Agriculture

Ecosystem services and pollution
April 16, 2013
An estimated USD7.3 trillion a year in damage is being inflicted on the environment, health and other vital benefits for humankind by primary production and processing in such sectors as agriculture, forestry, fisheries, mining, oil and gas exploration and utilities according to a new report. Natural Capital at Risk – The Top 100 Externalities of Business was launched at the Business for the Environment summit in New Delhi yesterday by the TEEB for Business Coalition (TEEB4B), a global, multi-stakeholder open source platform for supporting the development of methods for natural and social capital valuation in business.
Where Chinese vessels fish
April 15, 2013
Chinese fishing boats catch about USD11.5 billion worth of fish from beyond their country's own waters each year – and most of it goes unreported – according to a new study led by fisheries scientists at the University of British Columbia (UBC). The paper, recently published in the journal Fish and Fisheries, estimates that China's foreign catch is 12 times larger than the catch it reports to the United Nation's Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), an international agency that keeps track of global fisheries catches.
Shanghai river pigs
March 12, 2013
More than 3,300 decomposing pigs have been pulled from the upper reaches of Shanghai’s Huangpu River – a source of drinking water for some of the mega-city’s 23 million inhabitants – but the authorities insist the city’s tap water is still safe to drink. In a stark illustration of China's problems with environmental pollution, authorities had little immediate explanation on how so many dead pigs ended up in the river or what killed them.
Hydroponic lettuce farming in Fukushima
March 11, 2013
Yesterday thousands of protesters were out in the streets of Tokyo calling for the Japanese Government to forgo nuclear power, a day before the second anniversary of an earthquake and tsunami that triggered the world's worst atomic disaster in 25 years. The nuclear meltdown at Tokyo Electric Power's (Tepco) Fukushima Daiichi plant forced 160,000 people from their homes, to which many will never return. It also sparked an unprecedented protest movement against nuclear power.
The Asian Development Bank (ADB) is providing USD111.88 million in loans to Vietnamese low-carbon agriculture projects, according to the state-run Vietnam News Service.
A new irrigation technology that uses half the water of conventional drip irrigation systems has been developed in China. The system, called trace quantity irrigation, is based on the soil capillary force principle, with plants absorbing water as they need it.
China soil quality
February 26, 2013
China’s top environmental watchdog has rejected a request to publish findings of a high-profile national survey on soil pollution, citing "state secrecy". It is a decision which both legal and environmental experts are calling irresponsible. With public health at risk – as contaminated land jeopardizes food safety and can cause cancer or other health problems for local residents – critics are asking just what, in its five-year study into ground contamination, the Ministry of Environmental Protection has to hide.
Declining harvests of caterpillar fungus, also known as yarsagumba in the Himalayas, could lead to a relapse in efforts to conserve forests and biodiversity in the mountain region, according to two recent studies.
Philippines coconut farmer
February 14, 2013
A partnership between the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ - German Agency for International Co-operation), BASF and Cargill plans to improve the livelihoods of 2,500 coconut growers in the Philippines. The partnership is co-financed by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development through its program develoPPP.de. The program focuses on smallholder coconut growers in the southern Philippine island of Mindanao, aiming to raise farmers’ incomes by improving productivity and coconut oil quality.
Nepali fish farm
February 14, 2013
Scientists from Norway and Nepal say they are ready to launch a plan to manipulate the breeding cycle of carp stocks and get the fish species to spawn more than once a year to improve food security in the Himalayan country. The plan for a low-cost system for off-season fry production was announced last month at the first annual review of the USD3.3 million, four-year, Fish Farming Development (FFD) project that was launched in April 2012.