Wed 03 June, 2015

By Chase Sova.

Twenty years ago, negotiators from around the world came together in the Uruguay Round of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT). The goal: to identify global principles for agricultural exchange. Export subsidies in the late ‘80s from industrialized economies like the United States resulted in the dumping of cheap agricultural products in developing countries, undermining local producers. These and other trends fueled efforts to correct growing inequalities in an increasingly globalized food system. Yet given food security’s central role in national security and an evolving belief in food security as a fundamental human right, an agreement on agriculture was slow to be reached.

Today, the world has come together again, and while the conversation has shifted toward the urgent need to tackle climate change, the same agricultural challenges remain.  Nearly 1 billion people across the world are food insecure or undernourished; populations continue to grow in sub-Saharan African (SSA) and South Asia; and food systems face severe impacts from a world that, on its current trajectory, is likely to be four degrees warmer than present averages.  At the Lima climate negotiations, however, the collective answer to the ‘agricultural question’ was, yet again, to avoid it altogether.

Tue 31 March, 2015

By Professor Mike Hamm, C. S. Mott Professor of Sustainable Agriculture at Michigan State University (MSU) & visiting fellow of Mansfield College, University of Oxford.

In this blog-post Visiting Fellow, Mike Hamm, critically considers the environmental sustainability of vertical- and indoor farming.  In particular, he explores and challenges claims that fully indoor production systems can provide a significant source of food for urban areas at low carbon cost.  Ultimately, he argues that there are a number of other urban and peri-urban food growing options that offer greater potential, and deserve more policy attention and support.

Mon 24 February, 2014

By Hannah Rowlands

We were fortunate enough to have Professor James Jones, University of Florida, one of the principal investigators on AgMIP, speak to us recently in Oxford about "Model-Based Integrated Assessment of Food Security".

Mon 10 February, 2014

By Lindsay Turnbull, University of Oxford

Organic farming is a trade off: it prohibits the use of certain chemicals and inorganic fertilisers, which usually results in lower yields, and hence higher prices. With arguments about health benefits inconclusive, one might ask what reasons there are to pay the organic premium.

Thu 18 July, 2013

Tara Garnett reflects on her co-authored, recently released, article 'Sustainable Intensification in Agriculture: Premises and Policies'.

Mon 04 March, 2013

By Hannah Rowlands.

Last week, The Oxford Martin Programme on the Future of Food and the Plants for the 21st Century Institute were fortunate enough to host Jack Bobo, Senior Advisor for Biotechnology for the United States Department of State, giving a talk about biotechnology, agriculture and food security. In this blog post, I summarise some of the arguments he made.