Women Disproportionately Affected by COVID-19 Hunger
COVID-19 may leave an additional 130 million people hungry by the end of the year, according to the United Nations. And a recent report by CARE, titled “Left Out and Left Behind: Ignoring Women Will Prevent Us from Solving the Hunger Crisis,” shows how women and girls are bearing the brunt of that burden. Business closures and social distancing measures have barred women and girls from work across the globe and rising prices, food shortages, and market closures have made it harder for women to secure food. Despite the disproportionate challenges facing women and girls, many policymakers have failed to address gender inequalities. CARE argues that policymakers and organizations must confront gender inequality to overcome the hunger crises at large.
PHOTO OF THE WEEK
Raspberries are pictured during a harvest season at a local farm near Chillan, Chile. (REUTERS/Jose Luis Saavedra)
The Case of Cameroon: Food security has long been an element of conflict and political instability. The Council’s US Navy Federal Executive Fellow, Commander Michele Lowe, explains how food insecurity fears in Cameroon can fuel instability in our latest collaboration with Agri-Pulse. As the largest foreign assistance provider in the region, the US would be on the hook to lead response efforts should Cameroon falter.
UPCOMING COUNCIL EVENTS
Scaling Soils Restoration: A Roadmap for Action
Date: October 15
Time: 7 am CT
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FOOD AND AGRICULTURAL ISSUES
Dodgy Berries Dodge Regulations: A Reuters investigation linked a 2017 norovirus outbreak in Quebec to a scheme involving raspberries coming from the previously banned Chinese supplier, Harbin Gaotai Food Co Ltd. Harbin Gaotai raspberries entered Canada through a backdoor in the form of falsely labeled fruit shipped from Chile by Frutti di Bosco. The raspberries were imported from China to Chile, through New-Zealand, repackaged in Chile, and sold to Canada, the US, Kuwait, Turkey and the United Arab Emirates.
Tracking Your Chocolate: The chocolate industry has faced criticism and scrutiny over child labor and environmental impacts for years. While many companies have achieved partial visibility on the cacao beans purchased to produce chocolate, the remainder are difficult to trace. GPS and mobile technology have helped the industry’s efforts to achieve traceability.
Pork Miracle: Pork was once an occasional luxury in China, but its consumption is rising across the country alongside the national average income. Threats to pork production in China, such as a growing African swine fever (ASF) epidemic, threaten not just China’s pork supply, but the whole world’s. To address these threats, Chinese pig farmers are turning to technological advancements, such as AI.
Counting Beans: Cacao trees produce pods that contain 20-50 seeds. These seeds are referred to as beans, which produce chocolate. One pound of bittersweet chocolate requires 400-500 beans. A skilled worker can harvest 1500 pods per day—which translates to between 75 and 150 pounds of chocolate.
Fishing Fleet Goes Dark: The non-profit Oceana reports that currently only 126 of 300 previously counted Chinese fishing vessels near Peru are visible through the ships’ Automatic Identification Systems (AIS). Because AIS is not mandatory, the fishing fleet may be purposefully disabling its systems to avoid detection and switching trackers back on after exiting protected marine areas. By pressuring international governments to mandate the use of AIS and increase the availability of fisheries data, supply chain transparency might be improved and illegal activities less likely to occur.
Fertilizing Emissions: A five-year study has found that rising use of nitrogen-based fertilizers from 1980-2016 has increased global emissions of nitrous oxide (N20). N20 is a lesser-known greenhouse gas, often overshadowed in policy decisions by carbon dioxide and methane.
When Invasive Species Become Dinner: A broad movement is emerging to reduce, if not eradicate, invasive species through a novel approach – cooking them for your next meal. The theory goes that the more people eat invasive species, the more incentive there is to hunt and harvest them until the supply is gone. This approach comes with a host of challenges, including what should happen if the plan backfires and recasts these species as a valued commodity.
Smallholders, Big Influence: A group of Senators spearheaded by Jim Risch (R-ID) and Jim Inhofe (R-OK) presented a letter to US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer to urge the speedy conclusion of a comprehensive free trade agreement with Taiwan. Such an agreement would lessen Taiwan’s dependence on trade with China and bolster American economic influence in the region, but Taiwan’s smallholder-driven agricultural sector threatens to impede any deal that does not grant them significant concessions.
Peace Prize: The World Food Program was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for its work combatting global hunger. The Nobel Committee praised the WFP for creating and supporting conditions for peace in conflict-affected nations, and for preventing the use of hunger as a weapon of war. The WFP estimates that the number of people experiencing severe food insecurity could double to 265 million by the end of the year.
TRADE & COMMODITIES
Still Rising: The FAO food price index rose in September, for the fourth month in a row. The rise was especially driven by cereals and vegetable oils. Wheat prices have risen dramatically, in part due to Russian export quotas. The FAO projects a record high cereal harvest in 2020. Sugar prices fell while dairy prices remained stable.
OTHER UPCOMING EVENTS
The World Food Prize Borlaug Dialogues
Date: October 12-18
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