There’s been a thing on social media for a while of photographing what you’re about to eat – whether it’s to brag about what fancy restaurants you go to or to show off your cooking skills, with hashtags such as #Eatingfortheinsta, #foodie and #foodporn. But food photography could play a useful role in helping dietitians to measure more accurately what people are eating.
By Dr Umair Safdar, Development Communication Executive, CABI Pakistan
A Phytosanitary Risk Management Program (PRMP) in Pakistan is implementing a biological control program for pests of concerns in the Sindh, Gilgit and Skardu regions – with the aim of helping farmers grow more and lose less to invasive species.
In Balochistan, PRMP has established a Biological Control Laboratory at the Agriculture Research Institute Quetta to implement a biological control program for pests of apple crop (codling moth and spider mites). PRMP interventions are already achieving some successes with the identification of indigenous biocontrol agents (BCAs) of apple codling moth (Dibrachys microgastri and Elasmus sp. nr. johnstoni) and of predatory mites for apple spider mites (Mesostigmata mites).
The world’s leading climate scientists have issued their most extensive warning yet on the risks associated with increasing global temperatures. The authors of the new report, published yesterday in Incheon, South Korea, by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), say that urgent, far-reaching and unprecedented actions are needed across society, in order to limit warming to a maximum of 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels. Exceeding this target by even half a degree significantly increases the risk of flooding, droughts, extreme heat and poverty for millions of people around the world. However, the authors believe the changes needed are achievable, but only if we act now.
By Professor Jozsef Kiss, Szent István University
CABI has a long history of nurturing talented scientists who will one day join the bank of researchers with the shared interest of trying to help farmers lose less of what they grow to agricultural pests and diseases.
One only has to think of my colleague Dr Stefan Toepfer, an expert in biocontrol at CABI, who is currently supervising Szabolcs Toth – a PhD student at our Plant Protection Institute of the Szent István University in Gödöllő, Hungary (SZIE) trying to improve our understanding behind successes and failures in controlling western corn rootworm in Europe and North America.
CABI board member Dr Prem Warrior says we must plug a US$80bn global shortfall in agricultural innovation if the world is to be ‘smart’ to the demands of feeding 10 billion people by 2050 and meet the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.
Dr Warrior writes in The Economist Intelligence Unit blog that the challenge is not so much a lack of technology but investing in understanding how we can bring technology to smallholder farmers in developing countries and focus our efforts there.
Read the full blog here.
Urban Agriculture and its Role in Community Building
Urban agriculture (UA) is about much more than producing food, it is about growing communities and empowering people. The social interactions needed to grow food in urban settings, whether in organised community gardens or allotments, in abandoned lots, sacks, balconies, or berms, brings people together when they might otherwise not have, and this enables them to build trust and community where these notions may be only tenuous. Case material from around the world, in the more developed Global North as well as the Global South, demonstrates this important role for urban agriculture no matter the community. The food produced may alleviate food insecurity and provide access to healthier foods, all of which is important, but perhaps even more valuable is the social interaction fostered via the need to manage spaces of urban cultivation, which can overcome differences between new neighbours and also be leveraged by communities to mobilise for other purposes.
Is resilience the new sustainability?
Let us hope not. Or let us hope that the concept does not follow the same path as that of sustainable development, whereby it becomes a sound bite with a variety of meanings, none of them really accurate or definitive, and a catch-all for those wishing to sound environmentally friendly.
Resilience is a concept from the physical sciences which first appeared in the 1970s, when defined by Holling (1973) and has gradually been introduced into a variety of situations, including, most lately, tourism. It relates to the ability of a system to retain its characteristics after experiencing a shock, in layman’s terms, its ability to “bounce back” to its original form or shape. In the context of tourism this first came to mean the ability of destinations and their communities to remain relatively unchanged by the development of tourism, which, rather like sustainable tourism, represented a somewhat unrealistic and wishful thinking understanding of the term.