Stories tagged: UK

Building Roads in Africa, Helping Farmers Access Markets

Poor infrastructure impedes access to resources and markets.

For example, in Africa, less than 50% of the rural population lives close to a four-seasons road. Transport can cost often constitute 50-60% of marketing costs in these situations.

The World Bank estimates that in India, fruit and vegetable post harvest losses amount to 40% of total production, or the equivalent of one year of fruit and vegetable consumption in the UK.

Skylarks in the UK: Protecting Biodiversity

Innovative solutions can also help protect biodiversity – for example in the UK, farmers were encouraged to leave small plots of bare soil in their growing crops for skylarks to nest.

The results were very positive: in fields where skylark plots had been made, skylark fledglings increased by 49% .

No-till also helps protect food sources for birds and other wild animals  because the waste grain is not buried and this provides a good food source for many animals. The mulch resulting from the cover crops is also rich in insects and worms, an important food source for wildlife.

‘Perfect Storm’ of Food, Energy, and Water Shortages by 2030, Predicts UK Chief Scientist

Professor John Beddington, the UK Government’s Chief Scientist, has warned that the world’s population is facing a series of threats to livelihoods due to insecure access to food, energy, and water.

The BBC News coverage notes that:

demand for food and energy will jump 50% by 2030 and for fresh water by 30%, as the population tops 8.3 billion…

Beddington warned that these issues must be tackled as soon as possible to prevent shortages globally.

The Farming First plan aims to create a comprehensive framework for addressing the very issues that Beddington highlights, and many more.  Creating a locally relevant yet globally connected system for agriculture will be key to minimising the potential impacts which arise from reduced access to these fundamental resources.