Abstract: Although Australia exports more than half of its agricultural production, there are food security problems as the current food supply systems in Australia fail to deliver healthy diets to all Australians and fail to protect the natural resources on which they depend. In addition, the food systems create “collateral damage” to the natural environment including biodiversity loss. In coming decades, Australia’s food supply systems will be increasingly challenged by resource price inflation and falling yields due to climate change. Government and business are aiming to increase production and agricultural exports. This will increase pressure on agricultural resources and exacerbate “collateral” damage to the environment. The Australian public has an ongoing interest in issues associated with the food systems including the environment, education, health and sustainability. A health-giving diet is essential for a full life and over a life-time people need food security. Currently economy development and social planning is undertaken through the pragmatic application of a set of ideas, such as relying on markets and deregulation, collectively referred to as neoliberalism. This paper contends that the neoliberal approach is not solving the current and developing problems in food security and agriculture more generally and suggests that more emphasis should be given to alternatives approaches. Seven alternatives approaches are suggested that could be used to identify gaps and guide the creation of overarching goals in economic development and social planning to improve food security and secure the other material goods and social arrangements that all Australians require to live full lives. However, changing large systems such as those involved in food supply is difficult because vested interests in the existing arrangements make the current systems resilient to change. There are a range of leverage points that have differing abilities to change systems. The paper points out that goals and information flows are good leverage points and suggests establishing overarching goals for the systems relevant to food and restructuring the flow of information about these systems will help reform the food supply systems in Australia.
Abstract: The objective of this work was to evaluate some of the important physical and mechanical properties of particleboard panels manufactured from three different cultivars of date palm (Phoenix dactylifera) fronds, namely Saqui, Barhi and Sukkari. Experimental panels were manufactured from hot water extracted and non-extracted, and fine and coarse particles of the raw material under two target panel densities of 650 and 750 kg/m3. Bending properties and internal bond strength, along with dimensional stability in the form of thickness swelling, water absorption, and linear expansion of the samples was tested. Based on the findings of this work, panels manufactured from high density level and Saqie cultivar, as well as fine particles, had better performance for their mechanical properties. The effect of hot water-treatment had less robust mechanical and physical properties. It appears that date palm fronds are underutilized resources that have the potential to be used in the manufacture of value-added panel products.
Abstract: Half of Bosnia and Herzegovina’s (BH) population lives in rural areas. Agricultural production is a backbone of the rural economy and generates significant economic value for the country. BH is highly vulnerable to climate change, which poses a significant development challenge given the climate-sensitivity of the agricultural sector, the share of agriculture in the total economy, the number of people employed in the sector, and the closely related socio-economic issues of food security. BH has experienced serious incidences of extreme weather events over the past two decades, causing severe economic losses. Based on available data and currently available climate projections, exposure to threats from climate change will continue to increase. The review paper presents the current state of the BH agricultural sector and the impact of potential climate change on agricultural systems. It proposes policy options to optimize opportunities and mitigate consequences of possible climate change in the agricultural sector. Development of policy and research capacity should include harmonisation and centralisation of domestic agricultural policies, carrying out a vulnerability assessment and strengthening the public and private extension systems. Further technological development should include improvements in weather and climate information systems, crop development, irrigation and water management.
Abstract: Listeria monocytogenes contamination of cantaloupes has become a serious concern as contaminated cantaloupes led to a deadly outbreak in the United States in 2011. To reduce cross-contamination between cantaloupes and to reduce resident populations on contaminated melons, application of sanitizers in packing shed wash water is recommended. The sanitizing agent of 5% levulinic acid and 2% sodium dodecyl sulfate (SDS) applied as a single hurdle in either a simulated dump or dip treatment significantly reduced L. monocytogenes to lower levels at the stem scar compared to a simulated dump treatment employing 200 ppm chlorine; however pathogen reductions on the rind tissue were not significantly different. Double hurdle approaches employing two sequential packing plant treatments with different sanitizers revealed decreased reduction of L. monocytogenes at the stem scar. In contrast, application of sanitizers both in the field and at the packing plant led to greater L. monocytogenes population reductions than if sanitizers were only applied at the packing plant.
Abstract: Excessive salt rate can adversely influence the physical, chemical, and biological properties of soils, mainly in arid and semi-arid world regions. Therefore, salt-affected soils must be reclaimed to maintain satisfactory fertility levels for increasing food production. Different approaches have been suggested to solve these issues. This short review focuses on selected studies that have identified organic materials (e.g., farmyard manures, different agro-industrial by-products, and composts) as effective tools to improve different soil properties (e.g., structural stability and permeability) in salt-affected soils. Organic fertilization is highly sustainable when compared to other options to date when taken into consideration as a solution to the highlighted issues. However, further experimental investigations are needed to validate this approach in a wider range of both saline and sodic soils, also combining waste recycling with other sustainable agronomic practices (crop rotations, cover crops use, etc.).
Abstract: Food production in 2050 will be sufficient, globally, but many of the poor will remain food insecure. The primary cause of food insecurity will continue to be poverty, rather than inadequate food production. Thus, policies and investments that increase the incomes of the poor will remain the best ways to extend food security to all. Investments that promote growth in sustainable agriculture and provide non-farm employment opportunities in rural areas of lower income countries will be most helpful. There will be sufficient water, globally, to achieve food production goals and sustain rural and urban livelihoods, if we allocate and manage the resource wisely. Yet, water shortages will constrain agricultural production and limit incomes and livelihood opportunities in many areas. Policies and investments are needed to extend and ensure access to water for household use and agricultural production. Challenges requiring the attention of policy makers and investors include increasing urbanization and increasing demands for land and water resources. Policy makers must ensure that farmers retain access to the water they need for producing food and sustaining livelihoods, and they must create greater opportunities for women in agriculture. They must also motivate investments in new technologies that will enhance crop and livestock production, particularly for smallholders, and encourage the private sector to invest in activities that create employment opportunities in rural areas.