Drinking rainwater from banana leaf, Nigeria. (c) I. Uwanaka/UNEP peopleandplanet.net
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Drinking rainwater from banana leaf, Nigeria. (c) I. Uwanaka/UNEP
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food and agriculture > features

Falling water tables 'could hit food supply'
"In recent months, rising oil prices have focused the world's attention on the depletion of oil reserves. But the depletion of underground water resources from overpumping is a far more serious issue," says Lester Brown in his latest book, Outgrowing the Earth. Pointing out that there are substitutes for oil, but no substitutes for water, he warns that "excessive pumping for irrigation to satisfy food needs today almost guarantees a decline in food production tomorrow." Here Lester Brown sums up the central argument of his new book. ... more

Nigerian women prepare for cassava war
by Bimbo Oloyede

Nigerian women are confronting big time export interests in a war over their traditional staple food, cassava. The women simply want to keep the popular "gari" (the local term for cassava) on their family menu while the government and several donors and international agencies have set their sights on the export market. ... more

An Indian village says 'no' to pesticides

by Kavitha Kuruganti

In 2003, a small village in the Indian state of Andhra Pradesh, declared itself pesticide-free. Since then, its farmers have stopped using pesticides for crops like cotton, Bengal gram, chilli and paddy - all known to use notoriously high quantities of pesticides. Kavitha Kuruganti reports on the greening of this village. ... more

The new farmer
by Kavitha Kuruganti

Everyone in Edamelaiyur village in the Thiruvarur district of Tamil Nadu knows where Selvamani Valarmathi lives. This is unusual as most village women in India are known as someone's wife, daughter or mother. But Valarmathi's identity as a special woman farmer is established in the area. Kavitha Kuruganti reports on this remarkable woman's effort to sustainably farm rice, which has reaped both praise and yields. ... more

Cars are grabbing world's grain supply
by Lester R. Brown

Cars, not people, will claim most of the increase in world grain consumption this year. The US Department of Agriculture projects that world grain use will grow by 20 million tons in 2006. Of this, 14 million tons will be used to produce fuel for cars in the United States, leaving only 6 million tons to satisfy the world's growing food needs. ... more

Deadly impact of growing demand for meat
The growing demand for meat has become a driving force behind virtually every major category of environmental damage now threatening the human future, according to US experts. ... more

World food security deteriorating:
by Lester Brown

Closing the gap in the world grain harvest this year following four consecutive grain harvest shortfalls, each larger than the one before, will not be easy. The grain shortfall of 105 million tons in 2003 is easily the largest on record, amounting to 5 per cent of annual world consumption of 1,930 million tons, warns Lester Brown. ... more

Canada: New boss on the farm
by Sabita Majid

In recent years, with organic farms growing at the rate of 20-25 per cent a year in Canada, a whole new world of leadership and freedom has opened up for women farmers, as Sabita Majid reports. ... more

China's shrinking grain harvest
by Lester Brown

The recent shortfall in China's grain harvest has triggered emergency action by the government. But, as Lester Brown reports, China's growing demand for food and its falling harvests, could have long-term geopolitical consequences. ... more

Counting the human cost of drought in India
by Lalitha Sridhar

For the past three years the south Indian state of Tamil Nadu has been suffering from poor monsoon rains, possibly linked to climate change. The resulting drought has had a devastating impact on poor rural families, not least the women and children, as Lalitha Sridhar reports. ... more

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