Currently, more than two-thirds of the population in Africa must leave their home to fetch water for drinking and domestic use. The time burden of water fetching has been suggested to influence the volume of water collected by households as well as time spent on income generating activities and child care. However, little is known about the potential health benefits of reducing water fetching distances.
Genetic improvements in heat tolerance of wheat provide a potential adaptation response to long-term warming trends, and may also boost yields in wheat-growing areas already subject to heat stress. Yet there have been few assessments of recent progress in breeding wheat for hot environments.
Wheat is a staple crop throughout much of India, but in many areas it is commonly sown past the optimum window for yields. Recent technologies, such as adoption of no-till practices or earlier maturing cotton and rice varieties, have enabled some farmers to sow wheat earlier, but repeatable and publicly available measurements of sow date trends are lacking. Here we utilize satellite measurements since 2000 to estimate sow dates over a decade throughout wheat growing areas in India.
Eran Bendavid, Assistant Professor of Medicine at Stanford University provides commentary on nutrition and food policy expert Per Pinstrup-Andersen's presentation and paper on "Food systems and human health and nutrition". The symposium and paper are part of the Center on Food Security and the Environment's Global Food Policy and Food Security Symposium series.
Freshwater scarcity has been cited as the major crisis of the 21st century, but it is surprisingly hard to describe the nature of the global water crisis. We conducted a meta- analysis of 22 coupled human–water system case studies, using qualitative comparison analysis (QCA) to identify water resource system outcomes and the factors that drive them.
Soybean production has become a significant force for economic development in Brazil. It has also received considerable attention from environmental and social non-governmental organizations as a driver of deforestation and land consolidation. While many researchers have examined the impacts of soybean production on human and environmental landscapes, there has been little investigation into the economic and institutional context of Brazilian soybean production or the relationship between soy yields and planted area.
Aquaculture is currently the fastest growing animal food production sector and will soon supply more than half of the world’s seafood for human consumption. Continued growth in aquaculture production is likely to come from intensification of fish, shellfish, and algae production. Intensification is often accompanied by a range of resource and environmental problems. We review several potential solutions to these problems, including novel culture systems, alternative feed strategies, and species choices.
The American Midwest is suffering through the driest summer in decades, and Stanford economist Walter Falcon is watching the corn wither in his fields. He writes how the drought is affecting crops, prices and the livelihoods of his fellow farmers in Iowa.
In Lewis Carroll's Through the Looking Glass, Alice finds herself running as fast as she can but not moving anywhere. The Red Queen explains to her 'Now, here, you see, it takes all the running you can do, to keep in the same place. If you want to get somewhere else, you must run at least twice as fast as that.'
This paper looks at past and likely future agricultural growth and rural poverty reduction in the context of the overall Indian economy. The growth of India’s economy has accelerated sharply since the late 1980s, but agriculture has not followed suit. Rural population and especially the labor force are continuing to rise rapidly. Meanwhile, rural-urban migration remains slow, primarily because the urban sector is not generating large numbers of jobs in labor-intensive manufacturing.
For most scholars the concept of security encompasses issues of state legitimacy, economic and political sovereignty, and protection from military, nuclear, or terrorist assault. Yet billions of people, particularly in the developing world, face more severe, individual security threats on a daily basis, such as inadequate nutrition, disease burdens, lack of potable water, and risks of sexual assault or human trafficking. Such human security concerns can become national security issues when citizens rise up against their governments or threaten to rebel.
Climate change has the potential to be a source of increased variability if crops are more frequently exposed to damaging weather conditions. Yield variability could respond to a shift in the frequency of extreme events to which crops are susceptible, or if weather becomes more variable. Here we focus on the United States, which produces about 40% of the world’s maize, much of it in areas that are expected to see increased interannual variability in temperature.
An important source of uncertainty in anticipating the effects of climate change on agriculture is limited understanding of crop responses to extremely high temperatures. This uncertainty partly reflects the relative lack of observations of crop behaviour in farmers’ fields under extreme heat. We used nine years of satellite measurements of wheat growth in northern India to monitor rates of wheat senescence following exposure to temperatures greater than 34 °C.
Crop models predict that recent and future climate change may have adverse effects on crop yields. Intentional deflection of sunlight away from the Earth could diminish the amount of climate change in a high-CO2 world. However, it has been suggested that this diminution would come at the cost of threatening the food and water supply for billions of people. Here, we carry out high-CO2, geoengineering and control simulations using two climate models to predict the effects on global crop yields.
Despite the fact that sub-Saharan Africa in 2012 contains much of the world’s unutilized and underutilized arable land, a significant and growing share of Africa’s farm households live in densely populated areas.
Perennial crops are among the most valuable of California’s diverse agricultural products. They are also potentially the most influenced by information on future climate, since individual plants are commonly grown for more than 30 years. This study evaluated the impacts of future climate changes on the 20 most valuable perennial crops in California, using a combination of statistical crop models and downscaled climate model projections.
This paper examines different paths and challenges in stages of agricultural transformation in two Asian countries. It contrasts their respective mechanisms of labor transfer from the agriculture sector to non- agriculture sectors and the up-skilling of the agricultural labor force in the process of an agricultural transformation. The paper describes this as a critical contribution from agriculture to economic growth.
This paper was prepared for Stanford University’s Global Food Policy and Food Security Symposium Series, hosted by the Center on Food Security and the Environment, and supported by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
Climate change will lead to massive conflicts, according to claims of such prominent sources as Sir Nicholas Stern and the US National Security Agency - claims repeated by the media. Efforts to tease a specific climate change signal from historical records of civil conflict have proved inconclusive, however: they postulate that farmers will become fighters when resources become critically scarce; but they have been unable to illuminate what specific mechanisms may be involved.
Seeds of Sustainability is a groundbreaking analysis of agricultural development and transitions toward more sustainable management in one region. An invaluable resource for researchers, policymakers, and students alike, it examines new approaches to make agricultural landscapes healthier for both the environment and people.
Promotion of smallholder irrigation is cited as a strategy for enhancing income generation and food security for sub-Saharan Africa’s poor farmers, but what makes this technology a successful poverty alleviation tool? In the short run, the technology should pave the way for increased consumption, asset accumulation, and reduced persistent poverty among users. Over the longer run, it should lead to institutional feedbacks that support sustained economic development and nutritional improvements.