Posts Tagged ‘Latin America’

May21

2007-2008 Food Crisis: Causes, Responses, and Lessons Learned

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By Jameson Spivack

The world food crisis of 2007-2008 caused a substantial rise in the cost of food, especially staple foods such as rice, wheat, and corn. This rise in price had a devastating effect on hungry people in the developing world.

When food prices rise, poor people in developing countries are hurt the most. (Image source: IFPRI)

Between 2005 and 2011, world prices for rice, wheat, and maize rose 102 percent, 115 percent, and 204 percent, respectively, according to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). With price increases, people with less disposable income must spend a larger percentage of their earnings on essential staple grains, and less on other food and non-food items. This can have a significant impact on nutrition.

In seven Latin American countries, this increase in price led to an average 8 percent decrease in the amount of calories consumed. Before the crisis, 35 percent of households in Ecuador received an adequate amount of calories; afterwards, only 22 percent were receiving healthy levels of calories. In developing countries, if prices rise 50 percent across the board, and there is no rise in income, iron intake will decrease by 30 percent, according to the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI). In the Philippines, this 30 percent decrease in iron consumption would mean that only 5 percent of women have adequate levels of iron.

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Jul28

UPI Article- Land Grabs Threaten African Food Security, says Worldwatch

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Check out this article on the threat of land grabs to African food security and the State of the World 2011: Innovations that Nourish the Planet report.

Massive land transactions are taking place in Africa and Latin America, funded by international investments, including hedge and pension funds. These multi-million dollar “land grabs” are taking place in African farming communities without farmers’ knowledge. The Worldwatch Institute calls for more oversight and fairer deals for farmers, because money from these transactions is not making it to the hands of the poor and hungry. “If all governments capably represented the interests of their citizens, these cash-for-cropland deals might improve prosperity and food security for both sides. But that’s not often the case. It’s critical that international institutions monitor these arrangements and find ways to block those that are one-sided or benefit only the wealthy.”

Click here to read the article.

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.

Jul09

Afterthought for some, daily struggle for others

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By Matt Styslinger

Our busy modern lives—reliant on easily available meals and a steady flow of electricity and gas for light and comfortable temperatures—allow us little chance to ponder the origins of the resources we consume for our daily needs.

Solar cookers provide an easy, less fuel intensive, and environmentally sound way to prepare food. (Photo credit: Izaak Van Melle)

Now imagine spending up to four hours a day gathering those resources, and that consuming them for your daily needs emitted toxic smoke directly into your home, endangering the health of you and your family.

This is the reality for more than half of the people in the world who burn wood and other biomass—including charcoal, agricultural waste, and animal dung—for cooking, boiling water, lighting, and heating. Those with limited resource options are in need of simple, clean, and inexpensive alternatives, like solar cookers, to help them meet their most basic needs.

Inhaling smoke from open fires and traditional stoves in poorly ventilated houses and other indoor environments kills 1.6 million people every year. The upper respiratory diseases caused by inhaling open fire smoke are the biggest killers of children under 5 years old in the developing world. The smoke also contributes to respiratory infection, glaucoma, lung cancer, and other debilitating health conditions. Collecting biomass spurs deforestation and consumes time—time that could be spent in school or earning much needed income. Poor health, environmental degradation, lack of education, and insufficient incomes are among the root causes of poverty.

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Dec21

USAID’s Knowledge Management Impact Challenge

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By Matt Styslinger

The United States Agency for International Development (USAID), in collaboration with KM4Dev—a network of international development practitioners interested in knowledge management (KM) and knowledge sharing issues—has invited practitioners to submit case studies of effective KM strategies for the KM Impact Challenge.

The challenge is open to institutions, projects, and individuals and asks participants to submit their stories of what ‘works’ from Africa, Asia, and Latin America by January 30, 2011. It hopes to facilitate the discovery, sharing, and improvement of KM methods and the impacts they have. Stories submitted by December 31, 2010 are eligible to be awarded a US$1,000 professional development grant.

Case studies will be peer-reviewed, and five authors will receive a travel award to attend the KM Impact Challenge unConference and share their stories on March 17, 2011 in Washington, DC. All entries will be featured online. The challenge offers an opportunity for practitioners to raise the visibility of the work they are doing and contribute to a collective base of knowledge and good practice.

Matt Styslinger is a research intern with the Nourishing the Planet project.