Cutting food waste in Africa would drive greater prosperity
May16

Cutting food waste in Africa would drive greater prosperity

In a piece for The New York Times, Special Reporting Initiative Fellow Rachel Cernansky explores how food waste undermines African economies and potential solutions. Last year, Tanzania had exciting news: a bumper harvest of corn. But even as farmers were celebrating — corn is a staple eaten at almost every meal — much of the crop had already been spoiled, having grown moldy or been infested by insects and rodents. The problem was that farmers lacked the capacity to store food safely. Even the government’s national reserve system had run out of space to hold the overflow. Such shortages of capacity persist, and not just in Tanzania. The Food and Agriculture Organization reports that largely because of a lack of infrastructure for refrigeration, transportation and sanitary, airtight storage, 15 to 20 percent of grain crops in sub-Saharan Africa and about half of fruits and vegetables show spoilage before they reach market. Read her full piece at Wasting Less of Africa’s Harvest in Order to...

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TAKEPART – How a Cow can Help the Climate
May15

TAKEPART – How a Cow can Help the Climate

Special Reporting Initiative Fellow Brendan Borrell reports for TakePart on how an agricultural method imported from New Zealand could be one answer to Brazil’s deforestation crisis. Read the full story...

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Photo Essay: Geopolitical pawns, the fishermen of Lý Sơn, Vietnam
Apr28

Photo Essay: Geopolitical pawns, the fishermen of Lý Sơn, Vietnam

The island of Lý Sơn sits a few miles off shore of the city of Da Nang and halfway down the long, serpentine coast of Vietnam. Most of its people are simple fishermen, trolling the South China Sea for octopus, shrimp and whatever fish they can catch. View the full photo essay by Special Reporting Initiative Fellows Dominic Bracco II and Erik...

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Keeping up with the climate: efforts to reduce African crop losses face the extra hurdle of climate change
Apr21

Keeping up with the climate: efforts to reduce African crop losses face the extra hurdle of climate change

Farmers in tropical areas have long struggled to maximize their crop yields, but the strikes against them just continue to mount. To start with, they tend to lack storage and processing tools that industrialized countries take for granted — things like refrigeration, ovens, and grain elevators. On top of that, they’re working the land in places where climate change may already be wielding its effects, making disease, rainfall patterns, and crop yields less predictable. Read the rest of Special Reporting Initiative Fellow Rachel Cernansky’s piece on food waste in Sub-Saharan...

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Empowering women in order to save the harvest
Apr16

Empowering women in order to save the harvest

On a hot weekend in February, Shamim Daudi sits down with farmer after farmer near Babati, Tanzania, to talk with them about the way they store their corn. The organization she works for, the Swiss development group Helvetas, has been researching ways to help reduce the percentage of crops that farmers in Tanzania and across Africa lose to pests and mold. Up to 18 percent of all cereal crops and more than a third of fruits, vegetables, roots, and tubers in sub-Saharan Africa are wasted before they ever reach a consumer. Read the rest of Special Reporting Initiative Fellow Rachel Cernansky’s piece on food waste in Sub-Saharan...

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The crop-saving champion of Tanzania: Bertha Mjawa
Apr14

The crop-saving champion of Tanzania: Bertha Mjawa

In the late 1980s, Bertha Mjawa remembers seeing endless quantities of fruits and vegetables getting thrown out across Tanzania because rot or insects had gotten to them. Mangoes and tomatoes, sweet potatoes and cassava—staples in many Tanzanian homes—were going bad before they even reached consumers. It was a normal sight, but it saddened Mjawa, who had a background in nutrition and hated to see precious calories and nutrients going to waste. Read the rest of Special Reporting Initiative Fellow Rachel Cernansky’s piece on food waste in Sub-Saharan...

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