Hunger crisis could swell already record global displacement: UN

by Christophe Vogt  Agence France-Presse GENEVA, Switzerland (AFP) — Russia’s war in Ukraine has pushed global displacement numbers above 100 million for the first time, and the UN warns the resulting hunger crisis could force many more to flee their homes. Efforts to address the global food insecurity crisis, which has been dramatically aggravated by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, is “of paramount importance… to prevent a larger number of people moving,” the United Nations refugee […]

Wheat prices hit record high after Indian export ban

  by Sofia BOUDERBALA Agence France Presse Wheat prices surged to a new record high in European trading on Monday after India decided to ban exports of the commodity as a heatwave hit production. The price jumped to 435 euros ($453) per tonne as the Euronext market opened, up from the previous record of 422 euros reached on Friday. Global wheat prices have soared on supply fears since Russia’s February invasion of agricultural powerhouse Ukraine, […]

40 million more faced acute hunger in 2021: UN

  The number of people facing hunger rose to 193 million last year as conflict, climate change and economic crises ravaged people’s livelihoods, the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization said Wednesday. While experts have warned that Russia’s war in Ukraine could cause famine, the FAO said in an annual report that nearly 40 million more people were pushed into “acute food insecurity” in 2021. Among 53 countries facing the problem, the most affected include the […]

Thai… caviar? Farm produces delicacy in tropical climate

  by Pathom Sangwongwanich © Agence France-Presse BANGKOK, Thailand (AFP) — At his upmarket Bangkok restaurant, Michelin-starred chef Thitid “Ton” Tassanakajohn spoons black caviar onto a plate, adding the newly affordable Thailand-made delicacy to his reinterpreted traditional family recipes. The luxury food, better associated with chilly northern nations, is breaking into the Southeast Asian country’s fine-dining scene, with the 37-year-old celebrity cook able to economically serve the roe thanks to an innovative farm outside the […]

As Ukraine sowing season starts, fuel shortages threaten food supply

by Selim SAHEB ETTABA Agence France-Presse Bahaté, Ukraine (AFP) – In an endless field in southwest Ukraine, farmers began to plant sunflower seeds at the start of the sowing season, but a fuel shortage threatens production in the war-torn country, whose land feeds millions around the world. The world’s top producer of sunflower oil and a major exporter of wheat is a breadbasket of the world under threat from the Russian invasion. This means the […]

Tunisian eco-pioneers battle to save Sahara oasis life

by Francoise Kadri Agence France-Presse NEFTA, Tunisia (AFP) – A remote oasis in Tunisia’s desert was exhausted by decades of wasteful water use for agriculture — but now pioneers around an eco-lodge are reviving the spot with innovative projects. They hope their back-to-basics approach can keep alive the ancient Saharan caravan stop and its traditions as a sustainable alternative to the region’s high-irrigation date plantations. “Among the palm trees, everything can grow,” said Mohamed Bougaa, […]

Saudi coffee legacy percolates through the generations

by Haitham El-Tabei Agence France-Presse JIZAN, Saudi Arabia (AFP) – For Farah al-Malki, growing coffee plants in Saudi Arabia’s southwestern region of Jizan is more than just a profession. It is a family tradition passed down from generation to generation. The 90-year-old patriarch has a long history with coffee, which spread from Ethiopia to Yemen and then to the rest of the Middle East around the 15th century. “My father inherited it from his grandfathers, […]

NGO files complaint over dead fish deluge off French coast

SAINT-JEAN-DE-LUZ, France (AFP) – Environmental organisation Sea Shepherd on Tuesday filed a legal complaint against the owners of a large fishing vessel after tens of thousands of dead fish were spotted off France’s Atlantic coast. The NGO last week published footage of what it said were more than 100,000 dead fish floating in the sea some 300 kilometres (186 miles) off the southwestern port city of La Rochelle in the Bay of Biscay. The fish, […]

Start ups bringing Pakistan’s farming into digital age

by Yann SCHREIBER Agence France-Presse CHAK TWENTY-SIX SP, Pakistan (AFP) – Agriculture entrepreneurs are bringing the digital age to Pakistan’s farmers, helping them plan crops better and distribute their produce when the time is right. Until recently, “the most modern machine we had was the tractor”, Aamer Hayat Bhandara, a farmer and local councillor behind one such project told AFP in “Chak 26”, a village in the agricultural heartland of Punjab province. Even making mobile […]

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 […]