Tag Archives: food security

Pakistan’s escalating housing crisis is devouring arable land | Instant News


The escalating housing crisis is rapidly gobbling up Pakistan’s farmland, which may have cascading effects on the country’s food security in the years to come.

Increasing population and housing needs have turned large chunks of green land, not only in big cities but in small districts, into concrete jungle in recent years in the northeastern Punjab provinces and south of Sindh, which are considered the two main bread baskets of the country. that.

Standing outside of a fenced housing scheme in a village 10 kilometers (6 miles) north of the northeastern city center of Faisalabad, it’s hard to imagine that modern villas are built on agricultural fields, which produce wheat, sugar cane and other seasonal crops. vegetables, apart from being forage for livestock until a few years ago.

Guarded by savvy security guards, this is one of hundreds of similar schemes that have recently sprung up in and around the country’s textile hubs on farmlands and gardens over a decade.

“Hundreds of farmers have sold their farms to real estate developers in recent years, which has resulted in this form of luxury villas in and around the city,” Nadeem Shahid, a villager, told Anadolu Agency.

Real estate developers, he says, are offering farmers three times the market price, a temptation that is hard to ignore.

“Now [after selling farmlands], it’s not just people like us but the farmers themselves who buy flour, flour and vegetables from the market, ”he said.

“I don’t know how long the remaining peasants will fight back?” Shahid said, pointing to a nearby field where a group of farmers plowed for the next harvest.

The situation is no different in the state capital Islamabad, the commercial capital of Karachi, the cultural center of Lahore and other cities, where most of the lush green land and forests have been converted into housing schemes.

According to Shaukat Ali Chadhar, general secretary of the Pakistan Kisan (farmers) council, a non-governmental agricultural research and advisory organization, about 20% to 30% of arable land is in Punjab province, which constitutes 65% of the country. total food needs, have been converted into industrial units and housing schemes.

In Lahore itself, he said, 70% of agricultural land has been converted into housing and industrial units, followed by Gujrat with the ratio of 60%.

“In Lahore, the remaining 30% of arable land is safe for security reasons only because of its location near the border with India,” he said.

In other agricultural districts in central Punjab – also known as merchant Punjab, such as Faisalabad, Gujranwala, Sheikhupura and Kasur, 30% to 40% of arable land has been sold to real estate developers and industrialists, he added.

Land tenure ratios, he observed, are still satisfactory in southern Punjab and the northern districts of Sindh, which together currently produce more than 50% of the country’s wheat, sugarcane and cotton.

Food security

The booming sale of arable land and the government’s “discouraging” attitude towards farmers will cause serious food safety problems in the coming years, Chadhar warned.

“Agriculture is no longer a for-profit business in countries like Pakistan, where governments tend to fill less pockets rather than lucrative and encourage the entire agricultural sector,” he said while criticizing the government’s decision to import wheat to overcome it. possible crop shortages.

“The government imports wheat from Ukraine and Russia at much higher prices but is not ready to price that support to local farmers. That is [government] discourage farmers, force them to sell their land and look for other businesses, “he said.

“If this trend is not checked immediately, remember my word, we will face serious food security problems in the coming years,” he warned.

Asked if there should be a ban on the sale of agricultural land for commercial purposes, he said: “How can we ask or expect from small farmers not to sell their land when the government doesn’t give them incentives, and at the same time they get triple the price.”

Voicing food security concerns, Javed Humayun, joint senior secretary at the Ministry of National Food Research and Security said the government was “worried” and “fully aware” of the growing phenomenon of development on agricultural land.

“Deliberations are being held to find a solution to this serious problem,” Humayun told Anadolu Agency, noting that there is currently no law prohibiting the use of agricultural land for residential purposes.

The government, he said, has already supported the idea of ​​building multi-storey buildings in cities to overcome the housing crisis.

No need

Arif Hassan, a Karachi-based urban planner, views the whole phenomenon as “unnecessary.”

“Building these housing societies has nothing to do with state housing issues. They are not meant for the poor or low-income people but for the rich, who consider it the best way to launder their black money or buy land for investment purposes, Hasan told Anadolu Agency.

Last April, the government announced there would be no questions about the source of income in case of investment in the construction industry.

If the government wants to solve the housing problem, said Hasan, it will have enough land to develop cheap housing schemes for the poor, even in big cities.

“In Karachi alone, the government owns 4,000 Acer lands, where they can develop low-cost housing schemes to benefit the poor, who deserve it,” he said.

Issues related to the environment

Recently, images and videos of a truck filled with logs and mango trees cut down to build a housing scheme in northeast Multan went viral on social media networks, drawing outrage from environmentalists and residents.

Multan is known as Pakistan’s “mango town” due to the production of several well-known fruit varieties, most notably Chaunsa.

In addition, the government’s plans to build a new city on twin islands in the Arabian Sea have drawn harsh criticism from environmentalists, who see the ambitious project as a “serious” threat to the region’s entire ecosystem.

Located 3 nautical miles west off the coasts of Karachi, Bundaal and Bundu, it serves as a natural fortress against cyclones and tsunamis as well as being a popular destination for hundreds of thousands of migratory birds from Siberia.

The government plans to connect the islands to the Karachi coast via a bridge after turning it into a luxury offshore development.

It all comes as Prime Minister Imran Khan’s government receives credit for its widely publicized “billion trees” project aimed at mitigating climate change and environmental problems, which the South Asian nuclear nation has long faced.

“This is a very dangerous phenomenon because it will not only affect national food security but also the environment,” Shabina Faraz, an environmental expert based in Karachi told Anadolu Agency.

“Pollution and smog have reached alarming levels due to unplanned urbanization. Further development in forests and agricultural land will leave us nowhere [in terms of the environment],” she says.

The Anadolu Agency website contains only a portion of the news offered to subscribers on the AA News Broadcasting System (HAS), and is in summary form. Please contact us for subscription options.


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Thousands of donations were raised statewide for the first ‘Feed Utah’ food drive | Instant News

That the first “Utah Feed” food drive in the state took place on Saturdays with thousands of food donations collected by residents and volunteers.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Related Food Stores, National Guard, and Boys and Girls Clubs from various states and many other local and interfaith entities partnering with collect and deliver bags and boxes of food to assist the Utah Food Bank.

Many other faith-based groups that have food kitchens across the state of Utah also co-sponsor food drives including:

  • Catholic Community Service,
  • Holy Trinity Church,
  • The Church of the Prophet Elias,
  • Fish-n-Loaves Food Kitchen.

Utah Food Bank CEO Ginette Bott said in a prepared statement:

Needs increased dramatically. [COVID] has changed many things in the lives of the families we serve.

Utah is a state of 3.1 million people. Typically, the state has about 500,000 people who struggle with food insecurity. The pandemic expanded this to 160,000, Bott said.


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‘Songs of HOPE’- Music to Help Overcome Food Insecurity | Food Drink | Instant News

HOPE from Winston-Salem very happy to be working with old HOPERS Dale Cole & Virtual Village to bring music to the unifying energy, and help promote nutrition for children.

‘Songs of HOPE’ is a double album consisting of 37 original songs by local artists with a passion for singing, writing songs, and helping their communities. By contributing their talents, time, and production, they have created a cool song collaboration that will resonate with all listeners.

Dale Cole, a musician in several bands including Gypsy Soul, spearheaded the project, “I have had the idea for this in my mind since late fall. With the Virtual Village on a hiatus due to the weather, I came up with the Inclusion Project. This is a part of VV’s music. My idea is for artists to hang out with other people who they don’t normally interact with musically. Knowing from volunteering at HOPE, there is an extreme need in the community to help overcome food insecurity, so I asked for a proposal. And Songs Of HOPE was born with an overwhelming response from 37 songs! “

Brooks Jones, Songwriters and Musicians, “I am proud and honored to be included with many of the best musicians in Forsyth County in this HOPE fundraiser. Writing songs with my husband Steve and having a place where we can share them with the world has been a bright spot in a challenging year. I want to think of the songs in this compilation to represent the best of us as a musical community, united for a good cause. “


where the results will help promote more healthy and productive food choices for children in food insecure environments.

HOPE WAS procure, prepare, and ship over 1,200+ nutritious meals for children and weigh 1,500 pounds. produce to parents every weekend – the equivalent of $ 20 = 20 meals. Funds remain local because of local needs. All proceeds from sales will help HOPE provide healthier food and more products that are sourced locally to the environment, where healthy food sources are not available, affordable with limited sources of transport. Children will be able to start the study week with a sharp mind, a full stomach and better health and fitness.

HOPE of Winston-Salem was founded in 2014 with the aim of using volunteer support across the community to prepare and provide nutritious weekend meals to thousands of children in Forsyth. 1 in every 4 children in North Carolina has insufficient food to meet nutritional needs. With support from donors, volunteers, and community leaders, so far HOPE has served over 350,000 meals and over 596,000 lbs. produce. HOPE wants to make food healthier and produce food accessible to the desert community for better health and wellness as there is an increasing need. Every child should have access to healthy food / products, regardless of zip code. see www.hopews.org, FB = @Hopeofwinstonsalem Instagram = @hope_ws #hopeofwinstonsalem

Virtual Village is a creative thinking collaboration in Winston Salem. We are here to raise fun as well as money to help our community. The Inclusion Project is part of the VV for musicians and songwriters. With a wealth of talent in our area, the concept is to find friends and musicians you don’t usually work with. Write a song or song and collaborate with these people. Also record your song with people you don’t normally play with. Let the creative energy take you where you want it to be.

Shine A Light


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Philippines: Facing COVID and the climate crisis | Global Ideas | DW | Instant News

Colin Seranina has been a fisherman for 25 years. The waters around Pilar on the island of Ponson, Philippines, once provided enough fish to feed his family of four children with some extra to sell at the market.

But the island is highly vulnerable to climate change, and fishermen now often return home empty-handed after a day at sea.

Times have become more difficult since the coronavirus pandemic hit, as the big fish market closed. In contrast, Seranina and other fishermen sell their remaining catch to their neighbors at a much lower price than they receive at the market.

Communities like those in Pilar work with conservation NGOs Rare to ensure they have food security in the future. They are well established beach protection areas to allow fish populations to recover and have set up savings clubs so fishing families have some money to rely on.

Project objectives: Protect coastal areas and create sustainable fisheries to secure food and livelihoods in Micronesia, Indonesia, Marshall Islands, Palau, Philippines. By 2020, additional coronavirus response measures are implemented to ensure people have enough to eat

Budget: The German Ministry of the Environment provided nearly € 6 million ($ 7.2 million) in its framework International Climate Initiative (IKI) for the project “Fishing for Climate Resilience”

Project partners: Rare Conservation NGO, which develops existing community initiatives in several coastal areas

Project duration: September 2018 – December 2022

A film by Joachim Eggers and Dhang de Castro


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Ancient creatures threaten the food supply in Kenya | Instant News


Isabel Mberia points to corn crops on her farm in Tigania in the Meru region of eastern Kenya.

Ancient creatures threaten the food supply in Kenya

The morning air was filled with a muffled, buzzing cracking sound.

Instead of the usual green that people expect, the plants are filled with brownish-yellow grasshoppers chewing on the leaves and growing corn cobs.

“When Kenya was attacked by grasshoppers last year, we survived. They didn’t reach here, but this whole year we woke up one morning and people could barely see the sun, ”Mberia, 61, told Anadolu Agency. “There are millions of grasshoppers everywhere. Some people in the market said they had just migrated but they were still here eating it all. “

Its prized mango tree, among others, is in its fields, filled with grasshoppers. The tiny ancient creature that has been a nightmare for farmers since time immemorial is chewing on flowers, fruit, seeds, leaves, and even tree bark.

“There’s not much we can do about them. We tried to get rid of them but there were too many of them, ”said Mberia. “We’ve never had a food problem here. Together with my husband, in over 40 years of farming, we have never seen anything like it. This is the worst plague we have ever seen. Now food is very expensive because all of our food is being eaten. “

Biblical plague

Farmer Anne Kagendo, 48, also counted the losses and bemoaned the locust invasion that led to food shortages.

“They eat tomatoes, potatoes, corn, various beans, even cotton … who knows that grasshoppers eat cotton … even my neighbor’s wheat and bananas have been eaten,” he said. “This is clearly a biblical plague. I have never seen anything like this, they are merciless and hungry all the time. ”

Thousands of farmers in Meru Regency are counting huge losses because desert grasshoppers destroy agriculture every day. Locusts arrived at a time when most of the produce grown in eastern Kenya was ready to be harvested.

Farmers in Meru are among hundreds of thousands from 14 other districts of the 47 that make up Kenya, which was hit by a second wave of locust outbreaks that were twice as deadly as the one that hit Kenya in 2020.

The government said it had deployed spraying and surveillance planes to help deal with the pests and noted it had sufficient resources and was better equipped than 2020 to fight back.

Government spokesman Cyrus Oguna is pushing for collaborative efforts with Ethiopia and Somalia, from where grasshoppers migrate to Kenya, to eradicate pests.

“If Kenya is actively containing or combating locusts, it may not mean much if neighboring countries do not do the same,” he said in a statement.

Agriculture Minister Peter Munya told reporters that more than 75 herds had been reported in Kenya.

“We can’t fight grasshoppers in Somalia and Ethiopia where they breed. “What we can do is fight them in Kenya, because they are breeding in Kenya, it should be noted that the war against grasshoppers might last until June,” he said.

Armed with an estimated budget of 3.2 billion shillings, or $ 30 million, set aside to fight a second wave, Munya said Kenya was well equipped to fight the swarm and promised that in countries where livelihoods had been affected, governments would step in and offers crop and livestock interventions that include distribution of seeds and cereals, clean water and fertilizers among others.

The desert locust is considered the most destructive migratory pest in the world, according to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).

A one-square-kilometer swarm, a little over a mile and a half, contains up to 80 million locusts and can eat the same amount of food in one day as about 35,000 people. The number of grasshoppers increased 20-fold in three months with each new generation.

Food shortages

At the Mulika market in Tigania, residents complain that even though the government has guaranteed everything will be fine, food shortages have occurred.

“The price of foodstuffs, especially our basic needs … mostly vegetables, has increased three or even four times,” said Kagwiria Juliet.

He noted that residents are now forced to eat lots of cereals that have been dried and preserved.

However, the poultry business is booming.

“Our business is doing very well because grasshoppers are a good food source for poultry,” said trader Timothy Munya. “Birds love grasshoppers. We are not sure if we can meet the demand and many people choose foods like chicken because it is cheaper. “

The intensity of East African desert locusts has also been blamed on climate change with a focus on Cyclone Gati that hit the Somali coast in the Indian Ocean in November last year, the FAO said.

The East African food basket region receives heavy rainfall during the summer, promising farmers good yields and providing plentiful grazing land for nomadic herders.

But the torrential rains also provided food for the locust swarms that originated in Yemen, moved to Somalia and spread across East Africa.

Etienne Peterschmitt of the United Nations said in a statement: “Rain and wind are the two most favorable conditions for desert locusts to reproduce rapidly and spread over areas where they have been controlled.”

In Kenya, where grasshoppers have ripped through more than a quarter of counties across the country, nomadic farmers and herders have been left destroyed.

The Anadolu Agency website contains only a portion of the news offered to subscribers on the AA News Broadcasting System (HAS), and is in summary form. Please contact us for subscription options.


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