Japan tuna goes for $145,000 as pandemic dampens New Year auction

TOKYO, Japan (AFP) — The buyer of a $145,000 tuna at Tokyo’s traditional New Year auction said Wednesday he hoped the purchase would “brighten” a Covid-hit 2022. The top price paid for a tuna at the first auction of the year at Tokyo’s Toyosu fish market fell for the third year running, with demand hit by the pandemic. The 16.88 million yen shelled out jointly by a restaurant operator and a wholesaler for the huge […]

Sticky situation: Canada taps maple syrup reserves to meet soaring demand

by Anne-Sophie THILL Agence France-Presse LAURIERVILLE, Canada (AFP) – Pancake lovers, fear not. Strong demand for maple syrup after a poor Canadian harvest has created supply-side woes, but Quebec province is tapping its strategic reserves to keep the world awash in the sweet, sticky stuff. Experts are warning the shortages could be further compounded by climate change, which is already being blamed for last spring’s shorter and warmer sugaring season. To avoid shortages, the Quebec […]

Bird watching for peace in Colombia

by Hervé BAR Agence France-Presse PLANADAS, Colombia (AFP) – As a bird perches on a telegraph pole, two young girls are deep in consultation — is it “Tiranus melancholicus,” or perhaps “Pyrocephalus rubinus?” The answer is “rubinus,” a sparrow with a bright red breast. In the center of Colombia, among the leafy mountains of Planadas, this ornithological debate by indigenous children might seem surprising. With their eyes scanning the mountain, around 30 people, adults and […]

Organic farmers find fertile ground in Tunis

by Kaouther Larbi and Françoise Kadri with AFP bureaus in Rabat and Algeria Agence France-Presse TUNIS, Tunisia (AFP) – Proudly displaying her freshly picked pomegranates, Tunisian farmer Sarah Shili says going organic is “the future of farming” — and as demand surges in North Africa and beyond, the sector is blooming. Shili runs Domaine Elixir Bio, a 94-hectare (230-acre) farm near Tunis that produces organic-certified vegetable, fruit and cereal crops in a way she said […]

No one left: climate change fuels Guatemalan migration

by Henry MORALES ARANA Agence France-Presse COMUNIDAD CERRO AZUL, Guatemala (AFP) – Lazaro Yat looked on helplessly as his 17-year-old son left the family home in Guatemala and embarked on the perilous journey to the United States as an undocumented migrant. Two powerful hurricanes that struck the north of the Central American country in 2020 decimated cardamom crops, leaving thousands of indigenous people destitute. “Everyone suffered because their crops were left submerged in water,” Yat […]

EU lawmakers back plan for sustainable farming

STRASBOURG, France (AFP) – The European Parliament backed Wednesday an ambitious EU push to make farming more sustainable, in a move hailed by environmental activists who also called for binding targets for slashing pesticides. A majority of 452 legislators gave the thumbs up to a report on the EU executive’s “farm to fork” strategy in the face of intense lobbying from agricultural groups. There were 170 against with 76 abstentions. “MEPs highlighted the need for enhanced […]

El Nino puts millions in childhood malnutrition: study

by Patrick GALEY Agence France-Presse PARIS, France (AFP) – Changing rain patterns caused by the El Nino warming phenomenon frequently drives millions of children into malnutrition and saddles them with life-long health issues, researchers said Tuesday, calling for action against the “predictable” impact. El Nino is a periodic event that affects global weather patterns, occurring every few years when eastern Pacific Ocean waters get unusually warm, leading to heavy rain in some regions but relative […]

Sweet taste of Squid Game success for South Korean candy couple

by Yelim LEE / Claire LEE SEOUL, South Korea (AFP) — Simple, sweet, and fictionally fatal: the stallholder who makes the traditional South Korean children’s treat featured in the global cultural phenomenon “Squid Game” — and once associated with post-war poverty — has hit a real-life jackpot. The Netflix smash hit series features a group of South Korea’s most marginalised and deeply in debt, who compete in children’s games for the chance of 45.6 billion […]

Turkish fires endanger world pine honey supplies

by Raziye Akkoc Agence France-Presse COKEK, Turkey (AFP) – Beekeepers Mustafa Alti and his son Fehmi were kept busy tending to their hives before wildfires tore through a bucolic region of Turkey that makes most of the world’s prized pine honey. Now the Altis and generations of other honey farmers in Turkey’s Aegean province of Mugla are scrambling to find additional work and wondering how many decades it might take to get their old lives […]

Japanese giant wants soy sauce to be the ‘ketchup of India’

Every dish tastes better with a dash of soy sauce, even dessert: that’s the ambitious pitch of Japanese food giant Kikkoman, hoping to persuade Indians to use it in curries, sweets and everything in between. Convincing 1.3 billion people to add a staple of East Asian cuisine to their butter chicken and samosas is no cakewalk but it will likely be easier than the brand’s 1960s push into the United States. “When we entered the […]

Philippines approves GMO ‘golden rice’ for commercial production

  MANILA, Philippines (AFP) — The Philippines became the world’s first country Friday to approve the commercial production of genetically modified “golden rice” that experts hope will combat childhood blindness and save lives in the developing world. A biosafety permit issued by government regulators paves the way for the rice — enriched with the vitamin A-precursor beta-carotene to make it more nutritional — to be grown by farmers across the country, its developers said. “It’s […]

When cereals become more than just breakfast

  Kids share how cereals can be more than just breakfast.  They can be enjoyed in more ways than just being served in a bowl with milk. David and Sarah Cucio from North Hills, California, interview some of the kids in the US to show us how in this Eagle News America report.   (Eagle News Service)