Posts Tagged ‘Global’

Farming Outlook – a magazine from Pakistan

October 11, 2008

There is a magazine from Pakistan called Farming Outlook. Editor is my former counterpart M Tahir Saleem. There are reports from a Pakistani horizon but also articles on agricultural development in general. The magazine is important for all interested in the development of world agriculture. Mail  tahir.pak@comsats.net.pk

 

The issue of June 2008 has the theme Food Security – why, what and how. I cannot here give even a summary, only some reflections.

 

The cereal production of Pakistan is about 30 million tons, of which 21 is wheat, 5 rice and 3 maize. This is enough to feed the 150 million people in the country (there was about 75 when I was there around 1980). But the increase in production should continue and presently that is not the case, which causes concern. Main problem is difficulties in the availability of fertilizers and their high price. But there is potential for increase. Further – the post harvest losses are estimated to 25% and there is something to work on.

 

One chapter is about best management practices for plant nutrition. Main topic: field specific measures. This was an important theme also 1980.

 

One chapter deals with Indian Punjab (also Pakistan has a part of Punjab). Mainly irrigated agriculture. Average cereal yields in Punjab is about  4 tons per hectare. Fertilizer use 146 N, 18 P and 4 K. The nitrogen balance shows surplus.  The potassium balance can be a problem.

 

In a small report about cotton (Pakistan has 3 million hectares of cotton) is noted that cotton removes about 118 kg N, 15 kg P and 150 kg K per hectare.

Not mentioned is that there is a discussion about the environmental effects of cotton production in Pakistan, both concerning nutrients and biocides. Certainly improved practices here are needed. There are also projects with organic cotton. But more of that later.

 

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U K Science Advisor stresses Food Security, Agriculture and Environment

October 4, 2008

In Science Magazine 26 September is an interview with the new Science Advisor to UK Government,  John Beddington.  What topics did he stress?  Food, agriculture, resources and environment.

 

A couple of the questions and answers, further abridged.

 

What message would you give the new president of USA?

Answer: I would like to stress the intimate connection between the issues of climate change, food security, energy security and water security. These issues are tremendously important because they would come quite quickly, on a time scale of only a few decades.

 

You have said that the world needs to dramatically increase food production, using less water than is used today. Will the world need to embrace GM technology?

Answer: Population growth and the increase in wealth implies something like 50% increase in food demand by 2030. And at the same time the urban population will increase from 47% to 60%. That means there is going to be real problems for agriculture. There is going to be competion for water between urban communities and agriculture.

GM is not the only answer. But continued crop improvement is absolutely necessary.

 

Our planet begins to be tight.

September 28, 2008

 

We humans have too large influence, the pressure on land and natural systems is increasing. Yet we have to increase the production.

There are different ways to react on these facts.

 

My main point is: we must both live (consume) and produce smarter. It is not necessary to sacrifice much, if anything, at least in the first step.

 

Agriculture is the main topic of this blog. Swedish agriculture is functioning fairly well, but there is scope for further improvements.