press review - may 19/25, 2018

South China Morning Post

In Asia they are eating decreasing amounts of rice

Rice consumption decreases throughout Asia. Consumption per capita has decreased by 60 percent in Hong Kong since 1961 and by almost half in Japan. In South Korea, on the other hand, rice consumption has declined by 41 percent since 1978, while in China there has also been a decline in favor of other protein-rich foods such as meat. New foods such as quinoa or millet have also made an appearance. The causes, according to observers, are due to urbanization, rising incomes, climate change and concerns regarding health and food stocks.


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The Guardian

The decline of the oceans is accelerating but it is not too late to stop it


In an article sponsored by the Global Environment Facility, Peter Thomson, specialist correspondent of the United Nations Secretary General for the oceans, takes stock of the problems related to climate change and the measures to be taken to achieve the goals set by the Sustainable Developmental Goal 14, dedicated to the seas and oceans by 2030. 

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CVRIA

Pesticides harmful to bees are banned

The EU Court confirms the validity of the restrictions introduced at an EU level in 2013 against the insecticides clothianidin, tiametoxam, imidacloprid and fipronil in view of the risks to bees, confirmed by analyses carried out by EFSA, the European Food Safety Authority. Following the loss of bee colonies as a result of various cases of the misuse of pesticides, after reviewing the approvals issued for active substances clothianidin, tiametoxam and imidacloprid (which belong to the neonicotinoid family) and for the active substance fipronil (which belongs to the phenylpyrazole family), these substances were banned in 2013. 

The EU Court has now also rejected Bayer and Syngenta appeals concerning the neonicotinoids clothianidin, tiametoxam and imidacloprid.

According to the Court, the evidence brought forward by the manufacturers of the substances under examination is not sufficient and it is therefore reasonable, in the absence of clear data, to apply the precautionary principle to protect the insects necessary for pollination.

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World Economic Forum

Not just smart cities: intelligence used in the management of large parks

Smart cities, or intelligent cities, are often at the center of discussions about the future of urban life. But being able to handle more information can help solve human and environmental problems, for example by saving energy and regulating the flow of traffic even in large natural parks. A study conducted in Britain has now highlighted the potential for adaptation of the concept of "smart" in the management of green areas and national parks: with the help of apps, car sharing and smart parking, it is possible to reduce the impact of tourism on ecosystems.

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UN News

No more trans-fatty acids, says WHO

The World Health Organization aims to save millions of lives by eliminating trans-fatty acids from the global food chain through the REPLACE program: a guide that aims to eliminate these substances from industrial food production by 2023.

Industrially-produced trans fats can give food a longer shelf life, but each year they also lead to the death of over 500,000 people from cardiovascular and heart disease, according to WHO.

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Forbes

Eating fish twice a week reduces the risk of heart attacks and stroke

This is reflected in a new recommendation by the American Heart Association that shows how consuming two portions of oily fish a week can significantly reduce the risk of heart attacks and stroke, even for those who regularly follow a healthy diet. A statement concluded from numerous scientific papers shows how fatty acids contained in oily fish are useful for the prevention of cardiovascular diseases.The best choices (in terms of health and not necessarily environmental) are wild salmon, tuna, mackerel, lake trout, herring and sardines.

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The Guardian

The growth in avocado demand increases drought in Chile


There are incidents of entire villages in Chilean agricultural regions who are finding themselves without water due to the illegal irrigation of avocado plantations.This is revealed by associations such as Rural Potable Water, denouncing how illegal irrigation channels divert the course of rivers and streams, literally leaving entire communities dry.In the United Kingdom alone, the demand for avocados has grown by 27 percent over the last year.


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Reuters

The first carbon neutral coffee from Costa Rica

The Central American country wants to become carbon neutral by 2021. In order to achieve this, it will have to reduce CO2 emissions from agriculture, which currently represent 37 percent of the total.This is why many coffee growers are using sustainable low-carbon farming techniques that allow them to sell the product at a higher cost on the market.The sustainable agriculture trend is growing in many other sectors, including bananas and pineapples in Central America and tea in India and Sri Lanka.


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The Citizen - AllAfrica

The European Union extends aid to Tanzanian farmers


The European Union (EU) has allocated over 300 billion euros to help Tanzania's sustainable agriculture over the period 2014 to 2020.This was stated by Ambassador Roeland van de Geer, head of the EU delegation in Tanzania, during the recent Europe Day 2018. In 2017, agriculture accounted for 30.1 percent of the gross domestic product of the African country.It is also estimated that the sector provides 65 percent of industrial raw materials and employs 65 percent of Tanzania's working population.


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Reuters

In China the surface area of arable land drops for the fourth consecutive year

The Ministry of Natural Resources said that the country's total arable land fell to 134.86 million hectares, with a decrease of 60,900 hectares compared to the previous year.It is the fourth consecutive year that the surface area of arable land has reduced. This is due to growing urbanization, new construction, natural disasters and due to environmental withdrawals, as well as changes in agricultural production.  For this reason, the country wants to reclaim 90 percent of the contaminated land by 2020 and create ecological oases where both industry and agriculture will be prohibited.

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FAO

Legislators in Africa face food security and nutrition challenges

The Technical Cooperation Project between the FAO and the Pan-African Parliament was signed, entitled "Strengthening the capacity of parliamentarians in Africa for an environment favorable to food security and nutrition".  The FAO will provide technical assistance to the Pan-African Parliament for the implementation of good practices, with the aim of reducing malnutrition on the continent.      


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