Agricultural Biotechnology: A Lot More than Just GM Crops

This booklet developed by International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-biotech Applications (ISAAA) simplifies agricultural biotechnology and compares the technology with conventional breeding. It outlines the agricultural biotechnology tools used in crops such as tissue culture and micropropagation, molecular breeding and marker-assisted selection, and genetic engineering and GM crops. A section on Answers to Frequently Asked Questions for food safety and environmental issues are also included to clarify important public concerns. Get the full publication here.

FEWS NET: East Africa Food Security Outlook, June 2018 to January 2019

The report by Famine Early Warning System Network (FEWS NET) outlines the food security situation in East Africa between June 2018 and January 2019. Across East Africa, Emergency outcomes persist in parts of South Sudan, Sudan, Somalia, and Yemen. In many previously drought-affected areas of the region, better seasonal performance has driven substantial improvements in Ethiopia’s Somali Region and pastoral areas of Kenya and Somalia. The areas of greatest concern in the region remain Yemen and South Sudan, where in a worst-case scenario Famine is possible. In Ethiopia and Somalia, the above-average Gu rains, coupled with the continued delivery of humanitarian assistance, have improved food security outcomes. In Sudan, well above-average staple food prices are expected to constrain poor households’ purchasing power, likely exacerbating outcomes. While the March to June rains have been above normal seasonal levels in most of Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, Somalia, Ethiopia, and Uganda, severe flooding, population displacement, destruction of crops, livestock, and infrastructure, coupled with an upsurge of vector and water borne diseases, including the Rift Valley Fever in Kenya, have disrupted livelihoods in flood-affected areas. The loss of livelihood assets has limited access to food and income in riverine areas, worsening food security. Get the full publication here

SADC Synthesis Report: The State of Food and Nutrition Security and Vulnerability in Southern Africa 2018

This report by Southern African Development Community (SADC) was compiled from information presented by national vulnerability assessment committees at the Regional Vulnerability Assessment and Analysis (RVAA) Annual Dissemination Forum, 02-05 July 2018, Maseru, Lesotho. Almost 16% of SADC’s rural population have been consistently designated food insecure over the past 5 years. This is despite improved production in some Member States. Climate change, actualized as increasingly frequent and severe natural disasters (especially drought and flooding) contributes to the situation. About 70% of the region’s population depends on agriculture for food, income and employment, all of which hinges on the right amount of rain at the right time. About 29.4 million people are estimated to be food insecure in the 2018/19 consumption year. This number represents about 14.2% of the total population in the 11 countries. It is 13% higher compared to the previous year and about 3% higher than the five-year average for the 11 Member States who provided data. Given that there were no drastic climatic and weather-related shocks in the region, the increasing trend in the number of food insecure population is highly suggestive of chronic long-term structural issues being at the core of the causes of the food insecurity in the region. Get the full publication here.