News archive 2011
A new variant of a cassava disease is affecting large parts of East Africa, especially in the area’s Great Lakes Region, putting a crucial source of food and income at risk, according to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization. Experts say Cassava Brown Streak Disease is on the verge of becoming an epidemic, and have called for an urgent increase in funding, research, training, surveillance and other measures to help farmers and breeders.
Traditional food crops and other plant varieties worldwide are in urgent need of protection from climate change and other environmental stresses, FAO said today, as it observed the tenth anniversary of the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture.
A new guide published by FAO aims to help countries prevent forest-damaging pests from spreading to new areas. At least 35 million hectares of forest are damaged by outbreaks of forest insect pests each year. The guide provides suggestions on how to implement effective pest management strategies and ensure the safe movement of forest commodities across the national borders.
Aquaculture is the world's fastest-growing source of animal protein and currently provides nearly half of all fish consumed globally, according to FAO's report World Aquaculture 2010.
An FAO programme that helps local communities in Mongolia protect their forests is being seen as a model for action in the Asia-Pacific region. The Participatory Forest Management project has effectively stopped illegal logging and forest fires in 15 pilot districts since it began in 2007, and is set to go nationwide when the pilot program ends in January 2012.
The FAO Food price index dropped to an 11-month low in October, declining 4 percent, or nine points, to 216 points from September. Nonetheless prices still remain generally higher than last year and very volatile, FAO said. The drop was triggered by sharp declines in international prices of cereals, oils, sugar and dairy products. Meat prices declined the least.
UN agencies are launching today a plan to improve the management of oceans and coastal areas. The Blueprint for Ocean and Coastal Sustainability sounds the alarm about the health of the oceans, and explains how they influence our everyday life by regulating the climate, providing highly-nutritious food and by sustaining livelihoods and economies.
Smallholder farmers gain big benefits from agricultural cooperatives including bargaining power and resource sharing that lead to food security and poverty reduction for millions, the three Rome-based UN food agencies stressed today on the occasion of the launch of the International Year of Cooperatives 2012.
Rapid population growth and natural resource degradation in the Nile River Basin pose the risk of intensified hunger and poverty in the region and require forward-looking development planning to prevent that from happening. An FAO project financed by Italy has put critical information and planning tools into the hands of countries in the region so they can start turning the situation around.
A set of recommendations aimed at reducing food price volatility and enhancing vulnerable populations' resilience to price shocks has been agreed upon by the Committee on World Food Security (CFS).