Communist Laos has come late to the Asian economic boom but it's now open for business. Investment is pouring in and resources like timber and rubber are pouring out - transforming the country and turning virgin forest into fields and plantations. But Laos is one of the last biodiversity hotspots in south east Asia and commercial development is chipping away at the country's natural capital. Originally from Laos, Sam Say is a successful Hong Kong businessman searching for investment opportunities that won't destroy his country's heritage.
From: BBC World News broadcasts "Earth Report -- Gambling on Laos"
Rwanda is one of the poorest and most densely populated countries in the world -- approximately 85 per cent of the people rely on subsistence agriculture to survive. Traditional farming methods have seriously reduced biodiversity and damaged ecosystems so Rwanda has begun a project of developing new villages to see whether poverty can be reduced by improving the environment.
Sea Level Rise in South Kalimantan, Indonesia - An Economic Analysis of Adaptation Strategies in AgriculturePosted on: 12 May 2011 - 3:52pm
This EEPSEA study from Indonesia finds that building dikes would be the best strategy to protect
farmland from rising sea levels that are being caused by climate change. In Indonesia there is considerable concern about the impact this problem will have on large areas of re-claimed coastal swampland in South Kalimantan – land which is already experiencing freshwater salination due to rises in sea level. It is thought that over 150,000 ha of this land, which is currently being farmed for rice and other food crops, are at risk, and that this will jeopardize the livelihoods of many thousands of farmers and their communities.
As the global population grows and incomes in poor countries rise, so too, will the demand for food, placing additional pressure on sustainable food production. Climate change adds a further challenge, as changes in temperature and precipitation threaten agricultural productivity and the capacity to feed the world’s population. This study assesses how serious the danger to food security might be and suggests some steps policymakers can take to remedy the situation.
What to expect from scaling up CGIAR investments and "Best Bet" programs
The recent food crisis, combined with the energy crisis and emerging climate-change issues, threatens the livelihoods of millions of poor people as well as the economic, ecological, and political situation in many developing countries. Progress in achieving development goals (such as cutting hunger and poverty in half by 2015) has been delayed significantly; in fact, the number of food-deficient people actually increased in the past two years by at least 75 million. These challenges require multifaceted, science-based technological, economic, and political approaches.
Innovations and Sustainability Strategies in the Upland Agriculture of Northern Vietnam: An Agent-Based Modeling ApproachPosted on: 12 May 2011 - 1:34pm
Vietnam, like most developing countries across Southeast Asia, has boosted farm outputs by introducing new crops, production methods and other agricultural innovations. Unfortunately, this process has increased soil erosion and water pollution and caused many other environmental problems. Now a new EEPSEA study has assessed this situation. It looks at the environmental trade-offs that are involved in upgrading people’s livelihoods through agricultural improvement. It also investigates how the negative impacts of such changes can be mitigated.
Links between Poverty and Environment Poverty Environment Linkages: Bio-fuels and Agriculture in AfricaPosted on: 11 May 2011 - 10:27am
Is there some truth to the common assumption that upland farmers are insulated from and not directly affected by most economic policies? The authors of the study note otherwise as they uncover the link between trade policies, poverty and environmental damage in Philippine agriculture. The findings stress the important implications on "understanding the environmental effects of trade and agricultural policies, real wage growth and internal migration, and macroeconomic policies affecting the prices of tradable farm outputs and inputs." And when government interventions seem to address a few problems only, the authors recommend that perhaps it is time that the government steps up its efforts to experiment on a new mix of policies that would benefit upland farmers and promote environmental concerns as well.
The progress being made across the continent in the last few years should give us real hope for the future. Creative thinking, effective partnerships, leadership from governments and the efforts of smallholder farmers are helping drive the development of Africa's agriculture.
But we still remain a long way from our hoped-for destination. So what are the broader lessons we can learn from the progress so far? What are the obstacles that still need to be overcome to achieve our ambitions to transform Africa's ability to meet and exceed its own food needs?
Worried about the nation’s dependence on oil, many have advocated a paradigm shift to agriculture, another means to further boost the economy and reduce poverty.
They hinged their argument on the fact that rural-urban drift which at the end make majority of the youths roam the cities in search of jobs that are not available could be tamed if agriculture is made attractive and the rural areas equipped with basic infrastructures like electricity and good roads among others.