Tag Archives: agriculture
Researchers at Bristol University are investigating the possibility that developing crop plants, such as wheat, with broad shiny leaves could reflect a substantial amount of sunlight and help to reduce global warming.
A group of 29 scientists have published an article in the prestigious Science journal arguing for the development of perennial grain crops which have been described as potentially "the biggest agricultural revolution for 10,000 years". Currently, most grain grown around the world has to be replanted after every crop. 70% of all cropland is used for annual cereals, oilseeds and legumes. Thia consumes a lot of resources and is hard on the land. The scientists argue that perennial grain, in addition to not needing replanting – saving farm machinery passing over and compacting the ground and reducing fuel consumption – … Continue Reading
The Friends of the Earth have published a report on a study of various ways in which the world’s projected population of 9.16 billion in 2050 could be fed. The key finding was that feeding the world in 2050 is possible without the most intensive forms of animal and crop production and without a massive expansion of agricultural land. The study focused on four possible dietary scenarios: Western High Meat – assuming that there is a global adoption of the current Western diet with an average intake of 3,000 kcal per day per person and with 44% of protein from … Continue Reading
The recent G8 meeting in in Italy unveiled a plan to commit $US 20 billion over three years to funding the development of agriculture to tackle persistent food shortages particularly in Africa. One of the most promising areas of reserch is the use of "fertilser trees". These are varieties of shrubs that capture nitrogen from the air and transfer it to the soil – restoring nutrients and potentially doubling or trebling harvests. According to Jeffrey Sachs, director of the UN Millennium Project, "fertiliser trees" are among the most promising means for achieving the goal of halving global hunger by 2015. … Continue Reading
Two reports from world bodies have been published week saying that the world has ample capaicty to feed its projected increased population. The first report, from the OECD and the UN Food & Agriculture Organization, projects ten years from the food price increases of 2008. It concludes that "Some 1.6 billion hectares could be added to the current 1.4 billion hectares of crop land [in the world], and over half of the additionally available land is found in Africa and Latin America." The second report, from the UN Food & Agriculture Organization and the World Bank, concludes that 400 million … Continue Reading
The Sahara Forest Project:is a proposal to combine two innovative technologies, Concentrated Solar Power and Seawater Greenhouses, to produce renewable energy, water and food in an area of desert which is one of the hottest places on earth. Australia would seem to be another ideal location. The Seawater Greenhouse is a process which provides water for agriculture in arid coastal regions. Concentrated Solar Power collects the sun’s energy through reflecting mirrors which are used to heat water which then produces steam to power turbines. Both technologies work best in hot, sunny areas.
The Seawater Greenhouse is a process which provides water for agriculture in arid coastal regions. The Seawater Greenhouse uses seawater to cool and humidify the air that ventilates the greenhouse and sunlight to distill fresh water from seawater. This enables the year round cultivation of high value crops that would otherwise be difficult or impossible to grow in hot, arid regions. The entire front wall of the greenhouse is a seawater evaporator. It consists of a honeycomb lattice that faces the prevailing wind. Seawater trickles down over the lattice, cooling and humidifying the air passing through into the planting area. … Continue Reading
Japanese researchers believe that they have found a way to neutralise the methane in the belches of the world’s 1.5 billion cows which is thought to account for five per cent of greenhouse gas emissions. Cows produce astonishing quantities of methane gas as the bacteria in their stomachs breaks down plant fibres. Their near-constant cud-chewing allows a small quantity of the gas to escape with nearly every breath each animal takes. A team at Obihiro University of Agriculture, led by Professor Junichi Takahashi, has found that a few simple addiitives, costing about $1 a day, could remove virtually all of … Continue Reading