Articles (articles are listed by latest first)

Cereal and soya bean production and food security in China: Challenges and opportunities

Professor Yuncheng Liao,
Professor Kadambot H.M Siddique,
Professor Lixiang Wang,
Assistant Professor Yajun Li,
Assistant Professor Xiaolaing Qin
Introduction China’s GDP has increased steadily since 1949, reaching 63,646 billion Renminbi (1038 billion US dollars) in 2014 to become the world’s second largest economy (1) (Fig. 1).  In recent years, China’s food security has received attention from researchers and policy makers (2, 3). In 2011, China had 20% of global food production (4). Future trends in grain production, consumption and import will affect food prices in the region (5) and food security is a high priority of …


Current and forthcoming Issues of World Agriculture

Dr David Frape
The New Year will see a new ‘face’ to World Agriculture .  We shall change our WEB format, and to keep our Journal abreast of developments in internet technology, we shall for example, simplify the procedure by which one downloads references on-line.  Moreover, we shall invite readers to comment on World Agriculture , or on relevant current issues, by publishing your unedited comments, to which we shall append only your name and country. In the present Issue we give evidence of …


The Market, the Managed, or the Mixed Economy. Which should it be in the North v South China Affair?

Professor Sir John Marsh
1. Market economies provide a means by which resources are distributed to secure maximum returns to their owners. Owners and users are assumed seek maximum profit.  Owners sell them at the highest price available and users, ultimately consumers, buy at the lowest price they can find.  All participants in the market, buyers and sellers have perfect knowledge about what prices are available. 2. Given this restricted model resources move to secure the greatest value possible, given the …


The functions and sizes of the five carbon sinks on planet Earth and their relation to climate change Part I Their present sizes and locations

Dr David Frape
Introduction The carbon cycle is the biogeochemical cycle by which carbon is exchanged among  five spheres  of the Earth, carbon (C) sinks: the biosphere, pedosphere, lithosphere, hydrosphere, and atmosphere (These are not mutually exclusive, see Glossary).  Along with the nitrogen cycle and the water cycle, the carbon cycle comprises a sequence of events that is key to making the Earth capable of sustaining life; it describes the movement of carbon as it is recycled and reused …


Some notes on the politics of survival

Professor Sir John Marsh
1. We can only make policies that have the consent of the power brokers a. In a democracy such as the UK, power lies with those who win votes. b. The Brexit debate has shown how voters disregard expert views but accept uncritically populist statements from pressure groups. 2. The need to reduce fossil fuel use implies unwanted changes in lifestyles. a. The public response is likely to be fashioned by pressure groups who offer ‘easy’ options – anti-austerity for example. …


Innovative agroforestry for environmental security in India

S.B. Chavan,
Dr A.K. Handa,
Professor Parkash Toky
Introduction The role of trees in environmental security has been well known for ages.  Trees in agroforestry systems not only provide direct benefits (food, fodder, fuelwood, fertilizers, fibres, etc) but also improve soil fertility, reduce soil erosion, filter atmospheric pollutants and most importantly they maintain carbon balance.  Growing multipurpose trees along with agricultural crops, has been considered as a panacea for maladies of intensive agriculture and deforestation…


A review of Dame Fiona Reynolds’ book: The Fight for Beauty, Publ. Oneworld Publications, London 2016; and on the effects of land use on climate change

Dr David Frape
Dame Fiona has published a most apposite and timely book on the Man’s need for beauty of the natural world.  She has asked me to review it – a hard-headed scientist to review a book on beauty, is you might think, a bit incongruous.  “Beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder”, as Plato most astutely stated – it is not subject to scientific analysis, or quantification. Nevertheless, what is beautiful is subject to teaching, or is learnt by experience. My mother once told me she …


The part played by World Agriculture in three vital roles of countryside on the Earth

Dr David Frape
This Issue is one of the more important Issues of World Agriculture.   The pages here are more numerous than is normally the case. We deal with one of our fundamental purposes and objectives.  This is to give a clear, description of the some of the complex, vital problems confronting this World and where possible propose solutions. Policy makers carry out their duties in response to pressure from the voting public.  It is up to that public with the very best and well-informed …


“Capital” farmland is part of a solution to the Chinese food security problems

Dr David Frape
A discussion of the conclusions drawn by Dr. Tang Huaizhi, Dr. Xue Jian, Prof. Yun Wenju – this Issue The Chinese Government fully recognizes the potential national problems associated with their current agricultural production and accepts the conclusions of their leading scientists as to the appropriate action to take. Over  the next 20 years, urbanization of China’s population will continue, presenting similar problems to those of western societies.  A current Chinese …


Government playing a bigger role in protecting farmland as supporting human society development

Professor Wei Xiuju
1. The area/quantity and productivity/quality of farmland being the   foundation for humanity survival Land is the foundation of human survival, agriculture is the basic industry of human society, and farmland closely related to agriculture is one of the most important resources of social and economic development.  Food production capacity is an important aspect of food security, and it is affected by many factors.  In addition to uncontrollable factors such as weather, it is …


Current Chinese agricultural reform

Professor Sir John Marsh
See Status, problem and strategy of capital farmland development in China,  Dr.Tang Huaizhi et al . this issue This evidence is of immense importance – there is a growing gap between what can be produced and what is demanded, there is too a history of damaging uses of technology that have led to desertification of major formerly productive areas, to add to this there are major calls for good land to be used for urban development and the overarching impact of Climate Change.  …


Status, problem and strategy of capital farmland development in China

Prof. Yun Wenju,
Dr.Xue Jian,
Dr.Tang Huaizhi
Since the founding of the People’s Republic of China, the construction of irrigation and water conservation projects reached a peak in the 1960s and 1970s with farmland irrigation area of about 45 Mha (1) nationwide. This provides the base from which farmland can achieve its potential. In the 1980s and 1990s, as a result of limited and fragmented investment in the long term, this in turn gives rise to widespread agricultural infrastructure disrepair and functional degradation.  Given the …


India: Potential based on tradition

Professor Parkash Toky,
Robert Cook
Anyone who has visited India two or three times in the last decade cannot fail to be impressed by the huge economic progress made in recent years.   Dual carriageways and regular flights now link most major cities and traffic becomes more frenetic by the day, as new cars, motor cycles and lorries crowd onto the congested roads.   This is a reflection not just of economic activity, but of increasing affluence, especially amongst an expanding middle class, whose spending power provides …


Innovative agroforestry for livelihood security in India

S.B. Chavan,
Dr S.K. Dhyani,
Dr A.K. Handa,
Professor Parkash Toky
Agroforestry is practised by millions of farmers worldwide, and has been a feature of agricul­ture for millennia.  It encompasses a wide range of trees that are grown on farms and in rural landscapes, and includes the generation of science-based tree enter­prise opportunities that can be important in the future (1).  As per the World Bank 2004 report an estimated 1.2 billion rural people cur­rently practise agroforestry on their farms and in their communities and depend upon its …


Indian agroforestry and food production

Dr David Frape
In the current Issue of WA we publish a fascinating and informative account of agroforestry in India by Handa, Toky et al .  In this paper are listed various tree-based products: gums, resins, floss, fibres, fodder, brooms, fruits and many others for the use of the subsistence  farmer. Hence, these various agroforestry systems are considered to be the backbone of marginal farming for a self-reliant and sustainable agriculture, which also forms a strong feasible option to counter climate …


Has agricultural biotechnology finally turned a corner?

Ivar Virgin,
Denis J Murphy
Policy proposals Governments, NGOs and other civil society representatives should engage in a comprehensive public debate on how advances in agbiotech, can benefit smallholders in developing countries by producing more sustainable food systems and improving nutrition in view of changing climate and resource scarcity. In particular genome editing in crop and livestock improvement should be accommodated.  Governments across the world should urgently address the issue of how …


India: Potential based on tradition

Professor Parkash Toky,
Robert Cook
Anyone who has visited India two or three times in the last decade cannot fail to be impressed by the huge economic progress made in recent years.   Dual carriageways and regular flights now link most major cities and traffic becomes more frenetic by the day, as new cars, motor cycles and lorries crowd onto the congested roads.   This is a reflection not just of economic activity, but of increasing affluence, especially amongst an expanding middle class, whose spending power provides …


Biotech for food, acceptance and rejection Has the day of Agribiotec arrived?

Professor Sir John Marsh
Murphy’s paper, which reports on The FAO Symposium on agbiotech, February 2016, provides evidence of changes in the use of agricultural biotechnology, reports on a number of case studies in the use of GM in developing countries and discusses the future role of this unfolding technology and the contribution it may make to secure food supplies. The substance of the discussion is that the traditional model of GM as a tool by which big transnational companies dominated the world is clearly …


Are the European Union Regulators Laggards?

Dr David Frape
Are the European Union Regulators Laggards? It is appropriate, first, to review the discussions and outcome of a meeting of the FAO in Rome, 15-17 February this year.  The meeting was entitled “The Role of Agricultural Biotechnologies in Sustainable Food Systems and Nutrition”.  The key question at the meeting was: to what extent could agricultural biotechnologies assist and benefit smallholders in developing sustainable food systems and improve nutrition during climate change …


What is the future for oil palm as a global crop?

Denis J Murphy
Summary The African oil palm, Elaeis guineensis, is the major global vegetable oil crop. Palm oil is consumed daily by over two billion people and can be found in about half of all products on sale in a typical supermarket. Increased demand for palm oil, particularly in Asia and Europe, has led to extensive conversion of tropical habitats into plantations. In some parts of Southeast Asia, this has had adverse ecological and environmental consequences that have led to calls for …