While the European commission and all 28 EU member states are signatories to the international treaty on plant genetic resources for food and agriculture, Marie Haga, the executive director of the Global Crop Diversity Trust questions the commitment to agrobiodiversity. Population growth is expected to exceed nine billion by 2050 and necessarily, such rapid population growth will correlate with an increase in global food demand, currently estimated at 50%. But there are many crucial challenges including climate change, crop pests and diseases, and pressure on agricultural land. As a result of globalisation and industrialisation of agriculture, the planet currently rely on only 150 crops for nearly all its nutrition.
This draft report on ‘The External impact of EU trade and investment policy in public-private initiatives outside the EU’, calls on ‘EU bodies to encourage EU companies participating in PPPs in third countries, in particular in least-developed countries, to work in accordance with the principle of policy coherence so that development cooperation objectives are taken into consideration; calls on the Commission, furthermore, to encourage sustainable investments and promote projects focused on environmental protection, waste management or the use of renewable energies, for instance.’ It also notes ‘Notes that SMEs and larger companies can provide unique private-sector know-how, experience, and networks involving public authority in non-EU countries.’
Twenty days after the signing of the new law on growing genetically modified (GM) crops in the European Union by the European Parliament, (11 March) and it’s publication in the Official Journal of the EU, the new law shall enter into force. The first crop likely to get European Commission endorsement is to be an insect-resistant maize known as 1507, whose developers DuPont and Dow Chemical have been lobbying 14 years for the EU to authorise cultivation. It is widely-grown in the Americas and Asia. It still remains a very divisive issue in the EU: Britain is in favour, while France is opposed.
Cassavas is currently one of the world's fastest-growing crops, and is holding up better to the rising temperatures caused by climate change, as pointed out by experts. Since the 80s, the global production of cassava has increased by 52% due, among other reasons, to the doubling of its production in Africa. It adapts better to higher temperatures compared to other crops, such as beans or corn, as it is less sensitive to climate changes.
Seychelles is all set to become the first country in the world to implement a comprehensive spatial plan for its entire ocean territory. The Indian Ocean archipelago of 115 islands, scattered through almost 1.4 million square kilometres of resource-rich waters, is in the process of finalising a marine spatial plan that will create one of the largest marine reserves in the region. Currently, only around one percent of the Seychelles' waters are protected as marine national parks. This percentage is expected to increase to between 10 and 15%.The plan also includes the protection of sustainable artisanal fisheries and create specific zones for exploitative activities, such a commercial tuna fishing and oil exploration and exploitation.
A new report explains that beansmay be Africa’s answer to lack of access to expensive fertilizers. A project currentlyencourages African farmers to plant beans as food and fertiliser could helpcounteract the impact of limited fertiliser take-up across the continent. Globaluse of nitrogen fertiliser is forecast to grow by 1.4 % each year to above 119million tonnes in 2018, But less than five per cent of that growth will comefrom Sub-Saharan Africa, because fertiliser is often too expensive forsubsistence farmers. As an alternative to fertiliser, Africa’s crop yields aregetting a boost from an edible and more environmentally friendly sourceinstead: beans.
In the ongoing battle against obesity, heart disease and diabetes in the Pacific region, a new study has revealed that allocating sufficient tuna for local consumption and keeping it affordable could significantly improve health outcomes.
Pacific Island communities have the highest rates of obesity and diabetes in the world, primarily because traditional foods such as root crops, fish and shellfish are being replaced by relatively cheap, energy-dense and nutritionally-poor imported foods.
Increased consumption of fish and shellfish, which are rich in protein, essential fatty acids, vitamins and minerals, is seen as an important part of the solution.
The government ofJamaica shall invest J$25 million to increase local food production; provide asource of fruits to boost agro-processing; provide employment and culturechange in schools and communities; reduce the country’s carbon footprint;increase the country’s stock of lumber trees; protect water sheds; and supportthe national climate change initiative. This has been heralded as“groundbreaking” initiative in the region. There was a symbolic tree plantingexercise at the ceremony, where a total of seven fruit trees, inclusive ofmango and jack fruit, were planted.
The European Commission’s regulation on the implementation of the EU's international obligations under the International Convention for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas and the Convention on Future Multilateral Cooperation in the Northwest Atlantic Fisheries came into effecton 24 January. This regulation will provide legal clarity on rules that apply for EU fishermen when they fish under the purview of the Regional Fisheries Management Organizations (RFMOs) and catch fish which falls under the new EU's landing obligation.
Solomon Islands Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare announced that a new fisheries legislation aiming to ensure proper management of the country’s fisheries shall be heard in the country’s Parliament. The EU recently warned the Solomon Islands Government to improve its management of the fishery sector or risk losing access to the EU market. Prime Minister Sogavare said that the Minister for Fisheries and Marine Resources has been directed to take whatever steps are necessary to correct the problems. The EU is SolTuna’s most important export market totaling $266 million per annum by value.