Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Food Waste : Writing On The Wall Just Got Bigger

This week began with some exciting news :the UN just fed some world leaders trash and that it was great.


Ok, here is how it happened: In New York, Ban-ki-Moon , the UN Secretary General, hosted for 30 of his guests  - comprising presidents, prime ministers and royals - a lunch that was made of  food waste.

In plain words, each dish of each course on the menu - from appetizer to dessert - was made of material that was considered waste and would have ended in a trash bin.

The salad on the lunch was made from unwanted vegetable scraps, stalks and outer leaves salvaged from the waste of big food producers.

There were burgers and fries and these were made of thrown away vegetables including ends of cucumber thrown out by pickle makers. They also used 'cow corn' - corn that are considered too hard for human consumption and so are fed to cows instead.

That is not all. The bread on the lunch table was baked from

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Indian Women Adapting to Climate Change: 10 Photos You Will Like

At least 80% of my stories are on rural communities. I go to faraway hills, nomad hamlets and fishing villages and, I am always searching for signs where women in these most unheard communities are using technology for a better life. What I find is always amazing:  women, most of them with little or no education, are using technology to fight for their rights, health, freedom and an improved livelihood. Below are 10 photos of how women in villages are using technology to adapt to climate change.

Tracking the weather

 As the climate becomes more erratic every passing day, rural communities are finding it increasingly tough to rely on their traditional knowledge of weather. So, they are now learning to monitor it. In this photo, taken in Medak district of southern India, women of a village are using a mini weather station. Here, they track the movement of wind, cloud and measure temperature and rainfall - everything that will later help them plan their farming activities.
 Using mobile phone technology

 Mobile phones are immensely popular in India. But these women are using mobile phones  in the smartest way possible: sharing information on weather, availability of seeds, fertilizer, soil testing facilities and so on.

Wednesday, September 02, 2015

Water water everywhere: Not a farmer to spot!

I just returned from the World Water Week in Stockholm, the Swedish capital.

Organized by the Stockholm International Water Institute (SIWI), the week-long event was focusing on Water and it's intricate and crucial link to development worldwide. It was, as I learned, the 25th year of the event.
The Prime Minister of Sweden addressing the participants at the inaugural session of the World Water Week.

As you would expect in a global event like this, there were participants from different walks of development and water: scientists, finance experts, engineers, political leaders and activists and media personnel like me. There were talks of innovation, technology, finance, aid, collaboration, policy, regulation, transparency and so on. We also heard some country heads talk about some of the burning issues of our time: climate change, disasters, conflict and the migrant influx.

But there was something crucial that was missing: the voice of the farmer. And it came as a surprise - of a rather shocking nature. After all, this was an event discussing water and it's role in the world's development, especially the Sustainable Development Goals which are soon to replace the Millennium Development Goals.

Food production and food security are always the key to  a sustainable world. And everyone was talking of this - except the food grower himself. Irony much?