A severe heat waves hit Pakistan’s Sindh province and especially Karachi with above 49c. The absence of water and electricity further aggravated the situation where more than 1100 people died while 100’s are in hospitals
A prolonged dry spell from April to early June 2015 in main growing areas of DPR Korea affected plantings and yield potential of the 2015 food crops. More rains are urgently needed to avoid a significant decrease in 2015 cereal production. Should drought conditions persist, the food security situation is likely to deteriorate from that of the previous years, when most households were already estimated to have borderline and poor food consumption rates. (FAO, 17 Jun 2015)
On 7 June 2015 heavy rains and hails caused flooding in the eastern part of Georgia affecting 8,800 people. On 13 June 2015, the situation in the country escalated further when repeated heavy rains caused mud flow and flash flooding of the rivers Vere and Mtkvari, seriously affecting different central districts of the capital city of Tbilisi and also the surrounding villages. According to official sources, 16 people lost their lives and 24 people are still missing. Out of the 380 households affected, 100 families from Tbilisi and 180 families from the surrounding villages cannot return to their homes. (IFRC, 23 Jun 2015)
06 MAR 2015 01:05 LEE MWITI
A NEW United Nations study has tabled a multi-billion dollar bill in front of African countries, if they are to urgently and successfully initiate adaptation measures to climate change.
The Africa Adaptation Gap Report, the second so far, builds on an earlier one by UN environmental agency UNEP that highlighted the danger of the continent delaying further action.
It shows that by 2050, Africa’s adaptation costs could rise to $50 billion a year if global warming is held to below two degrees celsius. But that would double to $100 billion, or 6% of Africa’s GDP, if the world, currently on a path that could place it to more than four degrees celsius by 2100, does not turn away from that course.
Adaptation is a matter of utmost urgency, the study says: Africa is the continent where a rapidly changing climate will deviate from “normal” earlier than across any other continent.
Climate change has a direct impact on food security, water availability, flooding risk, urban areas and health.
There has been progress, the report says, such as the Green Climate Fund that became operational in December 2014, with about $10 billion in pledges. Half of that money has been earmarked for mitigation in developing countries.
But the facts remain stark, the study released at the African Ministerial Conference on Environment (AMCEN) in Cairo, Egypt, says.
A warming of two degrees celsius would put over half the African continent’s population at risk of undernourishment.
Past global emissions scenarios committed Africa to adaptation costs to $7-15 billion a year by 2020. But only $1-2 billion has been flowing currently from a variety of sources.
The study soberingly shows that even if new suggested avenues for revenue generation were implemented across Africa, only a maximum of $3 billion would be raised by 2020. The continent just does not have the capacity to respond using its own domestic resources.
This, as annual mean temperatures steadily rise higher than any temperature experience locally in history, are already happening in Central Africa and are projected to cover the entire continent over the the next 20-30 years.
By 2100, sea level rise along the Indian and Atlantic Ocean coastlines could on current course be 80 centimetres higher than in 2000, above the global 70 cm average, and could get worse, the report says.
This means the coastal cities of Mozambique, Tanzania, Cameroon, Egypt, Senegal and Morocco are most at risk of major flooding.
The report also provides for solutions and ways forward, including urging Africa to take take “effective and ambitious” mitigation action to deeply cut global emission reductions.
Climate finance pledges of $100 billion made in Copenhagen and Cancun need to be met by 2020 to help address historical resource allocation imbalances, and access to funding by African countries made easier and predictable, it says.
African countries must also better tap international, regional and domestic sources should be explored further.
The report explores the idea of levying transactions on Africa’s extractive industries, financial services and remittances, international trade and transport, and tourism to raise the required revenue.
But it may not be enough.
“The estimated revenue shows that even if such regional revenues were generated by the application of these levies, however, adaptation costs would exceed the revenue generation capacity by as early as 2020.”
The study also offers other domestic avenues available for raising finance, from tax reforms to clamping down on illicit financial flows and roping in the private sector.
But the overall message however is that those most responsible for greenhouse gas emissions must look to alleviate the risk in the most affected countries.
Source: Mail & Guardian, Africa
Ebola impact food security
English.news.cn 2015-03-03 17:58:02
LOME, March 3 (Xinhua) — A West African regional forum kicked off on Monday in the Togolese capital to come up with ways to prevent a food crisis due to the Ebola outbreak.
The forum in Lome was organized by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the West African Economic and Monetary Union (UEMOA), and the Togolese government.
Under the theme of “The impact of Ebola, Performance of regional markets, food and nutritional security of the Sahel and West Africa”, the forum will examine the performance of markets, the impact of Ebola, the food and nutritional situation and propose concrete measures to avert any crisis.
The representative of the Togolese president, Solitoki Esso, urged participants to think through the measures that will enable the populations in the Sahel and West Africa to avoid a famine due to the negative consequences of Ebola.
Reference from: Cornell Chronicle
Rome, 12 February 2015 – The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and the government of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan are financing a US$40.83 million project to contribute towards government’s effort to increase productivity in the livestock and dairy sector and reduce poverty for 112,500 rural households in four districts in the Punjab Province.
IFAD will provide a loan of $35 million on highly concessional terms to finance the Pakistan Livestock and Access to Market Project (LAMP). The loan agreement was signed today in IFAD headquarters by Kanayo F. Nwanze, President of IFAD, and Tehmina Janjua, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Pakistan to the United Nations in Rome.
The project will address key constraints in the livestock sector including high mortality rates. The project will improve farmers’ access to markets and agribusinesses – such as dairies.
The IFAD-supported project is co-financed with contributions from the government of Punjab, the beneficiaries themselves and the private sector. It will be implemented over a six-year period.
“We are addressing the needs of the poorest farmers whose livelihoods and food security depend on livestock,” said Hubert Boirard, Country Programme Manager, IFAD. “Many of these households are headed by women. All livestock farmers will receive training and support to develop livestock production and connect to markets and small dairy businesses in the region.”
To date, IFAD has invested in 26 projects in Pakistan that had a total cost of nearly 2.4 billion of which IFAD contributed $565.8 million, directly benefitting 1,980,400 households.
Reference from: The News
LAHORE: Around eight to 10 sugar mills in Punjab are likely to face bankruptcy by the end of the ongoing crushing season owing to financial crunch after sugar prices crashed in the province and the Sindh government lowered the sugarcane price in the province.
These mills started the current crushing season with around Rs500 to 700 million losses in average in piled-up sugar stocks and they are now unable to even reach the break even cost which may cause collapse of the sugar industry in the province.
In case the financial crunch continues, an amount of over Rs60 billion payable to sugar growers will get stuck up this season. This will directly hit the rural economy, which is already passing through adverse times after crash of cotton and paddy prices during the last season.
The Punjab-based sugar mills crush almost 60 percent of the total sugarcane in the country. This year almost 55 to 57 million metric tonnes of sugarcane is available for crushing, out of which around 36 million metric tonnes would be crushed in Punjab.
Thus, it will crush almost Rs162 billion worth sugarcane during the 2014-15 season, while the industry is likely to default on payment of over Rs60 billion to the sugarcane growers.
The saner millers, anticipating the loss, have not started crushing so far, while National Sugar Mills Sargodha, Kohinoor Sugar Mills Sargodha and Gojra Samundri Sugar Mills were sold during the last season after incurring losses, an industry official disclosed to The News. However, the new entrants, who bought these mills, are also facing a similar situation.
On the other hand, Chishtian Sugar Mills, Phalia Sugar Mills and Huda Sugar Mills did not start their operations during the ongoing crushing season anticipating huge loss due to carried-over stock and good sugarcane crop, depressed international market and other factors.
There are 45 sugar mills in Punjab out of which only two are owned by the ruling family of the province — one each by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif — while 12 out of 37 sugar mills of Sindh are owned by the province’s main political family.
The Punjab government has fixed the minimum purchase price of sugarcane at Rs 180 per 40kg, which is Rs 155 per 40kg in Sindh, thus creating disturbance in the market.In the past, there has hardly been Rs 2 to 5 per 40 kg difference between the Punjab and Sindh sugarcane price resulting in a stable market.
On the other hand, the average sugar recovery in Punjab is 9.5 per cent against 10.5 per cent of Sindh. Thus, the breakeven cost of sugar for Punjab-based sugar mills is Rs 56 per kg at Rs 180 per 40 kg sugarcane price, while it is Rs 47 per kg with Rs 155 per 40 kg price in Sindh.
As the sugar production cost in Sindh is Rs 9 per kg lower than Punjab, the millers are dumping their produce to market in Punjab, distorting the sales of local producers.The total sugar consumption in the country is around 390,000 metric tones, out of which 225,000 metric tones are supplied by Punjab, 100,000 metric tones by Sindh and the remaining by rest of the country.
Currently, the Sindh mills are dumping around 100,000 tones of sugar in Punjab.During the crushing season, the sugar mills sell their produce in the market to run the day-to-day affairs and maintain their cash flows. However, there is a crisis after sugar dumping from Sindh.
The present ex-mill rate in Punjab’s markets is ranging between Rs 49 to 50 per kg while Sindh mills breakeven cost is Rs 47 per kg, thus creating a cushion of Rs 2 to Rs 3 per kg.According to dealers, trucks transporting sugar from Sindh are selling their stocks on a count basis – a formula on the basis of which the sugar mills of Sindh send their vehicles. These truckers sell the goods in different markets at the spot and then return.
The price is still viable for the Sindh millers as compared to Punjab whose breakeven cost is Rs 56 per kg. Adding into the financial woes, the government did not pay two-and-half-year old promised export rebate to the industry.
The industry has exported surplus sugar while the government committed to pay the rebate. The millers are running pillar to post to get the amount but unable to get find an affirmative response.
The financial crisis had surfaced during in 2013-14 when the crushing season was started with surplus stocks while the government delayed the decision on allowing export of surplus.
And the start of crushing season with surplus stocks generated a financial spiral. The problems multiplied as the industry started the new crushing season with a surplus of 638,000 metric tones.
However, the Economic Coordination Committee has allowed the export of 650,000 metric tones of sugar by giving Rs 2 per kg inland freight subsidy and Rs 8 per kg rebate on exports. But the Pakistani sweetener is unable to compete in international market due to the price slump.
Currently, the sugar price in international market is around $395 per metric tones with the FOB cost of $23. If this FOB cost is subtracted then it comes to $372 per metric tone or Rs 37 per kg, while local breakeven cost for Punjab millers is Rs 56 per kg and Rs 47 per kg for those in Sindh. Thus, exporting the commodity is impossible for the local industry while completely unworkable for Punjab-based millers.
But the neighbouring India has given $65 per metric tone rebate against the raw sugar exports. The cost of production for raw sugar ($100 per metric tone) is lower than the refined sugar, thus promoting its industry to export raw sugar more to consolidate its place in international market.
The Pakistani sugar industry has also created a $2 billion worth import substitute window for the country. If Pakistan starts importing sugar for local consumption then it will need $2 billion annually for the purpose, while it will also adversely affect the growers as they cannot shift to other crops easily. Moreover, only sugarcane can be cultivated in many farms (areas) due to the soil quality-related issues.
Ahmed Ibrahim, executive committee member of the PSMA Sindh, said historically, Sindh produced surplus sugar (more than the requirement in the province) and thus sold to other markets. “So is the case this year too,” he said.
He further said sugar mills in upper Sindh usually sold their produce in south Punjab, while “it is now feasible for the lower Sindh millers too to sell sugar in Punjab due to freight charges. “We consider upper Sindh and South Punjab a single market,” he added.
He suggested that the government either fully regularise or de-regularise the sugar industry in order to resolve the sugarcane and sugar price issue as mixed policies created controversies after every few years.
The sugar millers of the Sindh said that the Sindh Government first fixed sugarcane price at Rs 155 per maund as compared to the last year price of Rs 172 per maund. However, when the Punjab government fixed sugarcane price of Rs180 per maund for the crushing season 2014-15 after increasing Rs10 per maund from last crushing season, the Sindh government revised its prices and issued Rs 182 per maund price. The sugar mills of the Sindh challenged this decision before the Sindh High Court. After dismissal of the petition, the millers approached the Supreme Court for relief where the appeal is pending adjudication.
Federal National Food Security and Research Secretary Seerat Asghar said the federal government had nothing to do with sugarcane price as it was a provincial subject. If the difference in sugarcane prices of the two provinces was creating distortion in market the provinces should deal with the issue, , he added.
Sindh Agriculture Secretary Shahid Ali Sheikh said they were aware of the situation and working on the issue to sort it out in the coming days.
Punjab Agriculture Minister Dr Farrukh Javeed said the provincial government had taken up the issue with the federal government and the Ministry of Food Security and Research. “The federal government has asked Sindh to implement Rs182 per kg price as announced earlier rather than the current rate of Rs155 paid by the sugar mills.”
Due to the price disparity, he said, the sugar mills in Punjab were facing difficulties which also delayed payment to sugarcane growers. He questioned why the political government in Sindh was not safeguarding the growers’ interests.
Friday, January 30, 2015
Reference from: The Ecnomic Times
29 Jan, 2015
GENEVA: Disagreements flared up between the US and India here today at the first informal meeting to find a permanent solution on public stockholding for food security in developing countries.
The G-33 countries led by India and including China want public stockholding for food security purposes to come under the “Green Box” — domestic support for agriculture that causes minimal or no trade distortion.
Under current WTO rules, developing countries are subject to only minimal disciplines on agriculture subsidies.
Other countries, including the US and Australia contend that price support is by definition market distorting.
The US said that “members cannot create a loophole in discipline” and are disappointed that the G-33 — a group of developing countries that coordinate on trade and economic issues — re-submitted a proposal that was rejected.
India, on its part, argued that the proposal was never rejected. The EU said there are “legitimate concerns” both of food security and trade distorting impact.
The main element of the G-33 proposal is that acquisition of stocks of foodstuff by developing nations with an objective of supporting low-income producers should not be included in the calculation of Aggregate Measurement of Support (AMS), or the so-called “trade distorting domestic support.”
Even though developing countries are allowed agricultural subsidies, another major area of concern has been the calculation of the AMS– the difference between procurement price and the external reference price is treated as a subsidy to the farmer and included in the AMS.
The external reference price is still calculated on the 1986-88 prices.
Since food prices domestically and internationally have dramatically risen since the time, it effectively limits the governments capability to provide schemes for their small farmers.
India had caused much furore among developed nations last year when it blocked the Trade Facilitation Agreement- for cutting down red tape in global trade– so its food security programme will not be challenged under WTO rules.
India’s Rs 12-billion food security programme, which is binding by law, is a key welfare measure aimed at delivering millions out of poverty by providing subsidies to consumers through the PDS, and the producers of food grains and also through subsidising through inputs like electricity.
The logjam was broken by an interim peace clause in November 2014 that legally protected existing stockholding programmes of developing countries if purchases at government- set prices take the countries’ above the limits they have agreed for trade-distorting domestic support.
Reference from : The Crop Site
MALAWI, AFRICA – Farmers in southern Malawi urgently need seeds and livestock after intense flooding destroyed their fields and homes, washing away animals and crops and threatening local food security.
More than 170,000 people have had to leave their homes. Some 79 deaths have been confirmed so far, while 153 people are still missing in Nsanje district alone. An estimated 116,000 households have lost their crops and livestock.
Malawi is regularly affected by droughts and floods. But the current heavy rains have come ahead of their usual schedule – repeatedly bursting the banks along the Shire and Ruo rivers – and their impact has been far wider.
Warnings of flash floods remain active as moderate to heavy rains are expected in the country’s northern regions. It is estimated that more than 63,000 hectares of land is under water, including 35,000 hectares of crop land, and a state of emergency has been declared for 15 of Malawi’s 28 districts. The the most affected districts are Chikwawa, Nsanje and Phalombe.
Untold numbers of goats and chickens have perished where waters rose with unexpected speed, raising the risk of livestock disease outbreaks.
$16 million plan to save the farming season
The government’s response plan includes a $16 million budget for agricultural needs to put affected farmers back on track to plant and harvest food during this agricultural season. For some fields, crops could be ready as early as June, thus mitigating the need to rely on long-term humanitarian programs.
FAO aims to work closely with the Malawi Government to supply them with short-cycle varieties of maize, rice, sweet potato, cowpeas, vegetable seeds and cassava cuttings for replanting as soon as feasible. At the same time, local families need new livestock to ensure animal protein intake, and irrigation facilities should be restored before the dry season to ensure food production.
“Failure to respond promptly will have lasting consequences,” said Florence Rolle, FAO Representative to Malawi.
“Flood-hit families risk harvesting nothing or very little this year, leaving them food insecure at the very outset of the agricultural season and undermining much of the progress being made in reducing food insecurity in Malawi.” she said.
Long-term watershed management needed to tackle recurrent crises
Some 86 per cent of Malawi’s population live in rural areas and engage in farming and rearing livestock. Average yields on crops in the country have for decades been half that recorded for southern Africa as a whole.
The nation enjoyed a bumper maize harvest in 2014 and overall cereal production rose by 8 percent, leading to lower core food prices and cutting by more than half the number of people assessed as food insecure.
However, last year’s crop had been weak in the districts most affected by the current flooding, prompting local food-security alerts and causing Malawi to be added in October 2014 to the list of countries requiring external assistance for food.
Malawi’s districts are regularly hit by floods and droughts, requiring emergency responses of varying size each year. The frequency and magnitude of the recurrent disasters are worsened by deforestation, population pressure and widespread poverty.
Long-term watershed management infrastructures are urgently needed so that even intense flooding is less damaging than this year.
FAO has been working closely with the Government and other partners in Malawi to build more resilient livelihoods and reduce exposure to risks such as floods and dry spells.
Last year FAO, together with UNDP, UNICEF and WFP, started piloting an integrated approach to resilience integrating nutrition education, climate smart agricultural practices, saving and loans and disaster risk reduction in the district of Phalombe which has been severaly hit by the current floods. This project is supporting the Government of Malawi’s national social protection support strategy and programme.
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