[学术文献] Crop diversity, household welfare and consumption smoothing under risk: Evidence from rural Uganda 进入全文
In the wake of climate change, there is now a resurgence of interest in the promotion of crop diversification as a climate smart agricultural practice in Sub-Saharan Africa. The development economics literature suggests that increasing crop diversity is an effective risk management and consumption smoothing strategy in a context characterized by repeated exposure to shocks but weak institutional innovations. Using panel survey data from rural Uganda merged with historical weather data, this paper sheds light on the household welfare and consumption smoothing effects of crop diversity. We employ instrumental variables methods to control for unobserved heterogeneity and potential reverse causality. Our study finds that crop diversification is a welfare enhancing strategy that increases consumption and aggregate household diets. Instrumental variables quantile regression results show that crop diversification generates higher consumption benefits for poorest households in the lower quantile of the consumption distribution than for relatively richer households. Crop diversification also improves consumption smoothing through reducing households’ reliance on less effective strategies such as informal insurance and involuntary diet changes as risk coping mechanisms. Overall, the findings suggest that transforming agriculture towards a more diversified cropping system is a viable pathway for improving diets, welfare, risk management and the resilience of rural households.
Public rejection of genetically engineered (GE) plants in Germany is widespread; there is no commercial GE crop production and practically no foods labeled as Genetically Modified Organisms (“GMO”) on the market. Despite this, Germany is home to world-class companies that develop and supply GE seeds globally. The decision of the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) on the regulation of genome editing puts the future of the domestic plant breeding sector in jeopardy. Germany’s livestock industry is a major consumer of imported GE soybeans for use as animal feed.
[学术文献] To diversify or not to diversify, that is the question. Pursuing agricultural development for smallholder farmers in marginal areas of Ghana 进入全文
Many smallholder farmers in developing countries grow multiple crop species on their farms, maintaining de facto crop diversity. Rarely do agricultural development strategies consider this crop diversity as an entry point for fostering agricultural innovation. This paper presents a case study, from an agricultural research-for-development project in northern Ghana, which examines the relationship between crop diversity and self-consumption of food crops, and cash income from crops sold by smallholder farmers in the target areas. By testing the presence and direction of these relationships, it is possible to assess whether smallholder farmers may benefit more from a diversification or a specialization agricultural development strategy for improving their livelihoods. Based on a household survey of 637 randomly selected households, we calculated crop diversity as well as its contribution to self-consumption (measured as imputed monetary value) and to cash income for each household. With these data we estimated a system of three simultaneous equations. Results show that households maintained high levels of crop diversity: up to eight crops grown, with an-average of 3.2 per household, and with less than 5% having a null or very low level of crop diversity. The value of crop species used for self-consumption was on average 55% higher than that of crop sales. Regression results show that crop diversity is positively associated with self-consumption of food crops, and cash income from crops sold. This finding suggests that increasing crop diversity opens market opportunities for households, while still contributing to self-consumption. Given these findings, crop diversification seems to be more beneficial to these farmers than specialization. For these diversified farmers, or others in similar contexts, interventions that assess and build on their de facto crop diversity are probably more likely to be successful.
There is still some strength in spring wheat prices, according to Erica Olson, marketing specialist for the North Dakota Wheat Commission.“Today (Oct. 15), the Minneapolis December futures were around $5.50, so that has pushed up cash prices a bit from two weeks ago,” said Olson, adding that most of those prices range from $4.50-$4.90, which is up about 20 cents. “Obviously we’d like to see them higher,” she said. “One thing so far is we haven’t been seeing improvement in basis and we’re expecting that we might eventually see that for some of the higher quality wheat out there,” she continued. “When you compare our local cash prices to prices at the port, they’re $2-$3 higher (at the port), so we’re not seeing all that strength come back to the cash market.”
[前沿资讯] Iowa’s farmers – and American eaters – need a national discussion on transforming US agriculture 进入全文
Iowa’s first-in-the-nation caucuses bring the state a lot of political attention during presidential election cycles. But in my view, even though some candidates have outlined positions on food and farming, agriculture rarely gets the attention it deserves. As a scientist at Iowa’s land-grant university, I believe our state is at the forefront of redefining what agriculture could be in the U.S., and addressing environmental and economic challenges associated with the extensive monocultures that dominate our current system. I think these conversations should be at the forefront nationally. After all, everyone needs to eat, so all Americans have a stake in the future of farming.