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Agriculture and Rural Development

The greening (?) of agriculture in Latin America

John Nash's picture

También disponible en español

For many of us, the word 'agriculture' evokes bucolic images of lush fields of grain and pastures populated by peacefully grazing cows. In this light, the notion of "greening agriculture'' seems almost oxymoronic; could anything be greener than this?

Well, maybe not in terms of color, but in terms of environmental impact, agriculture has a sizable footprint. In many countries, including large areas of the high-income countries, those lush fields of grain used to be forests. And the fertilizer that keeps those fields so green is mostly nitrogen based, generating nitrous oxide, which – kilo per kilo – has an impact on global warming several hundred times that of carbon dioxide. And those cows – how to put this delicately? – have greenhouse gases coming out of both ends! (Methane emitted by livestock is over 20 times as potent a greenhouse gas as carbon dioxide.) And (surprise!) crops and livestock need water –lots of it. Agriculture accounts for around 70 percent of water use worldwide.

Africa: In search of the Brazilian economic miracle

Susana Carrillo's picture

También disponible en español
 

África: en busca del milagro económico brasileño

 
During the second half of 2011, relations between Africa and Brazil continued to flourish as part of the historic trade, cultural and economic rapprochement of the two economic juggernauts. Specifically, African governments asked for more financing from the South American country to implement development projects, according to Brazil’s National Bank of Economic and Social Development (BNDES).

Key reasons for intensifying this relationship include the fact that Brazil is now the world’s sixth-largest economy (after China, the United States, France, Germany and Japan) and that it has become a major player in South-South cooperation.

Can Africa become the next Brazil?

Susana Carrillo's picture

Brazil and Africa, new partners

Linked in the distant past through colonial-era trade enterprises, Brazil and Africa are becoming close partners again. More than two centuries after establishing a slave trade route across the Atlantic, both regions are again re-engaging, this time around to exchange knowledge and potentiate economic and social development.

Sub-Saharan African countries are looking to replicate Brazil’s successes in boosting agriculture production and exports, and private investments, which have made Brazil a key economic player in the international arena.

Haiti: sowing the seeds for better nutrition

Marie Chantal Messier's picture

Haiti: merging nutrition and agriculture innovations to progress from crisis to stability

“Haiti” and “food” and “nutrition” are words not usually seen together as part of an optimistic statement, rather the opposite. But as we commemorate World Food Day I believe there is a lot that Haiti can bring to the table to find a sustainable solution to its stubborn malnutrition problem.

This may sound like the world’s best kept secret, but it is partly the result of people, including ourselves sometimes, focusing on Haiti’s ailments rather than its progress. 

Les prix alimentaires, ou l’ingestion du coût de la logistique

Jordan Schwartz's picture

Du déjà-vu.

Nous voilà de nouveau en train d'essayer de disséquer les causes profondes de la hausse des prix alimentaires qui ont repris leur progression haletante en direction des niveaux record de 2008. Est-ce là le résultat de la spéculation sur les marchés des produits ? de l'envol de la demande de céréales fourragères dans les pays asiatiques ? de la réaffectation de terres jusque là consacrées à la culture de produits alimentaires à la production de biocombustibles ? Pour nos spécialistes de l'agriculture, de l'énergie et des transports, la réponse est claire : « oui, oui et encore oui ».

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Food Prices: Eating the Cost of Logistics

Jordan Schwartz's picture

Déjà vu.

Once again we find ourselves trying to dissect the root causes of food price increases as they bump and grind their way back toward their 2008 peaks. Is it speculation in commodity markets? Is it the booming demand from Asia for feed grains? Is it land use switching out from food crops to biofuels? The sentiment among our agriculture, energy and transport specialists is that the answer to these questions is: "Yes. All of the above."

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Are Higher Food Prices Really Bad for the Poor?

Francisco Ferreira's picture

Older readers may still remember the Prebisch-Singer thesis: the proposition that developing countries suffered from a "secular" deterioration in their terms of trade vis-à-vis industrial countries, because commodity prices tended to exhibit a long-run decline relative to those of manufactures…. The argument implied that poor countries, and the poor farmers that constituted the bulk of their population, were victims of sustained declines in the price of food, and other primary commodities, of which they were net producers.

Is climate change to blame for high food prices?

John Nash's picture


If you were to throw out the question of what, if any, is the connection between climate change and the current food crisis, I suspect that many people would answer instinctively that global warming is at least partially responsible for the spiraling food prices.  Why? Because –they would argue- it caused the various extreme weather events that disrupted production in major producing regions from Eastern Europe and Central Asia to Australia to Latin America’s  Southern Cone. 

Is the hypothesis of that connection valid?  Well, no and yes.  ‘No’, in the sense that we really can’t attribute specific climatic events to global warming. After all, even without climate change, extreme events happen:  a once-in-a-hundred-year event happens once in a hundred years (duh!).

Does Latin America have the Recipe to End the Food Crisis?

Carlos Molina's picture


In the current food price debate, there's plenty that Latin America can bring to the table.

A newly released World Bank report highlights the region's potential to help solve the food crisis given its huge natural resources -land, water- and agricultural expertise.

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