Op-ed/Commentaries

G-20 agriculture ministers meet in Paris with little result

Published July 15, 2011

Sophia Murphy

On June 23, 2011, the G-20 marked a new phase in its evolution as a political entity with its first summit of agricultural ministers. Held in Paris, with a significant investment of French political energy in the process and the outcome, the meeting was nonetheless profoundly disappointing. The one positive outcome...

Landowners without land

Published July 12, 2011

Hundreds of thousands of American Indians own land on reservations, but few have access to it. The Cobell settlement will put almost $2 billion toward Indian land consolidation, but is it too little too late? Buffalo evolved on the plains. Their hooves don’t compact land the way cattle do, and the better soil...

The hype versus the reality of carbon markets and land-based offsets: Lessons for the new Africa carbon exchange

Published April 27, 2011

Shefali Sharma

Minneapolis, April 21, 2011 — The Africa Carbon Exchange (ACX) was launched in Nairobi on March 24; yet only two days before, Bloomberg headlines announced “Global Carbon Credits Die as Smart Money Backs Indian RECs (Renewable Energy Certificates).”1 While the ACX is positioning itself to be the hub...

Agriculture in the climate talks

Published April 20, 2011

Shefali Sharma

tianjin, october 18, 2010 — The climate negotiations in China where countries finished negotiating for six days (October 4–9) wrapped up just over a week ago. This was the countries’ last chance to reach common ground for major decisions on global warming before the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC...

The U.S.-Colombia trade agreement: A volatile agenda on agriculture

Published April 13, 2011

Karen Hansen-Kuhn

Washington, D.C., April 14, 2011 — The new Obama trade policy, as embodied in its free-trade agreement with Colombia, sadly resembles the old Bush trade policy: promoting growth in exports and investment at the expense of local economies and resilient food systems. This is unfortunate, not only because it fails...

Food security and national security: Learning from China’s approach to managing its wheat supplies

Published February 28, 2011

Jim Harkness

Minneapolis, March 8, 2011* — The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) recently declared a “food emergency” was in effect in China due to a once-in-a-century drought affecting one-third of its wheat fields. Less than a half inch of rain has fallen since last September in Shandong Province, one of...

粮食安全和国家安全的关系–中国的粮食供应管理

Published February 28, 2011

Jim Harkness

Minneapolis, May 5, 2011 — 今年二月,联合国粮农组织(FAO)宣布中国陷入“粮食危机,”原因是百年不遇的干旱损伤了中国三分之一的麦田。这条消息引起了国际媒体的关注。中国是世界上最大的小麦生产国,每年产量约有1亿1千5百万吨,相当于国际小麦贸易额的总量。中国目前的粮食进口量不高,但是,假如中国转向全球市场出高价购买粮食来缓解因干旱而引起的“粮食危机”,粮价有可能急剧上升。 可是事实上, 即使在收成不好的情况下,中国在全球粮食市场也并不活跃,这要归功于中国大量储备粮食以应危机的政策。中国视粮食安全为确保国家安全的战略基础,粮食储备量属于国家机密。...

Reflections on the right to water: How to make it a reality for the rural poor

Published February 23, 2011

Shiney Varghese

MINNEAPOLIS, FEBRUARY 23, 2011 — This week the UN Independent Expert on human rights obligations related to access to safe drinking water and sanitation, Ms. Catarina de Albuquerque, will visit the United States, giving us an opportunity to pause and reflect: what does right to water include? In early February,...

Food safety going global

Published February 22, 2011

Minneapolis, February 22, 2011 — Many argue that globalized trade creates a “race to the bottom,” where the country with the weakest regulations or lowest wages ultimately sets the standards in the global marketplace. Something different may now be happening around food safety: Global forces are...