that G8 and G20 leaders should help proactively guide policymakers to coordinate their efforts to prevent overlapping, competing or disjointed activities in agriculture. Our 129 supporter organisations have compiled a comprehensive “Guide to Food Security Initiatives” ahead of this year’s G8 and G20 summits.

Alongside the need for cohesion, Howard Minigh spoke of the need for collaboration between all stakeholders to effectuate these food security policies successfully.

In these times of austerity we urge world leaders to demand greater transparency on the delivery of these billions and on the impact they are having. Lastly, we urge their governments to engage with all relevant stakeholders, notably farmers, scientists, engineers and industry, on turning enlightened food-security policies into effective and sustainable action on the world’s farms.