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Assorted Personal Notations, Essays, and Other Jottings

Posts Tagged ‘agriculture

[BLOG] Some Wednesday links

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  • blogTO notes that someone built a lego replica of Toronto’s Junction neighbourhood circa 1887.
  • Centauri Dreams notes the OSIRIS REx asteroid sample return mission’s launch.
  • The Dragon’s Gaze reports on the HD 219134 planetary system, just nearby.
  • The Dragon’s Tales suggests nuclear fusion is getting measurably closer.
  • Joe. My. God. has more on the man who murdered a teenage girl at Jerusalem’s pride parade.
  • Language Hat notes the attitude of Jabotinsky towards the Hebrew language.
  • Lawyers, Guns and Money notes the mid-19th century convergence of anti-Communist and pro-slavery attitudes.
  • Marginal Revolution looks forward to an Uighur restaurant in Virginia.
  • Personal Reflections’ Jim Belshaw reflects on wool.
  • Torontoist reviews all of the terrible food available at the Canadian National Exhibition.
  • Towleroad reports testimony about the terrible fates facing gay men under ISIS rule.
  • Why I Love Toronto reports on the blogger’s exciting week.
  • Window on Eurasia notes the accidental release of Russia’s casualty information in the Ukrainian war, with two thousand dead.

[BLOG] Some Tuesday links

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  • Antipope’s Charlie Stross and Whatever’s John Scalzi react to the Sad Puppies’ shut-out at the Hugos.
  • blogTO notes a poll suggesting that 85% of Torontonians think taxis are safer than Uber.
  • Centauri Dreams considers the potential role comet impacts may have had on the development of life.
  • Crooked Timber’s Corey Robin engages with Ta-Nehisi Coates.
  • The Dragon’s Gaze considers ways to detect life on worlds inhabited by extremophiles and examines the impact of ultraviolet radiation on hypothetical Earth-like exoplanets.
  • The Dragon’s Tales is upset that the United States suggested Ukraine should not immediately respond to the intrusion of Little Green Men.
  • Far Outliers notes the extreme casualty projections for an invasion of Japan in the Second World War.
  • Language Hat notes the controversy over the question of who the Indo-Europeans were.
  • Lawyers, Guns and Money notes the life of a Brazilian leader of a famous naval rebellion.
  • Marginal Revolution tries to start a debate on what the United States would look like if it had open borders.
  • The Planetary Society Blog features a report by Marc Rayman noting the ongoing mapping of Ceres.
  • Savage Minds carries an interview with anthropologist Christian Zloniski regarding export agriculture in Baja California.
  • Torontoist describes the controversial visit of a Toronto journalist to the Soviet Union in 1932.
  • Window on Eurasia notes that Crimea is removing Ukrainian from its education system and wonders if Belarus is moving away from Russia.

[LINK] “Fish Farming Becomes Bigger Business Than the Open Sea”

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Bloomberg Business’ Iris Almeida reports on the ascent of fish farming.

For the first time, the world is eating more fish from farms than from the open sea, spurring billions of dollars of takeovers as one of the largest food companies seeks to capitalize on rising demand.

The latest buyer to enter the fray is Cargill Inc., the world’s biggest grain trader and a meat supplier, which said Monday it agreed to acquire Norwegian salmon-feed business EWOS Holding AS for $1.5 billion.

Fish consumption is growing at a faster pace than beef, pork and poultry, driven by an expanding, increasingly prosperous global population that recognizes the health benefits of eating seafood. Demand is forecast by the United Nations to outstrip supply in coming years. Wild fish aren’t going to fill the gap, and that leaves farming in lakes and coastal waters — also known as aquaculture — to make up the shortfall.

“We can expect that large companies active in commodities, animal proteins and life sciences will be considering this industry and how they can play a role in the growth of what some call the Blue Revolution, the growth of marine farming of food and feed,” Gorjan Nikolik, a Rabobank International seafood-industry analyst, said by phone from Utrecht, the Netherlands.

Written by Randy McDonald

August 19, 2015 at 9:43 pm

Posted in Economics

Tagged with , , ,

[LINK] “For Tanzania’s coffee farmers, climate change is a buzzkill”

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Al Jazeera America’s Tom A. Peter looks at how climate change is undermining the coffee industry of Tanzania.

For the last 20 years, Fredrick Damien has watched as his coffee trees have produced fewer and fewer beans. Back in the 1990s, his half-acre farm at the base of Mount Kilimanjaro turned out as many as 330 pounds of coffee a season, but now he’s happy to harvest 200 pounds of beans. He’s tried planting other crops to make up for the shortfall, but in this region coffee is the only viable cash crop.

“I’m trying to put more effort into growing bananas, but I’m mostly just asking God for a miracle,” he says.

The culprit cutting into Damien’s bottom line is one that he only vaguely understands and that has no easy solution: climate change. Over the last 60 years, rising nighttime temperatures have taken a toll on coffee production in this remote corner of Africa, reducing yields by roughly half. Countries throughout East Africa and other coffee growing regions around the world are likewise expected to experience reduced yields if current trends continue. As the world feels the effects of global warming more acutely, coffee farmers, the vast majority of whom live on razor thin margins, are likely to be among the hardest hit.

“We are feeling very worried because we don’t have any other alternatives [to generate income] like mining. We just have coffee. If the weather keeps changing we will have nothing else to do,” says Mary Faustimi, general secretary of the Mamsera Agriculture Marketing Co-operative Society, in the Kilimanjaro region. “We’ve tried to mitigate the effects of climate change. We’ve stopped cutting down trees, and we’ve done what we can, but it’s frustrating because now it depends on other people.”

Written by Randy McDonald

August 17, 2015 at 10:00 pm

[BLOG] Some Monday links

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  • James Bow reflects on Mulcair’s decision to ignore the debates boycotted by Harper, and examines the decline of the Bloc Québécois.
  • The Broadside Blog’s Caitlin Kelly reflects on the social forces pressuring people, especially women, to smile.
  • Centauri Dreams reflects n the pessimism over the potential of interstellar expansion in Kim Stanley Robinson’s new Aurora.
  • The Dragon’s Gaze links to a study examining the links between concentrations of elements in stars and their exoplanets, shares art of HD 219134b, wonders about distributions of brown dwarfs in nearby interstellar space, wonders if a lithium-rich giant star known as HD 107028 swallowed its planets, and imagines compact exoplanets made of dark matter.
  • The Dragon’s Tales shares a study of the growth of the state of Tiahuanaco, and imagines what a durable Russian-American relationship could have been.
  • A Fistful of Euros looks at dodgy Greek statistics.
  • Joe. My. God. shares the new New Order single, “Restless.”
  • Language Hat celebrated its thirteen anniversary and looked at the ephemeral St. Petersburg English Review of the 19th century.
  • Language Log examines the origins of modern China’s standard language, and looks at the reasons why French texts are longer than English ones.
  • Lawyers, Guns and Money examines settler violence in Israel.
  • Marginal Revolution looks at how charity, in an age of global income disparities, is inexpensive, and notes the economic issues of Cambodia.
  • Personal Reflections’ Jim Belshaw reflects on Cilla Black.
  • The Russian Demographics Blog looks at Ossetian demographics and examines the growth of Kazakhs in Kazakhstan after 1991.
  • Speed River Journal’s Van Waffle likes the Cosmonaut Volkov heirloom tomatoes.
  • Towleroad reports on a push for marriage equality on the Navajo reservation.
  • Understanding Society examines the concept of microfoundations.
  • Window on Eurasia notes how Russia’s war in Ukraine has been underachieving, argues Ukrainians should not count on change in Russia, reports on a Russian writer who wants the Donbas to be separated from Ukraine as a buffer, looks at ethnic Russian identity and propensity to emigrate in Kazakhstan, and looks at the identity of Belarusians in Siberia.

[LINK] “Why The World Might Be Running Out Of Cocoa Farmers”

NPR’s Eliza Barclay makes a report that make sense of a lot of press coverage about West African cocoa. Of course there would be heavy recourse to child and slave labour if the cocoa plantations are unrenumative.

[T]he 2015 Cocoa Barometer [is] an overview of sustainability issues in the cocoa sector, written by various European and U.S. NGOs, and was released in the U.S. this week. And what they’re really worried about is the people who grow the beans that are ground up to make our beloved treat.

“The world is running out of cocoa farmers,” the report states. “Younger generations no longer want to be in cocoa. Older generations are reaching their life expectancy.”

It’s well known that most cocoa farmers live in extreme poverty. There are about 2 million small-scale farmers in Ghana and Ivory Coast, the West African countries that produce at least 70 percent of the world’s cocoa beans. The average cocoa farmer in Ghana earns 84 cents a day, while the average small farmer in Ivory Coast earns just 50 cents a day, according to the Barometer.

I met two women cocoa farmers at the World Cocoa Foundation’s meeting in Washington, D.C., this week. Assata Doumbia tells me (in French, through a translator) that she and her husband are both in ECAM, a cooperative of 900 farmers in Ivory Coast, and that their income is “extremely low, almost nothing.” What little they do earn goes straight to her husband.

“Men have all the control and decision-making power in the cocoa sector,” she says, though she and a few other women are trying to change that for the 120 women in the cooperative.blockquote>

Written by Randy McDonald

July 10, 2015 at 9:50 pm

[ISL] “Reward increased to $500,000 in potato tampering investigation in P.E.I.”

The Canadian Press reports on the latest in a criminal investigation on Prince Edward Island.

Prince Edward Island’s potato industry has increased the reward it is offering to $500,000 for information that leads to the arrest and conviction of whomever is responsible for inserting metal objects into potatoes.

The new reward is available until Aug. 15, and tips received from Aug. 16 to Oct. 31 will be eligible for the previous reward amount of $100,000.

The federal government recently announced it will spend $1.5 million to buy metal detection equipment to help find foreign objects in potatoes from the province.

The funding will be used to purchase and install detection equipment, while an extra $500,000 from the province is being used for on-site security assessments and training.

Written by Randy McDonald

June 30, 2015 at 10:39 pm


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