Workshop on “Food Security: Infectious Diseases in Farm Animals”- Invited Lectures, Day 2

St. Catherine’s College, Manor Road, Oxford,  UK,  4-7th April 2016 

Attended by M Djuric, CAB International, Wallingford, UK, on 5th April 2016 (Day 2)

This workshop meeting was jointly organised by the Pirbright Institute, Woking, UK and Cairo University, Egypt and was sponsored by the British Council Research Links Programme.

The aims of the workshop were to build long-term and sustainable links between scientists in the UK and Egypt working in the field of infectious diseases of poultry and livestock.

The second day of the workshop  consisted of two sessions and included  four invited expert and engaging presentations by Professor Mohamed Shakal, Professor Fiona Tomly,  Professor Javier Guitian and Dr Roberto La Regione.

JacobsenRoomsfromMusicHouseGarden (2)

Venue: St. Catherine's College, Manor Road, Oxford

Continue reading

Farming tropical insects to feed the world in 2050

  256px-Skewered_locusts
  Deep-fried locust kebabs.CC BY 2.0

Many non-western cultures already eat insects [entomophagy]: in Thailand  & China its a common streetfood as you can see in the picture, but its an unusual  and frankly unheard of cuisine in the UK.  AS you will see though, CABI staff have an interest in entomophagy AND we have blogged about global entomophagy before [Roasted grasshopper with a sprinkling of termites].

On 18th November 2015, studio guests, and listeners, of BBC Radio 4 – Midweek were treated to the experience of eating insects as food!  Dr Sarah Beynon, an entomologist was a guest: she is on a mission to both educate the UK public on the importance of insects (including wasps and spiders) and to provide sustainable food by farming tropical insects. 

She had brought in samples of insect protein  which is on the menu at her café, The Grub Kitchen. The café  is the latest venture for her Bugfarm in Wales, which functions as  a research & education centre as well as providing dungbeetles for UK farmers to convert dung into compost! 

Guests sounded wary but chef Michel Roux Jnr pronounced the chocolate cookie made with ground cricket flour, sugar and chocolate, as “very nice” and described it as both chocolatey and having a novel “meaty” taste.  Another description was “marmity”: hardly surprising considering marmite was developed from yeast as an alternative to meat extract. 

Weight for weight, we were told, cricket flour is higher in protein than beef. 

Other delicacies available at the café include grasshoppers (taste like tea), mealworm hummus, and gourmet bug burgers containing mealworms, crickets and grasshoppers. By customer request coming soon will be burgers containing crunchy intact mealworms!

Food security for 2050: using insect protein will take the pressure off agricultural land

“WE need to look at new ways of producing food and we think this [tropical insect farming] is one of the ways of doing it” declared Dr. Beynon.

Continue reading

Global food and poverty issues on the table

Food-16920
Awareness on global food and poverty issues was raised last weekend as the World Food Day was observed on the 16th of October followed by the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty on the 17th. Both days were highly topical since eradicating poverty and improving food security were the first two goals listed in the 17 sustainable development goals (SDGs) for 2030 announced a few weeks ago.

Continue reading

New report highlights link between forests, farms and food security

Landscape_India
With the global population estimated to reach 9 billion by 2050, there has been much debate around the issues of nutrition and food security. Amid these concerns, a report published on May 6 by the International Union of Forest Research Organizations (IUFRO), calls for greater consideration of the use of forests as a food source as well as for biodiversity conservation. The report, titled “Forests, Trees and Landscapes for Food Security and Nutrition” was presented at the UN Forum on Forests and is a result of the collaboration of more than 60 scientists from around the world.

Continue reading

New study produces biofuel and animal feed from the same crop

Rice_field
‘First generation’ bioethanol is produced directly from food crops such as corn and sugarcane.  Global production of bioethanol has been increasing in recent years due to policies in many countries that consider biofuel as a renewable alternative to fossil fuels. While it is widely recognised as means to improve future energy security, the rapid expansion of bioethanol production has caused controversy over competition for land use to grow crops for food as well as contributing to increased grain prices.  However, a group of Japanese researchers have developed a technology that can produce bioethanol and animal feed simultaneously from the same crop, without the need for off-site processing.

Continue reading

“Land Belongs to the Future, Let’s Climate Proof It” – World Day to Combat Desertification 2014

Dry_cracked_earth

June 17 has been designated by the United Nations as World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought (WDCD).  The slogan of this year's WDCD is 'Land Belongs to the Future, Let’s Climate Proof It’, which aims to ‘highlight the benefits of mainstreaming sustainable land management policies and practices into our collective response to climate change’.  The objectives of this year’s WDCD are to increase the attention given to land and soil within climate change adaptation; mobilise support for sustainable land management and call for the inclusion of land and soil and their role in food security into national climate adaptation policies.

Continue reading

Reducing hunger and undernutrition – how are we doing?

Hanci-web-logoHunger and undernutrition are amongst the most persistent global development challenges. Part of Millennium Development Goal 1 is to ‘Halve, between 1990 and 2015, the proportion of people who suffer from hunger’ (UN, 2012). With global numbers of undernourished people static at 870 million for the past 5 years and undernutrition contributing to the deaths of 2.6 million children under five each year (FAO, 2012), at the global level, clearly insufficient progress has been made towards achieving this target. But, at a national level, how are governments doing?

Continue reading