Food and agriculture blogs

76 - 100 of 106 blog posts
  • Indonesia: Reshaping the debate on small-scale farmers

    Bishwadeep Ghose 17 February 2012

  • A farmer tending his sunflowers in Kenya. Credit: Abbi Buxton

    A day in the life of a commercial consultant

    William Van Bragt 14 February 2012

    Find out how IIED, a Kenyan flower business and a consultant get flowers grown by smallholder Kenyan farmers onto the shelves of a UK supermarket.

  • Suzanne Fisher's picture

    West African farmers heard at UK Houses of Parliament

    Suzanne Fisher 4 February 2012

    It might seem obvious that African farmers, who have successfully fed their families and, in turn, much of rural Africa, would be the first to be consulted on what agricultural research would benefit them. But a series of citizen juries, carried out previously in West Africa and facilitated by IIED researchers and partners, have revealed that much African agricultural research doesn’t meaningfully involve farmers or reflect their priorities.

  • Suzanne Fisher's picture

    Bloggers: Have you joined a virtuous circle yet?

    Suzanne Fisher 7 December 2011

    “It is a call for a fundamental reorientation of how societies work and govern themselves.” That’s what one blogger Jeff Kelly Lowenstein has said about IIED’s new book Virtuous Circles: Values, systems and sustainability by Andy Jones, Michel Pimbert and Janice Jiggins. Launched two weeks ago, we asked you to tell us what you thought. Thanks to those of you who have blogged already – and if you haven’t, it’s not too late. 

  • Suzanne Fisher's picture

    Calling all bloggers: Join a virtuous circle

    Suzanne Fisher 22 November 2011

    We need to talk about ketchup. We all love the red stuff. But we really need to talk about it. Analysis of the steps involved in processing ketchup – from farming the tomatoes through to packaging – to transporting and retailing that symbol of American mass consumerism reveals an alarming fact. To produce it requires a mind-boggling 150 separate processes, across several continents, according to research cited in a new book by the International Institute for Environment and Development. 

  • Emma Blackmore's picture

    Patently obvious: intellectual property rights could support small producers

    Emma Blackmore 14 November 2011

    The humble potato is a great example of how Quechua communities in the Andes have maintained crop biodiversity.

  • Ethel Del Pozo-Vergnes's picture

    Gastro(eco)nomic revolution in Peru

    Ethel Del Pozo-Vergnes 16 October 2011

    A gastronomic boom sweeping through Peru reflects the country’s economic growth and optimism.

  • Defining fairness: the experiences of a Richard Sandbrook scholar at IIED

    Dugald Macdonald 20 September 2011

    My being at IIED is rather fortuitous. I completely missed the first advertisement to apply for this position when it went round on the college mailing list, but luckily I was saved when the deadline for applications was pushed back a week to accommodate late applicants. I was one of those late applicants. In the space of a few short weeks I was notified that I had been shortlisted and that I was invited to interview for the Richard Sandbrook Scholarship. I was just thrilled to have been offered an interview so you can imagine my joy when I was told hours later that I had been selected for the position.

  • Sian Lewis's picture

    Fair trade: still centred on smallholders?

    Sian Lewis 27 June 2011

    To what extent do approaches such as fair trade, corporate social responsibility and inclusive business models allow the private sector to meet commercial objectives while also reducing poverty and empowering small-scale farmers? This was the question posed at the latest in a series of IIED and Hivos ‘provocations’ held at the European Parliament in Brussels last week (22 June).

  • Krystyna Swiderska's picture

    “Protecting and promoting the rights of indigenous people benefits us all”

    Krystyna Swiderska 9 June 2011

    He gave the example of indigenous peoples in Peru who are responding to climate change by reintroducing native potato varieties and so are “helping to conserve the earth’s biodiversity”. “Indigenous peoples have been living a ‘green economy’ for centuries,” he added — economists should look to old practices in indigenous communities for new ways to achieve sustainable development.

  • Does the development community focus too strongly on smallholders? (Credit: Flickr/United Nations Photo)

    Fast track out of poverty: farm labour or smallholder?

    Sian Lewis 2 June 2011

    When IIED and Hivos launched their ‘provocation’ seminars late

  • Sian Lewis's picture

    NGOs: friend or foe to markets for the poor?

    Sian Lewis 6 April 2011

    The latest ‘provocation’ seminar from IIED and Hivos, held in Paris last week (30 March), began by asking who are the contents and discontents of development approaches to make markets work for the

  • Climate adaptation: old wine in new bottles?

    Andrew Kroglund 29 March 2011

  • Are small-scale farmers there to feed themselves and large-scale farmers there to feed the world? Credit: Flickr/Peter Casier

    Can small-scale farmers feed the world?

    Sian Lewis 15 March 2011

    The world’s food systems are being squeezed from all sides: rising populations and shifting diets are increasing the global demand for food, while food production is increasingly compromised by climate change and land degradation.

  • Camilla Toulmin's picture

    Food security in 2050: how can we make it fairer and more sustainable?

    Camilla Toulmin 3 February 2011

    A new report from the United Kingdom finds that securing food supplies in 2050 means growing more food, on the same land, with fewer impacts. That requires shifts in policy and practice that we can achieve using a mix of politics, science and market forces.

  • Abbi Buxton's picture

    A shopping trolley for change?

    Abbi Buxton 2 February 2011

    As a consumer you have the potential to promote development through your buying habits. But how effective are you?

  • Emma Blackmore's picture

    Carbon and labels: an unhappy marriage?

    Emma Blackmore 11 January 2011

    Agriculture is just one of the sectors in which carbon labelling — the labelling of a product to show how much carbon (and other greenhouse gases) have been emitted during its ‘lifecycle’ — is being used to show how individual products contribute to climate change. The logic behind applying carbon labels to agriculture seems sound enough: agriculture accounts for 10 to 12 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions and produces much of the food we eat and the products we buy. Finding a way to tell consumers how much individual agricultural products contribute to this should encourage them to choose those products with the lowest carbon footprint and help make agriculture more sustainable. But the truth is that it is very difficult to provide accurate carbon labels for agricultural products. And carbon labelling can impact farmers in the developing world in ways that don’t support development.

  • Camilla Toulmin's picture

    Climate change winners and losers in Sahel

    Camilla Toulmin 22 December 2010

    Earlier this month, I spent a week in Mali, going back to the villages which I have studied for the past 30 years. While international climate negotiators met in Cancun, Mexico, for the UN summit on climate change, I was keen to catch up on how climate change was affecting livelihoods in the West African Sahel.

  • Emma Blackmore's picture

    You are what you (m)eat

    Emma Blackmore 7 October 2010

    Understanding the impacts of meat and dairy production

    The production of meat and dairy – particularly industrial and large-scale production systems - have numerous negative social and environmental impacts. Nevertheless these large-scale systems have been credited with producing 'affordable' animal protein for consumers. But a closer analysis of what affordable really means – and for whom – is vital.

  • Sub Saharan African woman drying fish. Photo: Patrick Dugan via WorldFish on Flickr

    The missing 't'

    Essam Yassin Mohammed 13 July 2010

    Seeking an easy way to prepare fish at home, many families in the developed world turn to fish fillets. Grilled, sautéed or fried, the fish is ready to eat in minutes, having been pre-scaled, pre-gutted, deboned and pre-packaged before it arrives at the local supermarkets. But what happens to those fish scraps that are stripped away?

  • Bill Vorley's picture

    Has agriculture been a winner in the economic downturn?

    Bill Vorley 14 June 2010

    While the downturn has hit many economic sectors hard, have farmers prospered?

  • Emma Blackmore's picture

    Turning the spotlight on agriculture

    Emma Blackmore 7 May 2010

    Have we glimpsed real signs of economic recovery?

  • The case of the coca leaf

    Anais Hall 1 April 2010

    The war on drugs in Mexico has intensified. A recent article in the Economist reports that drug-related killings have increased by almost 1000 since last year. Moreover, innocent people in Mexico are becoming victims, as drug gang shootings are no longer just targeting police and rival gangs.

    Mexico and the US are working to eradicate the problem by investing US$1.3 billion in anti-drug aid, though only US$331 million is to be invested in social intervention. Yet the lack of intervention through social welfare programmes may be the underlying cause of the rapid growth of drug gangs and related violence.

     

  • How to manage our fish and chips

    Anais Hall 23 March 2010

    ‘Mind-withering stupidity’ is how UK writer George Monbiot characterised the CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species) decision not to protect bluefin tuna.

    The ‘absence of a ban’, he went on to say, ‘ensures that, after one or two more seasons of fishing at current levels, all the jobs and the entire industry are finished forever, along with the magnificent species that supported them’.

  • The Nazca's folly: a pattern that won't go away?

    Rachel Godfrey Wood 15 March 2010

    Some might say that archaeology is all about potsherds and old bones. But digging into the past can be a way of uncovering patterns of human behaviour with real relevance for our own time. And recently a group of archaeologists did just that, by unearthing an earlier culture that is an uncomfortable echo of our own.

    A study by this University of Cambridge group claims that the Nazca — a people famed for creating the gigantic ‘Nazca Lines’, patterns on a Peruvian desert that can only be seen from a plane — precipitated their own decline through excessive deforestation.

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