Focus 3/2015: Sustainable fisheries and aquaculture
In the debate about food security and poverty alleviation the fishery sector is mostly mentioned only in passing, if at all, even though at least one billion people depend on fish as the main source of animal food and at least one-tenth of the world population depend for their livelihood on fisheries and aquaculture. The World Bank and FAO estimate that demand for aquatic food will continue to rise. But around one-third of all fish populations are already overfished. Large-scale illegal, unreported and unregulated fisheries worsen the problem, and also contribute to loss of revenues, employment and fish supplies for local populations. Numerous other factors, such as environmental pollution, littering and increasing extraction of raw materials from the seabed, and also natural disasters and climate change have an impact on the state of the oceans. How can we succeed in using aquatic resources sustainably while at the same time ensuring that inequalities in access to them are eliminated so that small-scale fishers and aquaculture communities also benefit from the value chains? Our authors present the challenges, lessons learned and approaches to solutions from the point of view of development cooperation, civil society and science. Erfahren Sie mehr
Focus 2/2015: Rural mechanisation
It’s easy to find arguments in favour of raising the degree of farm mechanisation. People’s living conditions improve, for the drudgery that also makes farming so unattractive for young people is no longer necessary. Standardised, optimised processes along the entire value chain raise the quality of primary and processed goods; harvest and post-harvest losses are reduced. Furthermore, a services sector develops around production, marketing and the use and repair of technical equipment that creates jobs, boosting the economic power of rural areas. And last but not least, coupled with higher purchasing power, the quality and volume of food produced also improves the food situation of the population. However, even the finest technology will be of no use if it is not applied or not properly employed – perhaps because its operation or maintenance is too complicated, because it doesn’t fit into the societal context or sections of society – often women – are barred from using it, because farmers do not benefit from it or simply because they lack the (financial) resources. Our authors show why and how the individual regions throughout the world have developed differently in terms of mechanisation and which concepts are really forward-looking, i.e. sustainable with a view to climate change and scarce natural resources, and that are above all also suitable for smallholders. Erfahren Sie mehr
Focus 1/2015: Hopes pinned on SDGs
When the international community of states adopts the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in New York in September 2015, the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) will once and for all be a thing of the past. Although it cannot be denied that the MDGs have been successful – absolute poverty has been halved since 1990, and 90 per cent of children in developing countries are today completing primary education – the positive results should not distract attention away from the weaknesses. The MDGs have neglected one important factor in poverty reduction, that of empowering people, as they have the specific conditions in conflict-affected countries and the aspect of environmental sustainability. In addition, they have continued the traditional paternalist aid relations between the Global North and the Global South instead of abandoning them. Therefore – and also because power relations in the world have shifted immensely since the MDGs were adopted – countries agreed to replace the MDGs by a new set of goals. In this edition, our authors explain the essence of these Sustainable Development Goals, what is expected of them and, above all, what is needed for their ambitious agenda to be implemented. After all, the latest proposal has 17 goals and 169 targets … Erfahren Sie mehr
Focus 4/2014: Livestock
The livestock sector creates livelihoods for an estimated one billion people world-wide. Not only is the consumption of milk, meat and eggs an important source of protein and micronutrients and hence a crucial pillar of food security for the rural poor in particular. For many people, the sale of animal products is the most important, if not the only, source of income. In addition, the animals are a significant multifunctional asset. They provide dung, raising soil fertility, they are simultaneously beasts of burden and tractors, and they represent “hoofed insurance”, not to mention the social prestige that they endow their owners with in several societies. In spite of its important role, animal production has been an unfavourable topic in the development debate – mainly because of its environmental impact. After all, animals account for two thirds of all climate gas emissions from agriculture; water pollution and loss of biodiversity are attributed to animal husbandry as are the transmission of animal-borne diseases to humans and unhealthy food, not to mention competition with other areas of food production. With this edition of Rural 21, we want to take a look at the current state of debate. Erfahren Sie mehr
Focus 3/2014: Bioeconomy
Bicycle frames made of bamboo, kerosene made from algae, trainer soles out of rice husks – there seem to be an infinite number of ideas when it comes to replacing fossil, finite raw materials with renewable, seemingly infinite resources. The proponents of the economic approach summarised as the bioeconomy are not only focusing on using renewable raw materials. Rather, they regard their concept of “biologising the economy” as an opportunity to redesign the global system of production and consumption in a manner guaranteeing a secure sustainable base in every respect. This would be a gain for all – human beings and the environment, business and consumers, North and South. It indeed seems an ambitious project. This edition takes a look at whether the promises made in the context of the bioeconomy really can be kept and, above all, what conditions then have to be fulfilled. Erfahren Sie mehr
Focus 1/2014: Spreading know-how
Over the last few decades, the range of agricultural extension and advisory services as well as the notions of which tools and methods are most suitable have seen fundamental changes. The concept of rural advising has long shifted from a linear transfer of technology to a pluralistic system of networks and innovations that brings the various stakeholders together and creates scope for mutual learning and exchange. More and more often, attempts are being made to move from the usual top-down transfer towards a demand-driven approach that actively involves farmers in the whole process – from prioritising and generating extension content to monitoring and evaluating the services. Regardless of the method or tool applied, it is ultimately always up to the farmers to make what they think is the right decision – and to hold responsibility for this decision. Erfahren Sie mehr
Focus 4/2013: Agricultural policies – finding the right approach
The development of rural areas calls for a holistic policy approach. Social and environmental policy, economic and trade policy and food and agricultural policy need to be cleverly combined in order to boost the rural economy without overexploiting natural resources, and if this is to succeed in the long term, to combat hunger and poverty. In this edition, with a view to agriculture as a driving force of rural development, we have chosen to focus on a sub-aspect of this policy mix: agricultural policy. Erfahren Sie mehr
Focus 3/2013: Soil – a resource under threa
Over the last few years, the increased rush on farmland has demonstrated just how precious and scarce soil is. However, seldom are public awareness and the need for action so far apart as is the case with “soil”. The authors of this edition of Rural 21 first of all demonstrate the wide range of ecosystem services that the essential and finite resource of soil performs and show the dramatic effects that poor governance of transformation of soils has – in all areas of human life. The second part then takes up sustainable land management practice. Finally in the third part we look at the political level. There con tinues to be a lack of an international and legally binding policy framework for the regulation of soil protection. Why are the inter- national community as well as individual countries so reluctant to reach such an agreement, as called for at the Rio+20 Conference last year? Erfahren Sie mehr
Focus 1/2013: Food losses
Roughly one third of the food produced globally for human consumption is lost or wasted – 1.3 billion tons per year. Even if these estimates are subject to numerous uncertainties, one thing is beyond doubt: every kilogramme of food that is produced but not consumed is one too many. For it embodies valuable, wasted resources such as land, water, agricultural inputs and energy, unnecessary CO2 emissions have been released into the atmosphere, farmers have lost not only income but also a valuable part of their nutrition, and consumers pay the increased prices that result. Erfahren Sie mehr
Focus 4/2012: Responsible investments in the food chain
Since the 2007/2008 world food price crisis at the latest, the international community has tirelessly reiterated the key role played by the agricultural sector and rural areas in efforts to combat hunger and poverty. The many years of neglect of the sector in international cooperation – and in many of the policies adopted by the affected countries themselves – is now to be remedied as quickly as possible. Large sums have been pledged and, in the best case, have been deployed. But will those for whom they are intended, namely the smallholders and rural poor, profit from all this investment? What shape must investments take in order that they really reach the target group? And which – desired and undesired – side effects are to be expected? Our authors have explored all these questions and more. Erfahren Sie mehr
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