New safety measures for harvesters
Each year more than 1000 harvesters catch fire, of which about one per cent, or approximately 12 harvesters worth at least $500,000 each, are burnt to the ground. Click here to read more
It says "profound shifts" in China's self-sufficiency of key feed grains and the knock-on effects of the drought in Black Sea regions this year will be the main drivers of this increased volatility.
For the first time in 15 years, China will import a "meaningful amount" of corn this year and its need for feed grains is likely to increase sooner than previously predicted as the country industrialises meat production, Rabobank global strategist David Nelson said. Click here to read more
The fruit and wine-growing sector in South Africa
The agricultural sector represents 3% of South Africa's GDP and employs more than 6% of the working population. As the leading agricultural power on the continent, South Africa produces a surplus in its food processing industry (agricultural surplus of 1 billion euros in 2009). Over the past several years, its exports grew steadily before reaching their current stable position: The country is the world's 7th largest exporter of wine, 6th largest exporter of citrus fruit and 10th largest exporter of fruit (based on volume).
In 2009/2010, total agricultural production was valued at approximately 127 billion rands (or approximately 12.5 billion euros), broken down into 31 billion for large-scale farming, 32.5 billion for horticulture and 64 billion for animal production
Farmland covers 122 million hectares, with only 18% being used to grow crops while the remainder is devoted to cattle farming. Click here to read more
It takes more than a green thumb to be a great farmer, super-human vision helps as well. The Institute of Agricultural Machinery at Japan's National Agriculture and Food Research Organization, along with SI Seiko, has developed a robot that can select and harvest strawberries based on their color. Ripened berries are detected using the robot's stereoscopic cameras, and analyzed to measure how red they appear. When the fruit is ready to come off the vine, the robot quickly locates it in 3D space and cuts it free.
Calestous Juma, a development scientist, says Africa can turn around by improving roads and transportation, training engineers and using irrigation, solar energy and more technology.
Reporting from Johannesburg, South Africa -
The problem: African hunger. In a nutshell, 250 million Africans are undernourished, a quarter of the population and an increase of 100 million in the last 20 years. Yet 70% of Africans are farmers growing food.
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