Imaginary futures of food provisioning practices in peri-urban areas – Martin Ruivenkamp

Rural Sociology Wageningen University

Since a couple of months, I’m employed as postdoc researcher by the Rural Sociology Group and assigned to the project Urbanising in Place, a selected project of the Sustainable Urbanisation Global Initiative (SUGI) that is funded by the European Commission under the Horizon 2020 ERA-NET Cofund scheme. Let me introduce myself to you, but I’m interested in getting to know you too! So, please do not hesitate to contact me at

I do feel ‘at home’ at the Rural Sociology group. Surely, this might be related to the fact that I heard many good stories about Rural Sociology from people close to me… And, the work carried out by members of Rural Sociology intrigue me and motivate me to contribute to the three themes RSO focuses on: 1) the development of ecological and socially sustainable agrarian and food policies by studying the role of agricultural and rural activities, products and services…

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It’s not enough to go vegetarian to fight climate change

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Image 20150223 21911 16msn82.jpg?ixlib=rb 1.1

The face of climate evil, or just a juicy steak? (photo credit: Sheila/Flickr, CC BY-NC-ND).

Richard Eckard, University of Melbourne

Could our meat-loving Western diets push climate change over the edge? That was the message of a recent report from UK think tank Chatham House that, even if the world moves away from fossil fuels, growth in meat and dairy consumption could still take global warming beyond the safe threshold of 2C.

The report recommends shifting away from this ‘four degree’ Western diet in favour of less meat- and emissions-intensive food.

What the evidence shows is that becoming vegetarian might help reduce your personal footprint—but it will be better to focus on a range of solutions if we want to have an impact on climate change.

How much greenhouse gas do livestock produce?
The most reliable and accepted estimate is that livestock production contributes about 14.5%

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The increasing use of groundwater for irrigation poses a major threat to global food security


Photo credit: SciDevNet

Copyright: Panos

Groundwater overuse rising, could hit food prices

Speed read

  • The world has been increasingly extracting groundwater to support agriculture
  • Most of these go to rice, wheat, cotton, corn, sugar and soybean crops
  • Water use efficiency needs to be improved as also monitoring and regulation

The increasing use of groundwater for irrigation poses a major threat to global food security and could lead to unaffordable prices of staple foods. From 2000 to 2010, the amount of non-renewable groundwater used for irrigation increased by a quarter, according to an article published in Nature on March 30. During the same period China had doubled its groundwater use.

The article finds that 11 per cent of groundwater extraction for irrigation is linked to agricultural trade.

“In some regions, for example in Central California or North-West India, there is not enough precipitation or surface water available to grow crops…

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Deforestation in Nigeria (Google Alert / allAfrica)


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Google Alert for desertification


Nigeria: Rich in Oil, Dependent On Firewood

It is a paradox of note: the fact that while Nigerians live in the world’s sixth-largest oil producer, most of them still rely on wood for their fuel. Of the country’s population of over 140 million, about 70 percent live in rural areas and are directly or indirectly dependent on forest resources — especially wood — to meet their domestic energy needs, says Musa Amiebinomo of the national Department of Forestry.  This is leading to destruction of forest cover, a situation aggravated by illegal commercial logging. Figures from the 2005 ‘ State of the World’s Forests’ report by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) indicate that between 1990 and 2005, Nigeria lost 35.7 percent of…

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Fuel Wood and Desertification


Fuel Wood Consumption and Desertification in Nigeria

by Audu, E.B.
Government Secondary School, Lugbe, Along Umaru Musa Yar’adua Way, Abuja – FCT, Nigeria.
Uncontrolled population explosion especially in the developing countries, the need and struggle for survival as well as the quest for more comfort are the major causes of environmental resources depletion in the world with particular reference to Nigeria. One of the environmental resources over–exploited in Nigeria without adequate replacement
is vegetation particularly trees.
This paper seeks to look into the degree of fuel wood consumption in Nigeria using data of
the percentage (%) distribution of households by type of fuel for cooking in 2007 , areas of the desert–prone states in km2 and the population figures of the affected states
The results are presented in tables, analyzed using descriptive and comparative methods, discussed with mitigation measures suggested.
The result shows that fuel wood is there about…

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To upscale climate-smart agriculture


Photo credit: Agroforestry World

A smallholder farm in Tanzania. Photo: World Agroforestry Centre/Todd Rosenstock

Connecting research, practice and policy to upscale climate-smart agriculture

A group of women in Kamotony area in Kenya were worried that they were unable to provide food for their children in the face of climate change impacts. They would ask themselves, “Sasa sisi tutafanya nini kutoka hali hii?” What can we do to emancipate ourselves from this situation?

Their situation is not unique.  Like most smallholder farmers in developing countries, they face the challenges of food insecurity, poverty, the degradation of local land and water resources, and increasing climatic variability. These farmers rely on agriculture for food and nutrition security, and income. Climate change is a threat to this very important source of their livelihoods.

“If agricultural systems are to meet the needs of these farmers, they must evolve in ways that lead…

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It is time to use historical data to predict drought in Africa to benefit farmers


Photo credit: SciDevNet

Copyright: Petterik Wiggers / Panos

Time is ripe to predict drought to help African farmers

by Esther Ngumbi

Speed read

  • Drought is ravaging Africa, thus resulting dire need of food
  • One strategy in fighting drought is using historical data to predict the future
  • Such a strategy could help reduce drought risk and aid emergency response

The scorching heat of Kenya’s south coast is causing nightmares to many farmers. Just two months ago, after the rains arrived, Kenya’s south coast was lush with green scenery. The maize fields were thriving and the tomatoes and bell peppers were flourishing. Farmers were happy and looking forward to a bumper harvest.

Today, however, the green is gone, the maize is withered and the situation is grim.  A drought is looming.  Even the drought-tolerant crops such as Syngenta’s Kilele F1 tomato variety and amaranth greens are being affected by the extreme…

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