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 […]

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 […]