A conservation agricultural approach known as 'Push-Pull' technology that exploits natural insect-plant and insect-insect relationships can be used to control pests as stemborers and striga weed in maize fields, and thus dramatically improve livelihoods of resource poor farmers in sub-Saharan Africa.
The Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN (FAO) has issued on 1 March 2013 a call for proposals for the second tranche of the European Union (EU)-supported programme on Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade (FLEGT).
European rules to combat the trade of illegal timber, by requiring operators importing or producing wood to identify its country of origin and legality, have come into force on March 4, but NGOs and think tanks doubt the readiness of EU countries to carry out the legislation.
The Second Call for Proposals of the second ACP-EU Energy Facility has been launched on 4th of March, and is opened until 3rd of June 2013. The aim is to provide grants for investments for provision of modern energy services for the rural poor through rural electrification. The focus shall be the local impact of the action and on utilizing renewable sources of energy. The total budget is of 55 million EUR.
Projections that feedstock-based biofuels will indirectly cause net greenhouse gas emissions in the future have been confirmed by preliminary results from two new studies of past land use change.
This may strengthen the case for bringing forward a review into whether indirect land use change (ILUC) - net carbon loss that occurs when forests and grasslands are cleared for food production that has been displaced by biofuels plantations elsewhere- factors should be included in EU legislation.
For the past decade, consumption of organic products in central and northern Europe has grown substantially, motivating producers to convert their crops and acquire organic certifications. However, "in recent years the supply of organics has increased so much that it is now greater than demand; as a consequence, average prices are going down," explains Fernando Martín, Manager of a Spanish cooperative devoted to the handling and commercialisation of agricultural and sub-tropical products.
A €20 million grant will be deployed in order to start financing projects under the special ClimDev-Africa Fund, on climate change and the prevention of risks linked to natural disasters in Africa.
The European Parliament’s environment committee voted on Wednesday 20 February an amendment in support of the EU’s ‘backloading’ plans for the Emissions Trading System (ETS), throwing a lifeline to the crisis-hit carbon market. The vote opens the way for further moves to raise flat-lining carbon prices by backloading (or withholding) 900 million allowances from auction, so creating a market scarcity.
Around €100 billion out of a global CAP (Common Agricultural Policy) budget of €363 billion for the period 2014-2020 will be dedicated to the protection of natural resources after last week's agreement on the EU's long term budget, says Dacian Cioloş, the European Commissioner in charge of Agriculture and Rural Development. The challenge now is to define concrete measures to make a real difference for the environment and to secure the long term competitiveness of EU farmers, he believes.
With the full Parliament due to vote on the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) on 12 March, environmental campaigners hope for a change of course after the Parliament’s agriculture committee in January and the EU Council budget deal on 8th of February both backed changes to weaken some of the Commission’s ‘greening’ proposals on environmental standards.