GAFA | No Farmers, No Food, No Future…..
06 Sep 2019

Beans with benefits

Nutritious, nitrogen-fixing legumes offer bountiful benefits — along with a few challenges.

September 9, 2013 — Lean and towering at 6 feet 5 inches, Ken Giller blends right into the rows of climbing beanstalks he is examining on this blisteringly hot spring day in Buhoro, a village in northern Rwanda. Local farmers who have been growing various varieties of beans bred for high yields and other desirable traits proudly show him their plots on the terraced hillside.

“Aren’t they beautiful?” Giller beams as he plucks a bean shoot from the red soil and slices open a marble-sized nodule on its root.

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07 Apr 2018

How useful really are mobile apps for farmers?

March 14, 2018 — A review of research on how information services based on mobile phone technology can improve the lives of farmers has found only patchy evidence of success.

The review, which looked at 23 studies of such services in Africa, Asia and Latin America, found that although users often reported improvements, these were perceived benefits not always borne out by tangible evidence, such as changing trading patterns and price gains.

Mobile phone services for farmers comprise text message services, helplines and apps that provide information on training or weather forecasts, as well as accessing markets, financing and inputs such as fertilizers.

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20 Jul 2015

OPINION: Agroecology can help fix broken food system

The various incarnations of the sustainable food movement need a science with which to approach a system as complex as food and farming.

June 17, 2015 — Thumb through U.S. newspapers any day in early 2015, and you could find stories on President Obama’s “fast-track” plans for the Trans-Pacific Partnership, antibiotic scares and the worsening California drought. Economists reported on steadily rising income inequality, while minimum-wage food workers took to the picket lines. Americans fled their kitchens and Chipotle welcomed them with farm-friendly appeal. Scientists recorded the warmest winter in history.

These seemingly disconnected events have a common thread: They all are symptoms of a political economy out of kilter with the welfare of the planet and the people who live on it. They are also nestled deep in the way food is grown, distributed and consumed today. What we sometimes call the “agri-food system” is clearly broken — just ask farm workers and food workers (exploited and underpaid), honeybees (collapsing), forested landscapes (fragmenting), the climate (warming), and the ever-growing number of people without access to nutritious food, or the land and resources with which to produce it. 

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