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Agriculture Policy

Agri-Food Pilot to ensure Food Security in Canada

The Agri-Food Pilot is conceptualised to build resilience in the agriculture sector, which sees thousands of jobs go unfilled each year. It helps address the labour needs of the Canadian agri-food sector. The pilot provides a pathway to permanent residence for experienced, non-seasonal workers in specific industries and occupations. It will run until May 2023.

The three-year pilot is an experiment by definition and that the federal government is open to ways they can improve the program and “ensure that it’s meeting the objective of recognizing those contributions — the value of the work on farms when it comes to food security — by providing a clear way [migrant workers] can establish permanent residency in Canada.”

Immigration Minister Marco Mendicino 

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada said the pilot will accept 2,750 applications annually. Eligible industries and eligible jobs under the pilot are listed below:

  • Meat product manufacturing: Retail butchers, Industrial butchers, Food processing labourers, Farm supervisors and specialized livestock workers
  • Greenhouse, nursery and floriculture production, including mushroom production: General farm workers, Harvesting labourers, Farm supervisors and specialized livestock workers
  • Animal production, excluding aquaculture: General farm workers, Farm supervisors and specialized livestock workers

Foreign workers fill an important role in the Canadian agriculture sector, where 59,000 positions went unfilled last year, according to a study from the Senate committee on agriculture and forestry. The report found that the number of unfilled positions could hit 114,000 by 2025.

Read more at iPolitics

Categories
Agriculture Fisheries

‘Survive, reboot, and grow,’ is the ‘new normal’

Amid the challenges in global food systems due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the Department of Agriculture (DA), Philippines, is ready to take on the challenge of the ‘new normal’ facing the country’s agriculture and fishery sector. It is imperative for the government to rethink and restructure its policies and practices to prevent from being overwhelmed by future crisis. DA is considering a three-pronged strategy to bring agriculture back to normalcy.

  1. We must simply surpass this global crisis.
  2. We must reboot and reform our agricultural policies, and refocus our priorities to minimize the adverse effects.
  3. The agriculture and fishery sector must grow, by attracting more investments and resources, and partnering with the private sector.

Together, we will survive, reboot, and grow toward a food-secured nation.

Read more at Philippine Information Agency

Categories
Agriculture

Urban Agriculture: A national strategy in works for Luxembourg

Urban farming or urban agriculture is essential not only as an alternative to traditional production, but as an innovative solution to promote the circular economy and thus reinvent our cities. The Ministry of Environment, Climate and Sustainable Development, NEOBUILD and the Council for the Economic Development of Construction (CDEC) presented on the occasion of the conference “Living City: urban farming & revegetation of buildings” on 23 May 2019 the national strategy “Urban Farming Luxembourg”.

Urban farming, as a policy, could lead to effective balancing of economic and social interests while minimizing trade-offs. The benefits conceptualised in favour of the policy are:

  • Development of social ties by bringing living spaces, serving as a place of training, promoting reintegration and well-being of citizens.
  • Fulfilment of ecological functions like regulation of microclimates, air purification, preservation of biodiversity etc.
  • Stimulation of local economy by new activities where money stays longer in the local circuit.

Local production will also mitigate reliance on imports and serves as a buffer during supply disruptions to import sources, which contributes to nation’s food security.

Read more at UrbanFarming.LU

Categories
Agriculture

Despite lockdown, producers didn’t change planting plans in USA

As compared to 2019, planted acreage in 2020 is as follows:

  • Corn Planted Acreage at 97.0 million acres Up 8 Percent
  • Soybean Acreage at 83.5 million acres Up 10 Percent
  • All Wheat Acreage at 44.7 million acres Down 1 Percent
  • All Cotton Acreage at 13.7 million acres Down Less Than 1 Percent

As compared to 2019, grain stocks on March 1, 2020 is as follows:

  • Corn Stocks totaled 7.95 billion bushels Down 8 Percent
  • Soybean Stocks totaled 2.25 billion bushels Down 17 Percent
  • All Wheat Stocks totaled 1.41 billion bushels Down 11 Percent

Read more at USDA Prospective Plantings and Grain Stocks

Categories
Policy

Data driven agriculture leads to Sustainable Ag

Putting data to use requires an effective balancing of economic and social interests while minimizing trade-offs. Technologies like genetic modification, protected cultivation, automation help produce more food than we need to survive. The current food system, with its reliance on a handful of crops, is inadequate and unsustainable in the face of climate change and population growth. The United Nations warned that the current global food system is inadequate and unsustainable. Even farmers are being vilified by many—including those in the environmental, scientific and policymaking communities—as enemies of our planet, as indiscriminate polluters and wasters of our air, soil and water resources. 

To meet this challenge, the researchers proposed a two-step process. The initial step focuses on the design of a sustainable framework—with goals and objectives—guided and quantified by digital agriculture technologies. Implementation, the second step, involves increased public-private investment in technologies like digital agriculture, and a focus on applicable, effective policy. Policymakers must make use of digital agriculture to help drive policy including tax incentives and subsidies to support farmers working toward a more sustainable system.

It does no good to design a policy that the farmer will ignore.

Read more at Nature

Categories
Policy

European Commission announces exceptional measures to support the agri-food sector

The Commission is taking swift action and proposes additional exceptional measures to further support agricultural and food markets most affected. The package includes measures for private storage aid (PSA) in the dairy and meat sectors, the authorisation of self-organisation market measures by operators in hard hit sectors and flexibility in fruits and vegetables, wine and some other market support programmes.

Exceptional measures announced as a further response to the Coronavirus crisis include:

  1. Private storage aid: the Commission proposes to grant private storage aid for dairy (skimmed milk powder, butter, cheese) and meat (beef, sheep and goat meat) products. This measure will lead to a decrease of available supply on the market and rebalance the market on the long-term.
  2. Flexibility for market support programmes: the Commission will introduce flexibility in the implementation of market support programmes for wine, fruits and vegetables, olive oil, apiculture and the EU’s school scheme (milk, fruits and vegetables). This will allow the reorientation of funding priorities towards crisis management measures for all the sectors.
  3. Exceptional derogation from EU competition rules: applicable to the milk, flowers and potatoes sectors, the Commission will authorise the derogation from certain competition rules. For example, the milk sector will be allowed to collectively plan milk production and the flower and potatoes sector will be allowed to withdraw products from the market.

Such agreements and decisions would only be valid for a period of maximum six months. Consumer price movements will be monitored closely to avoid adverse effects.

Read more at European Commission

Categories
Food Security

Being rich is no longer a guarantee that you will be able to get the food supply you want

From the French Revolution to the Arab Spring, price rises and food shortages have fueled conflict, toppled leaders and overthrown regimes. In this COVID-19 pandemic, countries may face an excruciating trade-off between saving lives or livelihoods or, in a worst-case scenario, saving people from the corona virus to have them die from hunger. Small Island Developing States (SIDS) and oil-exporting countries may be severely affected as they are net importers of food with populations that are dependent on income from remittances and tourism.

Yuan Longping, the Chinese agricultural expert, said China is completely able to achieve self-reliance in terms of grain production but said the COVID19 pandemic serves as a warning for those who are lax on food security. The coronavirus has done more than disrupt supply chains, it’s restarted a discussion about self-sufficiency tinged with nationalism. A lot of countries have introduced restrictions on overseas sales of grains or rice since mid-March, which serves as a wake-up call to governments.

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Uncategorized

COVID-19 and the Capitalist Food System

As we discover our agricultural system is responsible for spreading the virus, we also realize how perilously dependent we all are on those very systems of food provision for survival. Both of these problems are caused by one problem: our food system as a whole is controlled by private, for-profit capitalists. It is the profit motive and competition that compels agricultural producers to brutally rationalize and homogenize nature in the form of the monoculture plantation or mono-species livestock operation. These not only provide perfect ecological systems for virus transmission, they also replace formerly biodiverse ecologies that tend to keep wild viruses at bay.

A possible alternative: Socialize the Food System

Rather than simply abandoning the agro-industrial supply chains we depend upon, we need to think about how those supply chains could be reconstructed if they weren’t controlled for profit. This means confronting the fact that the existing food system contains advantages we can’t fully abandon. Any socialist food system would need to find an equitable way to distribute this kind of labor throughout society.

Read more at Jacobin

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Uncategorized

Use the COVID crisis to transform the agri- marketing system in India

Here are a few suggestions that may help to put the agri-system on an efficient path in India. One, abolish/reframe the APMC Act and encourage direct buying of agri-produce from farmers/farmer producer organisations (FPOs). The companies, processors, organised retailers, exporters, consumer groups, that buy directly from FPOs need not pay any market fee as they do not avail the facilities of APMC yards. Two, the warehouses can also be designated as markets, and the warehouse receipt system can be scaled up. The private sector should be encouraged to open mandis with modern infrastructure, capping commissions. Three, futures trading should be encouraged by allowing banking finance to hedge for commodity price risks. Four, promote e-NAM through proper assaying and grading the produce and setting up dispute settlement mechanism; rope in major logistics players for delivery of goods. Five, procurement must be staggered through coupons and incentives that give farmers an additional bonus for bringing produce to the market after May 10, or so. And six, the amount provided under PM Kisan should be increased from Rs 6,000 to at least Rs 10,000 per farming family to partially compensate them for their losses.

Read more at The Indian Express

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Uncategorized

The Case for Food and Agriculture is Critical in Trying Times

Everyone needs to eat and drink. This point comes to the forefront, especially during times of crisis. That’s precisely why the Food and Agriculture industry is among the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s 16 critical infrastructure sectors. Being designated as such can help ease uncertainties and possible roadblocks for industry stakeholders in the face of COVID-19. Food and Agriculture Sector is responsible for food manufacturing, processing, and storage facilities, accounts for one-fifth of the nation’s economic activity.

Read more at Growing Produce