Information Analysis

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480. Food System for the Global Environment and the Health of 10 Billion People

Today, one out of every ten people in the world suffers from hunger, while diseases associated with obesity and overweight have become widespread due to the spread of diets rich in animal products and fats. The food system that supports these dietary habits lacks agricultural diversity and is considered to be the biggest cause of biodiversity loss, and is also involved in climate change through emissions equivalent to one third of anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions. In recent years, a growing global awareness of the need to rethink our food system has led to the visualization of the health, environmental, and economic costs of food, with the aim of encouraging behavioral change and innovation toward healthier diets for the planet and humanity.
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479. World Bank Report on Vietnam’s Economic Growth ― Addressing Climate Change Can’t Wait

Asia is one of the most vulnerable regions to the impacts of climate change. In a country like Vietnam, climate change will cause economic and financial damage by hitting the agricultural sector, which is the key to food security and an export industry. There is a need to assess the risks of climate change and take appropriate adaptation and mitigation measures. The report “No Time to Waste: The challenges and opportunities of cleaner trade for Vietnam”, which was published by the World Bank in January 2022, summarizes the economic outlook and impacts of climate change in Vietnam.
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478. Technology Development for Stable Agricultural Production under Adverse Environment and Changing Climate Conditions

In Africa and other developing regions, it is known that environmental factors such as low soil fertility and drought, as well as biological factors such as pests and diseases, stress the growth and development of plants and prevent the full potential of agriculture from being realized. In order to develop technologies for stable agricultural production under adverse environment and climate change, we published a review in JARQ summarizing three projects conducted at JIRCAS from FY2016-2020.
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477. Systematic Review of Nutrition-sensitive Agriculture

Improving nutrition is a challenge that cuts across many sectors. A review paper on nutrition-sensitive agriculture (NSA), published in Global Food Security, summarizes what works, what doesn’t work, and how it can be implemented and scaled-up in low- and middle-income countries.
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476. February 10th is "World Pulses Day"

The FAO has released "Crops and climate change impact briefs". It includes a chapter on cowpea, which describes sustainable and resilient cowpea production systems through climate-smart agriculture (CSA) and approaches to climate change adaptation and mitigation. In addition, it also discusses the contribution of these practices to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

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475. Development of Sustainable Technologies to Increase Agricultural Productivity and Improve Food Security in Africa

In Sub-Saharan Africa, where one in four people is reported to be malnourished and the population is expected to double by 2050, achieving food security in terms of both quantity and quality has become an urgent issue. A review paper published in JARQ summarizes the "Food Security in Africa" project conducted by JIRCAS from 2016 to 2020.

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474. JIRCAS Joint Research Output: Book on Analysis of Production and Consumption Trends of Japonica Rice in China

JIRCAS, in collaboration with universities and research institutes in China, has long been collecting and analyzing valuable information for the formation of a healthy industrial market for rice, the most important grain for China. The result of the joint research, an academic book “High-quality Rice - An empirical analysis of Chinese Rice in the consumption upgrade era”, has now been published locally in Chinese.
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473. Global Ocean Warming and its Impact

Although the melting of glaciers in the Arctic and Antarctic is the focus of much attention in the news related to climate change, the rise of ocean heat waves due to global warming will have a major impact on tropical and subtropical regions as well. A paper published in PLOS CLIMATE on February 1 points out that the increasing frequency of extreme marine heat is becoming the new normal. Another paper published in the same issue also warns that a temperature increase of 1.5℃ could put nearly all of the world's coral reefs at risk.
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472. Food Price Trends for January 2022

On February 3, 2022, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) announced that that the Food Price Index averaged 135.7 points in January, and increased by 1.5 points (1.1%) compared to December 2021. The increase appears to reflect a price spike mainly due to supply constraints in major vegetable oil producing countries.

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471. Research and the Global Spread of Soybean Production

Soybean, a familiar food to Japanese people, was mainly a food crop limited to East Asia until the early 20th century. However, in the 20th century, soybean production spread throughout the world as an oilseed crop and fodder crop, and in the latter half of the 20th century, its production expanded rapidly. This expansion of soybean production areas is due to the efforts of agricultural researchers to develop varieties and cultivation techniques. JIRCAS has been conducting research on overseas soybean production for a long time, aiming to contribute to the food security of Japan and the world.
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470. Potential Impact of Glacial Melting on Ecosystems and Agricultural Infrastructure

The melting of icebergs seems to be progressing steadily in Antarctica and the Arctic. The melting of icebergs releases large amounts of fresh water, which, depending on the extent of melting, can have a significant impact on the physical and biological properties of the surrounding oceans. If climatic conditions such as accelerated glacial melting interfere with the maintenance of the storage facility, it could threaten the very basis of agriculture based on crop diversity.

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469. Multidimensional Poverty Index in Rural Areas

The world's poor are concentrated in rural areas, and there are differences in the quality of urban and rural poverty that cannot be captured by common indicators. In January 2022, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative (OPHI) released a joint report on the framework for measuring multidimensional poverty in rural areas.
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468. Climate Change Adaptation Measures in Asia ―Economic Evaluation of Adaptation Measures for Rice Production in Vietnam

Asia is one of the most vulnerable regions to the impacts of climate change. A book published in January 2022 by the Global and Local Environmental Co-Creation Organization (GLEC) of Ibaraki University summarizes lessons learned on agriculture, disaster management, and resource management for climate change adaptation. A chapter in the book with a co-author from JIRCAS, presents an economic evaluation of adaptation measures in Vietnam and discusses the transformation of the agricultural system.
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467. SDGs Progress on Agriculture and Food

The stability and sustainability of the food system is linked to the achievement of many of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Today’s Pick up introduces the FAO report "Tracking progress on food and agriculture-related SDG indicators 2021", which summarizes the progress of food and agriculture-related indicators of the SDGs.
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466. Make or Break Year for the Biodiversity Agenda

An editorial in Nature on January 19 pointed out that biodiversity conservation has failed in the past because of inadequate governance, and emphasized the need for experts who understand people's organizational behavior and administration to work hand in hand with biology and conservation experts to implement biodiversity targets. 
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465. Water Resources and Impact of Disasters in Tonga

The Kingdom of Tonga (hereinafter referred to as Tonga), which experienced a volcanic eruption on January 15, is an island nation with a population of about 100,000, consisting of about 170 islands and four archipelagos. The remote islands of Tonga are vulnerable to flooding due to extreme weather conditions, and with the exception of a few islands, there are no rivers or lakes. Therefore, water resources basically depend on natural resources, and during the dry season and drought, fresh groundwater including "fresh groundwater lenses" becomes an important water resource. The water resources of small islands are expected to become saline due to the rise in sea level caused by global warming, and are also susceptible to the increase in water withdrawal and decrease in recharge due to drought, etc. Therefore, there is a need to develop technologies for their conservation.
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464. Revealing Various Physiological Traits of Useful Trees Using a Large Database

The Japanese cedar (Cryptomeria japonica) and Japanese cypress (Chamaecyparis obtusa) are important timber species, accounting for the majority of planted forests in Japan. Although cedar is considered to be endemic to Japan, it is also used as a timber resource in subtropical regions such as India and Taiwan. In a study published in the international journal PLOS ONE, we compared various physiological and ecological traits of Japanese cedar and Japanese cypress using a large database of literature published over the past 70 years. Such a database can be used to make better predictions of climate change impacts on forest ecosystems and to develop more climate-resilient forest management practices. A similar database is urgently needed for tropical trees.

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463. Impact of COVID-19

It has been two years since COVID-19 began to spread around the world, and its impact has been not only on human health, but also on the global scale through economic crises and widening social disparities. An article published in Nature refers to a study pointing out that the actual number of people killed by the pandemic may be much larger, and conveys the efforts of experts who are trying to determine the scale of human suffering caused by COVID-19, pointing out issues with the estimation method.
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462. Creating Sustainable Industry through Value-adding Technologies for the Vast Unused Biomass from Oil Palm Plantations

JIRCAS, in collaboration with IHI Corporation, Panasonic Corporation and other institutions, is working on the "SATREPS Palm Trunk Project", to reduce the environmental burden and create a sustainable industry through the use of value-adding technologies to oil palm trunks (OPT), which are disposed in large quantities during the palm oil production process mainly in Southeast Asia, including Indonesia and Malaysia. The efforts of JIRCAS were featured in the Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun on January 11, 2022.
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461. Improving Global and Human Health via Dietary Changes in High-income Countries

A paper published in Nature Food in January 2022 pointed out that a bold shift from animal-based foods to plant-based foods in high-income countries could simultaneously achieve multiple climate change and environmental conservation goals. On the other hand, if it is not realistic in the short term to achieve a rapid dietary shift even in high-income countries, changing the mindset of individual consumers and gradually taking action seems to be effective enough.