Kenyan Villagers to be Carbonised

Villagers in Western Kenya are the latest participants in a project to calculate how much carbon can be stored in trees and soils when the land is managed in sustainable, climate-friendly ways. The Carbon Benefits Project has been launched in communities in and around Lake Victoria by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), the World Agroforestry Centre and other key partners. Funded by the Global Environment Facility (GEF), the project is already under way in Niger, Nigeria and China, where scientists are developing a system for measuring, monitoring and managing carbon in a diverse range of landscapes. Under the UN Climate Change Convention and its Kyoto Protocol, developed countries can offset some of their greenhouse gas emissions by paying developing economies for implementing clean and renewable energy projects such as wind, solar and geothermal power.

“Farming carbon alongside farming crops is just one of the tantalizing prospects emerging as a result of the world’s urgent need to combat climate change,” said UNEP Executive Director Achim Steiner. “Some industrialized countries are considering investing tens of billions of dollars in capturing carbon off the smoke stacks of power stations and burying underground.

(Source: UN News Centre, 11 May 2009)

Agricultural biotechnologies in developing countries – Learning from the past

The background document to the FAO e-mail conference entitled “Learning from the past: Successes and failures with agricultural biotechnologies in developing countries over the last 20 years” is now available.

The biggest part of the 16-page document provides an overview of the main kinds of agricultural biotechnologies that have been used in the crop, forestry, livestock, fishery and agro-industry sectors in developing countries in the past and that should be covered in the e-mail conference. See http://www.fao.org/biotech/C16doc.htm or contact biotech-admin@fao.org to request a copy. The moderated e-mail conference is open to everyone and runs from 8 June to 5 July 2009. It is hosted by the FAO Biotechnology Forum and is being held as part of the build up to the FAO international technical conference on Agricultural Biotechnologies in Developing Countries (ABDC-09). To join the Forum (and also register for the conference), send an e-mail to mailserv@mailserv.fao.org and enter the following text on two separate lines: subscribe BIOTECH-L subscribe biotech-room4 Forum members wishing to register for the conference should leave out the first line of the above message. For more information, contact biotech-mod4@fao.org.

Agriculture and Climate Change

The International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) has released a new set of briefs on the multitude of interconnections between agriculture and global warming, providing  specific recommendations on mitigation and adaptation. They can be downloaded from IFPRI. Titles include:

  • Agricultural Science and Technology Needs for Climate Change Adaptation and Mitigation
  • Reducing Methane Emissions from Irrigated Rice
  • Direct and Indirect Mitigation Through Tree and Soil Management
  • The Potential for Soil Carbon Sequestration
  • Mitigating Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Livestock Systems
  • The Role of Nutrient Management in Mitigation
  • Monitoring, Reporting, and Verification Methodologies for Agriculture, Forestry, and Other Land Use
  • Synergies Among Mitigation, Adaptation, and Sustainable Development
  • The Importance of Property Rights in Climate Change Mitigation
  • The Important Role of Extension Systems
  • Adaptation to Climate Change: Household Impacts and Institutional Responses
  • The Constructive Role of International Trade

The International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) is one of several international research centers supported by the
Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR).
“2020 Vision for Food, Agriculture, and the Environment” is an initiative of IFPRI to develop a shared vision and consensus for action on how to meet future world food needs while reducing poverty and protecting the environment.