In Case You Missed it: This Week in Review

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This week we highlight a groundbreaking report by the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI), which reveals the heavy disease burden of zoonoses, or human-animal transmitted diseases, for one billion of the world’s poor livestock holders. The report found that because of their high animal and human population densities, India, China, Bangladesh, Ethiopia, and Nigeria are most affected by zoonotic diseases—in addition to being the countries with the least capacity to manage them.

Photo credit: Bernard Pollack

We also reported on Tuesday’s DuPont Food Security Forum, where the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) launched the Global Food Security Index. The Index was developed to address the need for “specific metrics to illustrate what food security looks like at the local level, country by country.” Several food security experts spoke at the forum, including Ellen Kullman, chair and CEO of DuPont; Leo Abruzzese, Director of Americas and Global Forecasting at EIU; Dr. Rajiv Shah, administrator of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID); and Howard Buffet, founder of Howard G. Buffett Foundation.

And we discuss a recent New York Times article about India’s agricultural policy and its implications for food security throughout the country. India ranks second in the world in agricultural output, and the sector employs 52 percent of the labor force. Yet one-fifth of its people are malnourished—double the rate of countries like Vietnam and China.

In our new Saturday Series, we profile Bruce Melton, an independent civil engineer focusing primarily on environmental issues and climate change awareness. Bruce discusses his work in conveying complex issues of climate science to government officials and the general public.

Further highlights from the past week:

Our Indigenous livestock of the week is the Kuri, a rare cattle breed found along the shores of Lake Chad Basin. Although well-adapted to their natural habitat, the Kuri are very vulnerable to fluctuating conditions outside of the Lake environment, and ILRI approximates that there are only 10,000 Kuri left. In our innovation of the week, we highlight small plot intensive farming, or SPIN farming. Farming intensively on small areas of land, particularly in urban areas, may offer a sustainable solution to many of the U.S. food system’s ills.

And our What Works post advocates rebuilding degraded ecosystems through ecological farming methods. According to the UN Environment Programme, some 60 percent of the world’s ecosystems have been degraded over the past 50 years. Innovative farmers from Zimbabwe to Indonesia are producing more food by using agriculture to rebuild ecosystems and turn degraded land into productive farms.

Now it’s your turn: What were your favorite posts from the week? What do you hope we’ll write about next week? Let us know in the comments!

To purchase State of the World 2011: Innovations that Nourish the Planet please click HERE. And to watch the one-minute book trailer, click HERE.

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