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International Day of the Girl:
October 11 is International Day of the Girl Child, which was established by the United Nations in 2012. Girls Leading: From Rural Economies to Global Solutions—available as both a fully online digital experience and as a PDF—is a collection of diverse views and perspective from 20 authors around the world which highlights the power and potential of girls. Led by Catherine Bertini, this project continues the work begun in 2009 on the Council's Girls in Rural Economies project, providing an update on the progress made since the 2011 release of Girls Grow: A Vital Force in Rural Economies.
PHOTO OF THE WEEK
A nomad girl runs while grazing her family's goats and sheep on the outskirts of Peshwar, Pakistan. (REUTERS/Fayaz Aziz)
Banana Defense: FAO has launched an emergency program to help protect Latin American banana crops from fusarium. The fungus can cause 100 percent crop loss, which would have devastating results for the region. FAO is providing technical support to prevent the spread of the disease, such as increasing biodiversity and encouraging supportive policy environments.
Emergency Pork: China is drawing on a national pork reserve to help mitigate the market effects of African swine fever, which have been exacerbated by US-China trade relations. The reserve was created in the 1970s to help combat price swings. The total amount of reserve pork is a state secret, but has been estimated at 200,000 tons.
Planetary Health: Several scientific and multilateral reports were released this year urging immediate individual and collective action to shift natural resource management on a global scale. The Council will be hosting Esther Ngumbi, Tatiana Schlossberg, and Ertharin Cousin in a discussion of planetary health on October 23, to discuss the impact individuals' actions. They hope to answer the question, what can we do, and does it matter?
FOOD AND AGRICULTURAL ISSUES
Tuna In Trouble: A new study finds that, despite a persistent lack of data, the amount of tuna removed from the oceans has increased by 1000 percent in the last 60 years. The study focused on industrial fishing of tuna, which now covers between 55 to 90 percent of global oceans.
Farmers on the Edge of Crisis: Nambia’s state of emergency due to drought has been extended, along with a comprehensive drought relief program for farmers. Farmers have begun feeding cattle shredded tree branches to cope with lack of fodder, which has raised concerns about deforestation.
SEE ALSO: Drought Pushes Zimbabwe to the Brink
Bad News for Foie Gras? The World Organization for Animal Health has reported that mild bird flu virus has been detected on a duck farm in France. Infected birds are to be culled, and detection occurred as part of planned surveillance.
How many bird flus are there? All bird flu viruses are influenza Type A viruses, which are further classified as either low or high pathogenic. Low pathogenic strains can cause mild symptoms or go entirely undetected. High pathogenic strains, like H5N1, can cause high numbers of fatality. Subtypes within influenza A viruses are based on two proteins on the surface of the virus—which could, theoretically, be combined in almost 150 ways.
Blockchain Meets Crop Chains: Several companies are joining forces to bring blockchain to agriculture. Introducing the technology into farming could result in more traceable, efficient, and equitable supply chains. The adoption of blockchain will also accelerate digitization of the field.
Nature battles floods: Citizens of Gorakhpur, India are using adaptive agricultural techniques to combat annual flooding of the city. By rotating multiple crops per year and reducing chemical fertilizers, farmers have prevented harmful water run-off from ruining soil and forming swamps.
Green Autumn: FAO Director General Qu Dongyu highlighted the importance of green agriculture for climate resilience at the Golden Autumn Exhibition in Moscow. Digitization will play a critical role in transforming the production of food towards sustainable methods, as well as reducing food loss and waste.
Beef in Space: A cultured meat company has successfully grown bovine cells in space. It hopes that cultured meat could be a future food source for astronauts, as the process does not require the land or water resources necessary for producing beef.
Carbon Sequestration Through Agriculture: Researchers at Indigo Agriculture announced that farmers have submitted over 10 million acres of farmland to its Terraton Initiative. The program hopes to employ regenerative farming techniques to harness the potential of soil to draw down atmospheric carbon dioxide. Growers who sign up could be eligible to receive at least $15 per metric ton sequestered in their soils.
USAID Signs Aid Agreement With Venezuela: At an event on Tuesday, USAID Administrator Mark Green signed a bilateral agreement providing $98 million in development assistance to Venezuela. The action formalizes the US partnership with Juan Guaidó. The funds will assist with ongoing development organizations along with new projects focused on increasing food security and much needed agricultural resources.
TRADE & COMMODITIES
Soy on the Rise: Chinese buyers bought more than 1.5 million metric tons of US soybeans in the last week of September, a move which fueled optimism over recently resumed trade talks. The past two months have seen the highest soybean sales to China since January 2018.
Promise in the Pacific: The United States and Japan have signed a limited trade deal. The pact will eliminate Japanese tariffs on US food and agricultural imports. This restores market access at levels that match the TPP agreement from which the United States pulled out in 2017
US-Africa Forum on Agricultural Technology
Date: October 15
Location: Des Moines, Iowa
Borlaug Dialogue International Symposium
Date: October 16-18
Location: Des Moines, Iowa
CGIAR Big Data in Agriculture Convention
Date: October 16-18
Location: Hyderabad, India
A Healthy People and Planet: From Action to Change
Date: October 23
Location: Chicago, Illinois
Smart Urban Food Systems Summit
Date: November 4-5
Location: Brooklyn, New York
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