Save Climate and Double Food Production With Eco-Farming

The following is similar in approach to Farm for the Future, <
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xShCEKL-mQ8
but in print format.
<http://gmwatch.eu/latest-listing/1-news-items/12951-save-climate-and-dou ble-food-production-without-gm>
Save Climate and Double Food Production With Eco-Farming IPS, March 8 2011 http://ipsnews.net/news.asp?idnewsT775
UXBRIDGE - Eco-farming could double food production in entire regions within 10 years while mitigating climate change, according to a new U.N. report released Tuesday in Geneva.
An urgent transformation to 'eco-farming' is the only way to end hunger and face the challenges of climate change and rural poverty, said Olivier De Schutter, U.N. Special Rapporteur on the right to food, following the presentation of his annual report focusing on agro- ecology and the right to food to the U.N. Human Rights Council.
"Agro-ecology mimics nature not industrial processes. It replaces the external inputs like fertiliser with knowledge of how a combination of plants, trees and animals can enhance productivity of the land," De Schutter told IPS, stressing that, "Yields went up 214 percent in 44 projects in 20 countries in sub-Saharan Africa using agro-ecological farming techniques over a period of 3 to 10 years far more than any GM [genetically modified] crop has ever done."
Other recent scientific assessments have shown that small farmers in 57 countries using agro-ecological techniques obtained average yield increases of 80 percent. Africans average increases were 116 percent. "Todays scientific evidence demonstrates that agro- ecological methods outperform the use of chemical fertilisers in boosting food production in regions where the hungry live," De Schutter said.
Agro-ecology applies ecological science to the design of agricultural systems. It enhances soil productivity and protects crops against pests by relying on the natural elements.
Eco-farming doesnt require expensive inputs of fossil-fuel- based pesticides, fertilisers, machinery or hybrid seeds. It is ideally suited for poor smallholder farmers and herders who are the bulk of the one billion hungry people in the world. Efforts by governments and major donors such as the 400-million- dollar Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) to subsidise fertilizer and hybrid seeds will produce quick boosts in yields but are not sustainable in the long term, De Schutter said.
Malawi is touted as an AGRA success story by funders such as the Gates Foundation and the Rockefeller Foundation who have massively subsidised fertilizer and created a corresponding improvement in food production. However the country simply cannot afford to continue those subsidies and is shifting its strategy to agro-ecology. "The [Malawi] government now subsidises farmers to plant nitrogen-fixing trees in their fields to ensure sustained growth in maize production," he said.
De Shutter says AGRA is looking for quick results and is getting them. He has found it difficult to overcome AGRA proponents suspicions about the effectiveness of agro-ecology, despite the mounting evidence. "I expect countries to express scepticism towards these solutions because they are not in accord with the dominant paradigm," De Schutter said.
The dominant view of agriculture is the industrial approach - of maximising efficiency and yield. However that system is utterly dependent on cheap fossil fuels and never having to be held accountable for environmental degradation and other impacts. (END)
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That statement is ridiculous.
No amount of additional production will "end" hunger. Not with an ever increasing demand for food.
All of these political types are afraid to admit the truth. There are limits.
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snipped-for-privacy@verizon.net wrote:

The shade of Malthus wails over Africa, nobody listens.
David
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Read Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed and note the down under issues.
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Bill S. Jersey USA zone 5 shade garden

http://uppitywis.org/ live WI
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Bill who putters wrote:

I have. I do. Oz is not in the high birthrate and starving group (far from it). I don't see the connection with Malthus and Africa. What do you think it is?
David
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The carnage left by colonization.
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Billy wrote:

What is your point? What carnage was left in Australia?
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We may be talking past each other at this point. The carnage to the land and the indigenous inhabitants. I don't know their quality of life is, but I suspect that it would be better, for them and the land, if auslanders hadn't come there, or here. The destruction of cultures in Africa by Europeans in quest of treasure (King Leopold's Mine).
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Billy wrote:

Agreed the land has been mistreated, we are learning better now. I am mildly optimistic that agricultural land management will improve considerably in the next generation as many farmers are trying quite hard to do better in the long term. I am not so sanguine about the common practice of ruining good land (which is in short supply) to build McMansions on it or to extract minerals from it. You can say that this was a consequence of colonialism but I think ignorance is simpler and more apt.
The aboriginals' quality of life is not good, what it would have been like if they had been left alone in a time warp we can only speculate on. This is a huge and continuing problem which leaders of all political colours have made little impact upon. Time does not permit me to go into detail but in brief we have major conflicting requirements and not all can be met at once.
One of those conflicts is, it is now impossible for the aboriginals to live as semi-nomadic hunter gatherers but there is no practical way for most to join the modern way of life without giving up their relationship to the land which is extremely important to them and their culture. There are very few jobs in the outback and without jobs there is only slow death by welfare. There have been a few success stories where aboriginals run their own enterprises while maintaining their relationship to the land. These are mainly in the arts, tourism or pastoralism but that isn't possible in all locations.
David
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Here it is much more clear cut. The Europeans had the weapons, but the native had the culture. Sadly, the weapons won.
(Amazon.com product link shortened) 28370
A People's History of the United States: 1492-Present by Howard Zinn
p20-21
20 A PEOPLE'S HISTORY OF THE UNITED STATES In the villages of the Iroquois, land was owned in common and worked in common. Hunting was done together, and the catch was divided among the members of the village. Houses were considered common property and were shared by several families. The concept of private ownership of land and homes was foreign to the Iroquois. A French Jesuit priest who encountered them in the 1650s wrote: "No poorhouses are needed among them, because they are neither mendicants nor paupers. . . . Their kindness, humanity and courtesy not only makes them liberal with what they have, but causes them to possess hardly anything except in common."
Women were important and respected in Iroquois society. Families were matrilineal. That is, the family line went down through the female members, whose husbands joined the family, while sons who married then joined their wives' families. Each extended family lived in a "long house." When a woman wanted a divorce, she set her husband's things outside the door.
Families were grouped in clans, and a dozen or more clans might make up a village. The senior women in the village named the men who represented the clans at village and tribal councils. They also named the forty-nine chiefs who were the ruling council for the Five Nation confederacy of the Iroquois. The women attended clan meetings, stood behind the circle of men who spoke and voted, and removed the men from office if they strayed too far from the wishes of the women.
The women tended the crops and took general charge of village affairs while the men were always hunting or fishing. And since they supplied the moccasins and food for warring expeditions, they had some control over military matters. As Gary B. Nash notes in his fascinating study of early America, Red, White, and Black: "Thus power was shared between the sexes and the European idea of male dominancy and female subordination in all things was conspicuously absent in Iroquois society."
Children in Iroquois society, while taught the cultural heritage of their people and solidarity with the tribe, were also taught to be independent, not to submit to overbearing authority. They were taught equality in status and the sharing of possessions. The Iroquois did not use harsh punishment on children; they did not insist on early weaning or early toilet training, but gradually allowed the child to learn self-care.
All of this was in sharp contrast to European values as brought over by the first colonists, a society of rich and poor, controlled by priests, by governors, by male heads of families. For example, the pastor of the Pilgrim colony, John Robinson, thus advised his parishioners how to deal with their children: "And surely there is in all children ... a stubbornness, and stoutness ot mind arising from natural pride, which must, in the first place, be broken and beaten down; that so the foundation of their education being laid in humility and tractableness, other virtues may, in their time, be built thereon." Gary Nash describes Iroquois culture: No laws and ordinances, sheriffs and constables, judges and juries, or courts or jailsthe apparatus ofaudiority in European societieswere to be found in the northeast woodlands prior to European arrival. Yet boundaries of acceptable behavior were firmly set. Though priding themselves on the autonomous individual, the Iroquois maintained a strict sense of right and wrong. . . . He who stole another's food or acted invalourously in war was "shamed" by his people and ostracized from their company until he had atoned for his actions and demonstrated to their satisfaction that he had morally purified himsell. Not only the Iroquois but other Indian tribes behaved the same way. In 1635, Maryland Indians responded to the governor's demand that if any of them killed an Englishman, the guilty one should be delivered up for punishment according to English law. The Indians said: It is the manner amongst us Indians, that if any such accident happen, wee doe redeeme the life of a man that is so slaine, widi a 100 armes length of Beades and since that you are heere strangers, and come into our Countrey, you should rather conform yourselves to die Customes of our Countrey, than impose yours upon us. ... So, Columbus and his successors were not coming into an empty wilderness, but into a world which in some places was as densely populated as Europe itself, where the culture was complex, where human relations were more egalitarian than in Europe, and where the relations among men, women, children, and nature were more beautifully worked out than perhaps any place in the world.
They were people without a written language, but with their own laws, their poetry, their history kept in memory and passed on, in an oral vocabulary more complex than Europe's, accompanied by song, dance, and ceremonial drama. They paid careful attention to the development of personality, intensity of will, independence and flexibility, passion and potency, to their partnership with one another and with nature.
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The Vegetarian Myth: Food, Justice, and Sustainability by Lierre Keith <(Amazon.com product link shortened) 4860804/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid97274630&sr=1-1> (Available at better libraries near you)
Currently, the deer are overrunning the northeast's forests, eating the saplings out of existence. In fifty years there may not be a forest, and that will mean an end to the deer as well. That's because, through human interference, there aren't enough predators, and to survive, the deer need their predators. Pollan explains, "[H]owever it may appear to those of us living at such a remove from the natural world, preda- tion is not a matter of morality or of politics; it, too, is a matter of symbiosis... Predation is deeply woven into the fabric of nature, and
28 The Vegetarian Myth
that fabric would quickly unravel if it somehow ended, if humans managed to 'do something about it.'"23 In the case of the northeastern United States, humans have managed to do something about it, and without wolves and mountain lions, without predation, the results are getting grimmer by the year. The deer population has exploded past any possibility of sustainability. Writes Ted Williams:
In a 10-year experiment, the US Forest Service found that at more than 20 deer per square mile you lose your eastern wood pewees, indigo buntings, least flycatchers, yellow-billed cuckoos, and cerulean warblers .... At 38 deer per square mile you lose eastern phoebes and even robins. Ground nesters like ovenbirds, grouse, woodcock, whippoorwills, and wild turkeys can nest in ferns, which deer scorn, but these birds, too, are vastly reduced, because they need thick cover.24
He describes Crane Estate, a barrier-beach north of Bos- ton, completely stripped of native plants, its bare dunes lost to the wind, and the rest of [he wildlife along with them. The deer themselves were starving, having long overshot the land's carry- ing capacity, and were in the process of permanently degrading it. Without predators, the land dies. In this case, those predators, mainly cougars and wolves, were killed off by the early European settlers. "This behavior flabbergasted the Indians." writes Williams. "After much arguing and theorizing, they decided it was a symp- tom of insanity."
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In Africa it was no different, the Europeans came, and imposed their
will. Organizing the locals into groups and activities that suited the
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You presume a fixed birth rate and a declining death rate, neither of which is assured.
<http://www.globalchange.umich.edu/globalchange2/current/lectures/human_p op/human_pop.html> According to a report from the United Nations Population Fund, based on 1998 analyses (see The State of World Population 1999), projections for the future global population are being revised downward. The projection for 2050 now is 8.9 billion (medium variant), substantially lower than the 1996 projection of 9.4 billion.
The major reason for the lower projection is good news: global fertility rates have declined more rapidly than expected, as health care, including reproductive health, has improved faster than anticipated, and men and women have chosen to have smaller families. About one-third of the reduction in long-range population projections, however, is due to increasing mortality rates in sub-Saharan Africa and parts of the Indian subcontinent. The most important factor is HIV/AIDS, which is spreading much faster than previously anticipated.
Joel Cohen's recent book on human carrying capacity summarizes the continuing lack of scientific consensus on the subject. Estimates of the number still vary widely according to the specific assumptions used. In fact, the estimates are more scattered than before - indicating a quantitative field still very much in its infancy. One strand of thought, represented by the author Julian Simon discards the notion of a human carrying capacity altogether, claiming that the additional people will provide sufficient creativity and innovation to break through any possible natural barriers to human population growth. Most of the serious estimates of K (the carrying capacity, often symbolized as " K") for humans, however, lie in the range 10 -20 billion people.
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Mixed crops annuals can produce twice as much food as monocultures.

Perennial chestnut trees could replace wheat fields.
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No, I'm taking the statement at it's face value.
Calls to produce more and more and saying it's "the only way" are more than misleading. It's calling for disaster.
I know there are some trends to reduce population growth but overall we're still growing at 1.1% world wide.
Very few countries have an official policy to limit growth.

Precisely the kind of magic thinking I'm talking about.
"We can break through any natural barrier". Great. I understand if we get hungry enough we can eat each other too.

Great, double production and we can double the number of people. That makes sense. There's not enough traffic in town yet. There are still some plots of land that haven't been developed. What a waste.
Why have a bunch of people living in single family homes. Do you know how many people can live in a square mile if we build vertically.

I brought my opinion. Deal with it.
I'm fine with increasing food production efficiency but someone from the UN saying the only way we can deal with resource issues is to produce more is just wrong.
We've built up quite a nice life style but the planet has finite resources. A number of them are in short supply. Squeezing the rock harder isn't going to work.
Some serious self control is called for.
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Opinion, logic if you will, is only as good as its premise. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but not their own facts.

We are already past the carrying capacity of the planet. I don't see help coming. If we grow more food, we might buy enough time for people to come to their senses. If not, it could get ugly.
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In article

The truth is that our present form of agriculture poisons the planet, and is responsible for loss of topsoil. If we can get more food and a healthier planet, I say go for it. Malthus may get us in the end, but lacking a population control program such as they have in China, we can hope that rising levels of "quality of life" will lead to lower birth rates, such as exist in Europe, and apparently Australia.

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In article
Another take on Eco-Farming
<http://uk.reuters.com/article/2011/03/08/us-food-idUKTRE7272FN20110308
Eco-farming can double food output by poor: U.N.
By Alister Doyle, Environment Correspondent OSLO | Tue Mar 8, 2011 1:09pm GMT
(Reuters) - Many farmers in developing nations can double food production within a decade by shifting to ecological agriculture from use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides, a U.N. report showed on Tuesday.
Insect-trapping plants in Kenya and Bangladesh's use of ducks to eat weeds in rice paddies are among examples of steps taken to increase food for a world population that the United Nations says will be 7 billion this year and 9 billion by 2050.
"Agriculture is at a crossroads," according to the study by Olivier de Schutter, the U.N. Special Rapporteur on the right to food, in a drive to depress record food prices and avoid the costly oil-dependent model of industrial farming.
"Agroecology" could also make farms more resilient to the projected impact of climate change including floods, droughts and a rise in sea levels that the report said was already making fresh water near some coasts too salty for use in irrigation.
So far, eco-farming projects in 57 nations had shown average crop yield gains of 80 percent by tapping natural methods for enhancing soil and protecting against pests, it said.
Recent projects in 20 African countries had resulted in a doubling of crop yields within three to 10 years. Those lessons could be widely mimicked elsewhere, it said.
"Sound ecological farming can significantly boost production and in the long term be more effective than conventional farming," De Schutter told Reuters of steps such as more use of natural compost or high-canopy trees to shade coffee groves.
AFRICA
Benefits would be greatest in "regions where too few efforts have been put in to agriculture, particularly sub-Saharan Africa," he said. "There are also a number of very promising experiences in parts of Latin America and parts of Asia."
"The cost of food production has been very closely following the cost of oil," he said. Upheavals in Egypt and Tunisia have been partly linked to discontent at soaring food prices. Oil prices were around $115 a barrel on Wednesday.
"If food prices are not kept under control and populations are unable to feed themselves...we will have increasingly states being disrupted and failed states developing," De Schutter said.
Among examples, thousands of Kenyan farmers were planting insect-repelling desmodium or tick clover, used as animal fodder, within corn fields to keep damaging insects away and sowed small plots of napier grass nearby that excretes a sticky gum to trap pests.
Better research, training and use of local knowledge were also needed. "Farmer field schools" by rice growers in Indonesia, Vietnam and Bangladesh had led to cuts in insecticide use of between 35 and 92 percent, the study said.
De Schutter also called for a push to diversify global farm output from reliance on rice, wheat and maize in diets.
Developed nations, however, would be unable to make a quick shift to agroecology because of what he called an "addiction" to an industrial, oil-based model of farming. Still, a global long-term effort to shift to agroecology was needed.
Cuba had shown that such a change was possible after the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 cut off supplies of cheap pesticides and fertilizers. Yields had risen after a downturn in the 1990s as farmers adopted more eco-friendly methods.

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