The 10-year agricultural outlook by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations predicts that income growth in middle-income countries will see consumers transform their diets from staples to higher-value products, such as fats and animal-based protein. Meanwhile, environmental and health concerns in high-income countries are expected to support a transition from animal-based protein towards alternative sources.
It is a theme I remember well from the children’s tales and Bible stories my mother used to read to my sisters and me when we were girls. Aesop’s loafing grasshopper procrastinated until it was too late to gather food for the long, dry winter months and then ended up having to beg for something to eat from the hard-working ant who spent his whole summer diligently gathering food.
The latest edition of the ‘State of food security and nutrition in the world’ has found that the number of people affected by hunger globally has been slowly on the rise since 2014. The report, published by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, estimates that almost 690 million people went hungry in 2019, an increase of almost 10% over the past five years. The high costs and low affordability of healthy and nutritious diets also continue to contribute to the malnutrition of billions of people.
There isn’t much left to say about 2020 that hasn’t already been said. It was one of those years that will punctuate our generation’s brief time on this planet in the history books.
By disrupting international supply chains, the COVID-19 pandemic has triggered much debate about the need for deglobalisation. This presents an ideal opportunity for Africa to explore the regionalisation of agribusiness on the continent, writes Louis van Ravesteyn, head of Agri Business Pan Africa within the Personal and Business Banking division at Standard Bank Group.
In a recent presentation to Parliament’s Portfolio Committee for Agriculture, Rural Development and Land Reform, the Auditor-General reported that the department of agriculture and related entities had R46,3 million in fruitless and wasteful expenditure in the 2019/2020 financial year.
Demand for nuts is set to continue growing strongly worldwide, but this does not mean the industry can grow complacent about improving production efficiencies. This is the opinion of Axel Breuer, CEO of AgroPress, which publishes The Clipper, an international magazine dealing with nut and dried fruit production and processing.
While gene editing has the potential to reduce human suffering, irresponsible use could be devastating, according to Dr Jamie Metzl, futurist and author.
I was 10 or 11 years old when I saw, for the first time, a grown man cry. Back then, the only veterinarian in town had an office across the road from the library.
Pierre Cloete, CEO International Wealth & Prosperity, writes that the future of South Africa is gloomy and that investors and workers need to protect themselves by diversifying their portfolios with offshore investments.
Land reform has, for the most part, been somewhat in limbo since Cyril Ramaphosa became president in 2018. But the recent announcement by Minister Thoko Didiza of the Department of Agriculture, Rural Development and Land Reform (agriculture department) that 896 farms, measuring 700 000ha, of underutilised or vacant state land would be made available to the public has certainly got the ball rolling on land reform.
The re-evaluation of government spending, although much needed, will not be enough to address South Africa’s immense economic challenges. There also needs to be stronger political will and leadership to address poor implementation, writes Dr John Purchase, CEO of the Agricultural Business Chamber.