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UNCTAD: Wake up before it is too late!

A United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) report  published on September 18th calls for radical changes in agriculture and food production. Farming in rich and poor nations alike should shift from monoculture towards greater varieties of crops, reduced use of fertilizers and other inputs, greater support for small-scale farmers, and more locally focused production and consumption of food, the report recommends. The UN Trade and Environment Report 2013 warns that continuing rural poverty, persistent hunger around the world, growing populations, and mounting environmental concerns must be treated as a collective crisis. It says that urgent and far-reaching action is needed before climate change begins to cause major disruptions to agriculture, especially in developing countries. More than 60 international experts contributed to the report’s analysis of the topic. The report cites a number of trends that collectively suggest a mounting crisis: • Food prices from 2011 to mid-2013 were almost 80 per cent higher than for the period 2003–2008; • Global fertilizer use has increased by eight times over the past 40 years, although global cereal […]