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Global Agricultural Experts Meet For FANRPAN Regional Conference

More than 200 agricultural experts from around the world are meeting in Windhoek, Namibia, for the Food, Agriculture and Natural Resources Policy Analysis Network’s (FANRPAN) regional conference, New Era/allAfrica.com reports (Sasman, 8/31).

The meeting will “address African priorities on food security and climate change and its impacts on agricultural development, natural resource management and rural livelihoods,” according to a FANRPRAN press release (undated).

The week-long meeting will also examine Southern African Development Community (SADC) member states’ commitment to allocate 10 percent of their national budgets to the development of the agricultural sector, New Era/allAfrica.com writes.

“So far, two countries – Malawi (at 14 percent) and Zimbabwe – have reached that target,” according to FANRPAN CEO Lindiwe Majele Sibanda. She pointed out that more than 90 percent of SADC countries were spending an average of 3 percent of their budgets on agriculture when they made that commitment.

“Other issues to be discussed [at the meeting] are the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), sustainable resource management of water, soil and biodiversity,” the news service reports (8/31).

FAO Reduces Russian Wheat Production Forecast

“The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization [FAO] has slashed its wheat-output estimate for drought-hit Russia by 10% and has raised its export estimates for the U.S. by 43%, a senior FAO official said Wednesday,” the Wall Street Journal reports.

“The organization’s forecast underscores concerns that Russian wheat output will drop sharply following the worst drought in the country’s history, which is supporting wheat prices and altering grain trade flows, although higher U.S. exports could mitigate some of the impact,” the newspaper writes (Mohindru, 9/1).

“Russia’s drought wiped out grain crops across 27 percent of the planted area this year, the agriculture ministry said Aug. 27. The country has banned grain exports until the end of the year to curb domestic prices,” according to Bloomberg Businessweek.

“Wheat markets remain tight but supplies are adequate,” the FAO said. “Among the major cereals, wheat accounts for most of the cut in this latest forecast.” The organization also said that flooding in Pakistan and a drought in the Philippines cut rice harvests, which contributed to a rise in food prices (Ruitenberg/Javier, 9/1).

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