food_security

food, agriculture, including cattle etc

Disasters: sources of information and trends

How to systematically monitor disasters?This post gives a list of web-based sources that publish disaster information suitable for monitoring. This implies that the information is provided near real-time, often unverified and mostly very redundant between sources. Some sources also publish analyses and well-documented post factum quantitative analyses. The second half of the post presents some…

East African humanitarian crisis

https://www.nbcnews.com/slideshow/news/refugees-flee-drought-war-in-east-africa-34244347

Severe food and security crises in Africa East Africa is suffering a deep humanitarian crisis brought about a complex interaction between war and climate, with large refugee fluxes affecting at least seven countries. The situation is compounded by strong social inequalities, fragile governments, disorganized states and the deliberate policy of some of them to use…

Global grain stocks

Why we don’t know how much food is available globally…Although they are of paramount strategic importance (or, maybe, because of their strategic importance!) world food stocks are not known. They are mostly estimated indirectly based on other data, with a large error. Among the largest producers of cereals and soybean, some are mainly  exporters (Brazil,…

African geomatics centres

Many African countries have established and operate dedicated institutions dealing with remote sensing, mapping, GIS, GPS, warning systems and other geomatics applications. In addition, at the initiative of groups of countries, regional development associations such as CILSS and SADC, the Africa Union, UNECA (UN Economic Commision for Africa) and NEPAD (AU New Partnership for Africa’s…

Amazing maize…

The post analyses current trends of maize yield and production, and tries to look ahead and see where changes are likely in the future. It is related to a previous post on Global food supply trends in 2014, and beyond!  This note was first published in the August 2014 CropWatch bulletin, pages 85 to 88. The…

The three rules of crop yield forecasting

When they have been in a business long enough, “experts” often develop a gusto for the more philosophical side of their trade, and crop forecasters are no exception. Strictly speaking, the philosophical aspects are not needed to build a forecasting method. They are, nevertheless, very useful to avoid naive errors that can result from applying technical methods without paying too much…

Global food supply trends in 2014, and beyond!

This post analyses the trends of yield, area, and production in the 31 countries that together make up 80 percent of the world supply of maize, rice, wheat, and soybean. These 31 countries (actually 30 + 1, where 1 stands for China) which are the key focus of CropWatch analyses, also provide 80 percent of…

Crop monitoring dialects

There are many national and a handful of international crop monitoring and forecasting systems. All maintain websites and publish bulletins, which summarise their analyses for decision makers at the national level and beyond. A collection of national bulletins is available from the WAMIS website of WMO, as well as from a number of national agrometeorological…

Mixing time series and cross-sectional data

As I was updating a couple of things in another corner of this blog,  I stumbled upon of  a passage in a recent book by Nate Silver (2012) that has a lot of relevance for crop forecasters. It is relevant to two different but related subjects: (1) averaging different forecasts and (2) mixing cross-sectional data…

What, if anything, happened during the Neolithic?

First published 20121020 / Last updated 20121028 Bread is one of the most typical products of agriculture, and, somehow, bread is agriculture. Like many other people, I assumed that bread is a neolithic invention. In reality, “bread” and other innovations, appeared gradually over time, and well before the Neolithic. All the necessary pre-inventions must have…

The cost of hunger and malnutrition

Malnutrition remains the world’s most serious health problem and the single biggest contributor to child mortality. Nearly one-third of children in the developing world are either underweight or stunted, and more than 30 percent of the developing world’s population suffers from micronutrient deficiencies (WB 2006, introduction.) Needless to say, many authors, summits and international declarations…

Mixing oil, water and food in Saudi Arabia

Updated 20110922 In reaction to the first oil crisis of the mid seventies, the kingdom of Saudi Arabia decided to decrease its dependency on food imports by developing local food production using water from deep, non-renewable aquifers. This has now been going on for about thirty years now, and the country realized that, maybe, water…

La famine de 1845 en Irlande

Cette famine me fascine depuis longtemps. J’ai écrit ce petit texte il y a quelques années, et j’ai rassemblé pas mal de documentation sur le sujet. Disons que cette ébauche me servira d’amorce quand je parviendrai à me décider! Cette famine offre un exemple classique de pénurie complexe: les facteurs incluent des problèmes phytosanitaires (mildiou),…

Climate-crop impacts: some data issues

1. Introduction (*) Crop-climate interactions are of relevance for a number of applications, in food security, crop insurance, market planning and climate change impact assessments. All these fields have an interest in crop modelling and forecasting. The interest of forecasting goes beyond the immediate subjects discussed here, as all science is somehow about “forecasting”, i.e.…

Recent rainfall and cattle trends in the Central-Western Sahel

  The graph shows recent trends of climate, urbanisation and a livestock production index (meat and milk). The data stem from various FAO sources: FAOSTAT for the production and population data, while the National Rainfall Indices (NRI) come from CLIMPAG. All variables are aggregated at the level of the “central-Eastern Sahel” by combining data from…