Tag Archives: Food and Agriculture.

Changing Temperatures and Water Shortages: Why Bolivians need more than prayers on the Aymara New Year

Aymara new yearToday, the time of the Winter Solstice in the Southern hemisphere, marks the beginning of the new agricultural year for the Aymara indigenous people of the Andean region. In June 2010, Bolivia’s President Evo Morales, an Aymara himself, decreed June 21 as an important national holiday: the Aymara New Year.

Although the celebrations center in the ancient ruins of Tiwanaku, with more than 50,000 participants in 2010, all over Bolivia, indigenous Aymarans gather on this typically coldest, longest night of the year to see in the sunrise. They brave the freezing temperatures in order to welcome the sun out of its winter season, characterized by short days and early darkness, and into longer days and more sunshine. Rituals back-dropped with traditional music abound and sacrifices of  llama, incense, alcohol, and coca are offered to Pachamama (mother nature/Mother Earth) until sunrise. All of this is in the hopes of enticing Tata Inti, the sun god, to heal the earth and give the farmers a good harvest. Read More »

China’s Importance in International Commerce

HAZ CLIC AQUÍ para leer en español.

China’s strong growth has been extensively reported and debated due to its significant impacts on the prices and volumes of commercial flows during the last few decades. The economic behavior of China is fundamental given that it has one of the highest Gross Domestic Products (GDP) in the world (second only to the United States) and that it has a population that makes up approximately 15 percent of the world’s total.

The 2012 ECLAC document ‘Panorama of the International Insertion of Latin America and the Caribbean’ contains information that allows an analysis of China’s influence on international commerce to be performed. The data are presented in the following table. Read More »

Graphics: Genetically Modified Foods – Is Labeling Important?

In December, Development Roast asked are genetically modified (GM) foods a friend or a foe? Proponents claim that GM crops can help alleviate poverty and hunger by producing better seed technologies that resist drought and pests. Dr Channapatna Prakash of Tuskegee University embodied this view in his millennial article for AgBioForum, the Journal of Agrobiotechnology Management and Economics, entitled “Feeding a World of Six Billion.” Others argue that this is irrelevant since hunger is not related to a lack of food but inequality in its distribution, and that there are just too many possible side effects of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) that are unaccounted and untested for by private companies who develop them. In 2000, outspoken critics Miguel Altieri of University of California, Berkeley and Peter Rosset of La Via Campesina gave their “10 reasons for why biotechnology will not ensure food security, protect the environment and reduce poverty in the developing world.” The following infographic from Visual.ly summarises some of the definitions and issues involved:

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So you want to do your bit for the planet? Here is some food for thought…

Climate change, water shortages, rising global pollution levels and food insecurity have made environmental sustainability the most pressing concern of our time. Improvements in production systems and agriculture, and advances in clean technology, will certainly help, but as the global population becomes more conscious of the issues facing us as a human race, we begin to ask ourselves what it is that we can do to help preserve our planet for centuries to come. More than in anything else, the answer to that lies in the diet choices we make.

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