In the News

FOR ARCHIVAL NEWS ON GLOBAL FOOD SECURITY, PLEASE VISIT THE "NEWS WATCH" PAGE FOR EACH OF THE GLOBAL FOOD SECURITY CONFERENCES


2014

MARCH 2014

Aboriginal Food Security in Northern Canada: An Assessment of the State of Knowledge

A new report released on March 27 by the Council of Canadian Academies found that the Inuit are the most food insecure group in the developed world. The  Expert Panel, chaired by Professor Emerita of Human Nutrition Harriet Kuhnlein, included Murray Humphries (NRS) and Mac alumna Treena Wasonti:io Delormier.

Download the full report from the Council of Canadian Academies

Press coverage included: Huffington Post | Al Jazeera America | CBC News  |  Nunatsiaq News | Carolyn Bennett, MP | Food Secure Canada | BC Food Security Gateway | Sun'aq Tribe of Kodiak | Inuit Tapriit Kanatami - Joint Statement

KARI-Kenya Project Publication Release by IDRC

Farmers chart a new course in Kenya (article)  |  Watch slideshow

Les agriculteurs tracent une nouvelle voie au Kenya (article)  |  Voir diaporama


2013

Getting a better handle on hunger
Food insecurity, an issue as old as humanity itself, afflicts more than a third of the globe’s citizens. It isn’t just a developing-country phenomenon. Hugo Melgar-Quiñonez, the new director of the McGill Institute for Global Food Security — the only one of its kind on the planet — says food insecurity affects people everywhere and in every country. Read more in the McGill News

Brazil's agriculture boom faces constraints ahead
When you have over 13 million people who are not able to eat enough every day, we need to address this before we say whether Brazil can feed the world. -Hugo Melgar-Quinonez, Institute for Global Food Security. Read more

Conference on Global Food Security offers food for thought
Hugo Melgar-Quiñonez, the Director of the McGill Institute for Global Food Security has barely finished this year’s McGill Global Food Security Conference and he is already planning next year’s event. He’s not facing it with dread or exhaustion, as you might imagine could be the case with a conference that brings together dozens of participants from around the world, but rather with a lot of excitement and energy. He’s interested in finding new ways to reach even more people working in the area across the globe. Read more

Le MARNDR cherche à déterminer la contribution de la production animale à la Sécurité Alimentaire des Petits Agriculteurs en Haiti
On estime qu'en Haïti, l'agriculture représente environ 25 % du  Produit Intérieur Brut (PIB) total du pays. En ce qui concerne l'élevage, malgré la part significative qui lui est attribuée, on ignore sa contribution réelle au PIB et surtout à la sécurité alimentaire de la population et l’apport qu’il pourrait avoir dans la diminution du taux de malnutrition qui règne dans le pays. Pour répondre à cette question, le Ministère haïtien de l'Agriculture a décidé de mener une étude afin de déterminer la contribution de la production animale à la sécurité alimentaire des petits agriculteurs haïtiens. En ce sens, par l'intermédiaire de sa Représentation en Haïti et son programme d'Agrobusiness et Marketing basée à Miami, l'IICA conjugue ses efforts avec l'Institut de la Sécurité alimentaire de l'Université McGill au Canada pour fournir l'assistance technique requise pour la mise en œuvre de cet important projet. Read article

Presentation by Dr. Chandra Madramootoo, Dean of the Faculty of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, Associate Vice-Principal of McGill University, and a James McGill Professor in the Department of Bio-resource Engineering at International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD). View presentation.


2012

LE PRIX DES ALIMENTS AU COEUR D’UN CONGRÈS À MCGILL
La variation des prix des aliments est au coeur de la cinquième Conférence de McGill sur la sécurité alimentaire mondiale, qui réunit plus de 250 personnes aujourd’hui et demain. L’instabilité politique est aussi abordée puisqu’elle va de pair avec les prix des aliments, a indiqué Katherine Gombay, porte-parole de l’Université McGill. Mme Gombay a d’ailleurs avancé que le prix des aliments aurait été l’un des éléments déclencheurs du Printemps arabe. Aussi, avec l’augmentation de la population planétaire, le monde aura besoin de 70 % de plus d’aliments. Les dimensions sociales de la sécurité alimentaire et le rôle des acteurs sociétaux dans la résolution de la crise alimentaire seront aussi examinés. TVA, Journal de Montréal

Crise alimentaire imminente
Une nouvelle crise alimentaire est à nos portes. «Elle va arriver, en raison de la flambée du prix des céréales», dit Michel R. St-Pierre, président du cinquième Congrès mondial des agronomes, qui s'ouvre lundi à Québec. La sécheresse aux États-Unis et en Russie a fait bondir de 17% l'indice FAO du prix des céréales en juillet, faisant craindre le pire. To read more

UN Raises Alarm Over Global Food Prices
With severe drought affecting the massive US wheat belt, the United Nations warns of global strife over rising prices. To read more

Somalia facing challenging year, ICRC says
MOGADISHU, Somalia, Aug. 31 (UPI) -- A combination of conflict and food insecurity meant 2012 has been a difficult year for the majority of the Somali population, the Red Cross said. The International Committee of the Red Cross said it delivered food assistance to 1.4 million people in Somalia during the first half of 2012. The organization said the crisis wasn't as severe as last year but low rainfall in the region contributed to a lingering food emergency. "Sadly, 2012 has thus far been another challenging period for a great many Somalis, who continue to endure the tremendous hardships that have arisen from a combination of conflict and extreme weather conditions," Patrick Vial, the head of the ICRC Somalia delegation, said in a statement. To read more

Africa: Tackling the Root Causes of High Food Prices and Hunger
Rome — The current situation in world food markets, characterized by sharp increases in maize, wheat and soybean prices, has raised fears of a repeat of the 2007-2008 world food crisis. But swift, coordinated international action can stop that from happening. We need to act urgently to make sure that these price shocks do not turn into a catastrophe hurting tens of millions over the coming months. To read more

Zambian Minister warns millers over mealie meal prices
GOVERNMENT has warned millers against taking advantage of people by increasing the price of mealie meal inconsiderately. Copperbelt Minister Mwenya Musenge sounded the warning yesterday in the wake of the price of mealie-meal going up in most outlets countrywide on average by K5 000. Mr Musenge said millers should take into consideration the poverty levels among most Zambians, coupled with high unemployment, making it difficult to afford the staple food. “They should realise that this is a matter of life and death. The millers have to take into account the affordability to purchase the commodity because already very few people could afford to buy the
mealie meal at the old price,” he said. To read more

Food Riots - A Mathematical Certainty ~ Max Keiser Report
Yaneer Bar-Yam  of NECSI.EDU says on The Keiser Report that Food Riots are A Mathematical Certainty "Even though prices went down prices have shot up again. That's pushed us above the level of our threshold or in the range in which we begin to be worried about social unrest, food riots and revolutions. Based on our mathematical model prices are going to continue to increase. A lot of it is due to commodity speculation. That is going to put us even higher than the previous two peaks. This isn't going to take much time, a few weeks or a few months. Then on the response side how do countries buffer their citizens, the poor from stresses in food systems. There are big policy options, but also country-based options in terms of interventions to protect its populace" 

To watch the video – on RT (Russia Today) Network

UN food agency says hunger worsens in Zimbabwe, less staple food crops set to be harvested
HARARE, Zimbabwe — The United Nations food agency says hunger is worsening in Zimbabwe after erratic rains, shortages of seeds and fertilizer and “poor agricultural practices” in the troubled economy led to a reduction in fields planted with the main staple foods. The World Food Program said cereal harvests in the current season were down by an estimated one third compared to last year. It said about 1.1 million rural people will need food aid up to December, rising to 1.6 million in the traditionally “lean months” to March. To read more

World food prices increase 10 percent in July
Worldwide food prices increased by 10 percent in July, according to the World Bank. In a statement on Thursday, the World Bank noted that from June to July, corn and wheat prices rose by 25 percent each, soybean prices by 17 percent, "and only rice prices went down, by 4 percent." To read more

U.S. DROUGHT MONITOR

AL JAZEERA FOCUS ON FEEDING THE WORLD – Articles and videos about food prices and crisis around the world

RISING FOOD PRICES COULD SPARK RIOTS WORLDWIDE
The worst drought since 1950 continues to send food prices soaring around the globe. Just released Food Price Index figures for the summer months show a sharp spike in food prices in July. In Mozambique, prices on white corn doubled from April to July, while worldwide the United Nations reported global nutrition costs averaged 6.2 percent last month alone. Nations in the Middle East and sub-Saharan Africa, which rely heavily on foreign imports, are likely to be the hardest hit by this year’s low grain reserves. Read more in The Examiner

RAIN COMES TOO LATE FOR IOWA'S CORN CROP AS DROUGHT WEIGHS ON MIDWEST MINDS
Farmers hope for better next year after summer of record drought leads to rising prices and brings tensions to the surface. Flying into Des Moines, the corn fields look surprisingly green. America's midwest produces half the world's corn and Iowa its largest harvest, yet amid the worst drought in living memory all the untrained eye can see is the occasional brown mark, like a cigarette burn on the baize of a pool table. But appearances can be deceptive. The US planted 97m acres of corn for this year's crop – the most since 1937. If everything had gone according to plan, this year's harvest would have produced a new record, at close to 15bn bushels of corn (a bushel is 24 million metric tonnes). It's too early to say what the final tally will be, but the US department of agriculture has slashed its forecast to 10.8bn. Dan Basse, president of AgResources, an independent agriculture analyst, says that figure is likely to come down. "We've lost 4bn bushels of corn. That's the largest loss in history, and we could lose another," he says. The USDA has declared counties in 38 states to be "disaster areas". About 72% of cattle areas are experiencing drought. Read more in The Guardian

U.N. BODY URGES G20 ACTION ON FOOD PRICES, WASTE
The world's top farm producers in the Group of 20 countries must agree coordinated action to ease worries about food prices, the head of the United Nations food agency said on Monday, as he and other experts bemoaned a huge global waste of food and water. Read more in Scientific American

PHOTO ESSAY SHOWING SOME OF THE EFFECTS OF DROUGHT IN THE U.S. MIDWEST. Look at the images in The Atlantic

RAIN, RAIN COME AGAIN
Stand far enough away and the fields of Debra Pretty-Straathof ’s family farm appear green and lush. But a closer look reveals parched earth littered with dead or dying leaves, and crops whose growth has been stunted by severe heat and drought. Read more ...

SHRINKING US CROPS POSE INFLATION CHALLENGE FOR COUNTRIES
For nations like China and India fighting to tamp down inflation while spurring growth, even as the global economy faces headwinds from Europe's debt crisis, shrinking U.S. crops could be an additional headache as food prices creep higher.Add to that, dry weather in eastern Europe dimming crop prospects in key grains exporting countries like Russia and Kazakhstan, and a less-than-stellar monsoon in India, the troubles for policy makers could escalate into major challenges. Read more in The Guardian

FOOD COST, TRADE "DOUBLE WHAMMY" COULD HIT AFRICA
Rising food prices could hit commodity producers in Africa with a dangerous "double whammy" when combined with an economic slowdown in Europe and China reducing African exports of oil and raw materials, a leading African economist said on Tuesday. Read more ...

FOOD PRICES AND SUPPLY
In the summer of 2012, scorching heat and the worst drought in nearly a half-century have threatened to send food prices up, spooking consumers and leading to worries about global food costs. Read more ...

WORLD BANK READY TO OFFER AID IN SHADOW OF RISING FOOD PRICES
The World Bank on Monday said it stood ready to help governments respond to a broad-based run-up in grain prices that has again put the world's poorest people at risk and could have lingering detrimental impacts for years. Read more ...

ZIMBABWE: FOOD AID NEEDED
Erratic rains and farming problems have reduced this year’s maize harvest in Zimbabwe by a third, and 1.6 million people will need food aid, the World Food Program said Friday. Read more ...

THE WORLD IS CLOSER TO A FOOD CRISIS THAN MOST PEOPLE REALISE
Unless we move quickly to adopt new population, energy, and water policies, the goal of eradicating hunger will remain just that. Read more ...

HIGHER PRICES FOR FOOD ITEMS EXPECTED AS DROUGHT LINGERS
Corn, found in fuel and almost every product on store shelves, hits record price. Read more ...

FOOD COSTS RISE AS CROPS WITHER
Corn yields hurt by US, Ont. drought. Read more (pdf) ...


NOVEMBER 2011

November 8, 2011

A HUNGER FOR SUCCESS - ON A WORLD SCALE
More food will be consumed in the next 50 years than in the rest of the history of humanity.On the one hand, the world's population has reached 7 billion people and will grow to 9 billion or more within 30 years. But on the other, the incomes enjoyed by these new populations are growing more rapidly than ever.As the demand for food climbs with population and income, Canada - uniquely positioned with its vast tracts of arable land, abundant water, infrastructure, and experience in the sector - faces a huge opportunity to feed the world. And yet Canadian agriculture and agri-food businesses are not only failing to maintain their share of world markets, but are falling behind.
Read more in The Gazette

 


 

OCTOBER 2011

TACKLING HUNGER WEIGHTY TASK
When McGill University assembled panels of international experts to discuss world food stability at a three-day conference last week, the goal was to arrive at answers. However, speeches and panels at the conference mainly illustrated how vast and intractable the problem seems to be. Close to a billion people are considered chronically food insecure and the number is growing by tens of millions because of drought in the Horn of Africa and a 33 percent spike in food prices. International agency officials offered hope that jargon-filled processes and plans about collaboration and government investment would make a difference. There were some reports or predictions of progress.
Western Producer

ECONOMIC WOES COULD FORCE CHANGES TO AID
International cooperation minister Bev Oda is warning that international economic turbulence could limit the world’s ability or willingness to respond to a growing world hunger crisis.That will definitely be the case in Canada. “The government has undertaken an exercise to reduce the deficit,” Oda said.
Western Producer

VOLATILE FOOD PRICES SHUTTING DOWN TRADE TALKS
Volatile world food prices did more than drive millions into poverty and hunger, says an agricultural economist.They have also helped bog down World Trade Organization negotiations, says former senior Agriculture Canada economist Douglas Hedley.“What the 2008 spike showed us is we can’t trust trade,” he said Oct. 5 during a McGill University conference on global food security.
Western Producer

JUST PUBLISHED: The State of Food Insecurity in the World 2011 highlights the differential impacts that the world food crisis of 2006-08 had on different countries, with the poorest being most affected.This year’s report describes the effects of price volatility on food security and presents policy options to reduce volatility in a cost-effective manner and to manage it when it cannot be avoided. The report focuses also on the dangers and opportunities presented by high food prices. Climate change and an increased frequency of weather shocks, increased linkages between energy and agricultural markets due to growing demand for biofuels, and the increased financialization of food and agricultural commodities all suggest that price volatility is here to stay.
Read more ...


AUGUST 1, 2011

FOOD CRISIS IN ASIA
As the global population rises, farmers, particularly in developing countries, are coming under pressure to increase their crop yields to meet growing demand. D J Clark looks at the problems facing farmers and consumers in different parts of Asia, and examines some of the possible solutions.
Read more


JULY 18, 2011

ALBERTA HAS MUCH TO OFFER A THIRSTY PLANET
Flooding and water scarcity are probably the biggest issues facing the developing world, and the situation will only worsen as the global population grows and climate change intensifies. That was part of the message noted scientist Chandra Madramootoo brought to this year’s Water, Agriculture and the Environment conference in Lethbridge.
Read article


JUNE 23, 2011

G20 ACTION PLAN
G20 REPORT ON FOOD PRICE VOLATILITY

JUNE 4, 2011

A Warming Planet Struggles to Feed Itself
Now, the latest scientific research suggests that a previously discounted factor is helping to destabilize the food system: climate change. Many of the failed harvests of the past decade were a consequence of weather disasters, like floods in the United States, drought in Australia and blistering heat waves in Europe and Russia. Scientists believe some, though not all, of those events were caused or worsened by human-induced global warming. Temperatures are rising rapidly during the growing season in some of the most important agricultural countries, and a paper published several weeks ago found that this had shaved several percentage points off potential yields, adding to the price gyrations.
Read more in the New York Times

JUNE 1, 2011

WHEN THE NILE RUNS DRY
A NEW scramble for Africa is under way. As global food prices rise and exporters reduce shipments of commodities, countries that rely on imported grain are panicking. Affluent countries like Saudi Arabia, South Korea, China and India have descended on fertile plains across the African continent, acquiring huge tracts of land to produce wheat, rice and corn for consumption back home.
Read more in the New York Times


MAY 31, 2011

Broken food system and environmental crises spell hunger for millions. Oxfam launches global GROW campaign
A broken food system and environmental crises are now reversing decades of progress against hunger according to new Oxfam analysis. Spiralling food prices and endless cycles of regional food crises will create millions more hungry people unless we transform the way we grow and share food.   Tomorrow, Oxfam launches a new global campaign to ensure everyone has enough to eat always.
Read more

MAY 11, 2011

CUTTING FOOD WASTE TO FEED THE WORLD
Roughly one third of the food produced in the world for human consumption every year — approximately 1.3 billion tonnes — gets lost or wasted, according to an FAO-commissioned study.
FAO Study - GLOBAL LOSSES AND FOOD WASTE

May 1, 2011

THE EVOLVING GLOBAL GOVERNANCE OF FOOD SECURITY
Paper by Matias E. Margulis, McMaster University
Department of Political Science/Department Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada
While food security has become a major issue in global governance following the 2007-2008 global food crisis, there is no single international institution responsible for the management of this issue. Instead, responsibility for food security is spread out among a number of international organizations, which causes an overlap of rules and norms. This is a major challenge to achieving global policy coherence on food security and making progress on the eradication of world hunger. This research paper argues that a more effective governance regime for food security requires mechanisms to promote greater internal policy coherence within states and between multiple international institutions.
Paper is available from the Social Science Research Network (SSRN)


April 26, 2011

IFPRI 2020 VISION CONFERENCE - CONFERENCE HIGHLIGHTS
Leveraging Agriculture for Improving Nutrition and Health (PDF file)
Watch video on YouTube
Watch mini documentary on YouTube

April 18, 2011

LES PRIX D'ALIMENTS EXPLOSE
Établissons une chose dès le départ: pour une fois, le mot «explosion» — qu'on a parfois tendance à saupoudrer un peu facilement — n'est probablement pas trop fort. Les prix des denrées, qui ont nourri les révoltes populaires au Moyen-Orient, sont nettement à la hausse. Quelques exemples en vrac: le prix du blé est de 63 % supérieur à son niveau de mars 2010, celui du maïs a bondi de 83 %, la livre de café est passée de 1,30 $ à plus de 2,70 $... «Le stress va continuer, même avec de bonnes récoltes», a dit récemment Pascal Thériault, agroéconomiste et professeur à l'Université McGill. D'ici 2025, selon lui, 200 millions de personnes dans les pays du BRIC — Brésil, Russie, Inde et Chine — vont gagner au moins 15 000 $ par année. Et logiquement, ils vont manger de plus en plus de viande.
Le Devoir

April 14, 2011

High and Volatile Food Prices Continue to Threaten the World’s Poor
Driven in part by higher fuel costs connected to events in the Middle East and North Africa, global food prices are 36 percent above their levels a year ago and remain  volatile, pushing people deeper into poverty, according to new World Bank Group numbers released today.“More poor people are suffering and more people could become poor because of high and volatile food prices,” said World Bank Group President Robert B. Zoellick. “We have to put food first and protect the poor and vulnerable, who spend most of their money on food.”
Read more... 

Food prices: World Bank warns millions face poverty
The World Bank has warned that rising food prices, driven partly by rising fuel costs, are pushing millions of people into extreme poverty. World food prices are 36% above levels of a year ago, driven by problems in the Middle East and North Africa, and remain volatile, the bank said. That has pushed 44 million people into poverty since last June.
Read more ... on BBC News


March 3, 2011

World food prices hit record high: UN
Global food prices reached new highs in February, a United Nations food agency said Thursday, warning that oil price spikes could provoke further increases.
Read and view more on CBC News


February 26, 2011

The 9 billion-people question A special report on feeding the world
The Economist

February 18, 2011

UN food experts call for increased agricultural investment to offset soaring prices
Faced with soaring food prices for the second time in three years, senior United Nations experts today called for greater investment in agriculture from both the public and private sectors to increase smallholder productivity.
Read more on this and other related topics on the United Nations website

February 15, 2011

A new menu for food investors
Harsh weather is disrupting food supply around the world just as a rising middle class in emerging markets and a burgeoning biofuels industry put extra demand on farmers. In this turmoil, investors see opportunity. Futures contracts for coffee, sugar, corn and wheat have rocketed more than 50 per cent since last summer, and financial institutions are responding with new funds that offer ways to bet on rising food prices.
Read more in The Globe and Mail


January 25, 2011

The Future of Food and Farming: Challenges and choices for global sustainability
The Government Office for Science, London.

January 21, 2011

The G20’s next project: Solve global crisis of unstable food prices
Even as the G20 wrestles with the aftermath of the financial crisis, the group of global powers is preparing to tackle another of the world's most urgent issues – wild swings in food prices. Volatile commodity prices have wreaked havoc in the developing world, threatening food supplies in some countries and creating sharp inflation in others.
Read more in The Globe and Mail


DECEMBER 2010

December 2, 2010

Climate change threatens food supply
Un meeting warned of shortages. Invest in agriculture in poor countries now to help farmers cope later, report urges.
Read more in the Montreal Gazette


NOVEMBER 2010

Read the speech given at the Public Lecture by the The Honourable Beverly J. Oda, Minister of International Cooperation

Radio Interviews with conference participants

Dr. David Nabarro interview on CBC Radio Noon
Dr. David Nabarro interview on Radio Canada International
Barbara Burlingame interview on Radio Canada International
Victoria Quinn on Radio Canada International
Panel discussion with Bart Schultz, Sam Asiedu and Sam Gameda on Radio Canada International
Eugene Terry interview on Radio Canada International
Dyno Keatinge on Radio Canada International
Grace Marquis on Radio Canada International

Global Food Security Conference articles in The Western Producer:

Nutrition vital factor in solving hunger issues
UN praises Canada's foreign aid commitment
Hunger goals realistic?
FAO takes heat for alleged biotech bias
Crisis looms in Artctic: expert

Articles of interest

Solving the food crisis - On an ocean planet
Turning to the sea
Will the oceans help feed humanity?