Small Farmers Are Important for Future Food Security and Sustainable Food Production

It is generally assumed that “big is best” because of the financial savings that can be made from economies of scale, and this has been one of the drivers of the trend to large-scale farming.

There is, however, a growing body of opinion that the reverse is true and that food security, diversity and sustainable agriculture may be better achieved by supporting the world’s small and family farmers.

According to the US campaigning organisation foodfirst.org large-scale agriculture tends to focus on monocultures because they are the simplest to manage with heavy machinery.

The UK’s Foresight Project and foodfirst.org both argue that small-scale farming is likely to be more diverse, more flexible and more environmentally friendly.

It is probably no coincidence that large-scale operations are referred to as agribusiness, with all this implies about the importance about making a profit for shareholders and also growing what is likely to produce the highest returns, such as the current shift in agriculture to producing biofuels.

The UK farming periodical Farmers Weekly recently published an article arguing that large-scale agriculture represented a threat to small farmers who are already struggling to make a living. Smallholder and family farming is the dominant form of food production throughout the major developing regions of the world, particularly in Africa and Asia. It is also widespread throughout the developed world.

According to the most recent World Bank report, more and more people are being pushed into extreme poverty by rising food prices. It said that food prices had risen by 36% since April 2010 and predicted that up to ten million more people could fall below the extreme poverty threshold of less than 76p per day in the next few months. That is in addition to the extra 44 million people who have been pushed into food poverty during the last year.

The pressure on farmers to produce more to meet the needs of a growing global population is therefore intensifying and it makes sense to make the best use of all the sources of food production on the planet, large and small.

While small farms are likely to plant mixtures of crops, to use techniques like intercropping and to rotate crops and livestock, with manure serving to replenish soil fertility, they will nevertheless need some support if they are to increase their production.

It is in the areas of access to new agricultural technology, such as low-chem biopesticides, biofungicides and yield enhancers, and to training in their use, where small farmers could most benefit.

Such products are derived largely from naturally occurring sources and would fit well into the mix of existing sustainable small farming methods and techniques to enhance yield and reduce crop loss from disease and damage.

But they are expensive to research, trial and license and therefore need strong support from governments, including perhaps financial subsidies, if they are to be affordable for the smaller producers.

Each small increase in production can only help towards ensuring that there are adequate food supplies for the future, but also there is evidence that small farms producing for local markets increase local prosperity, food security and promote better social cohesion.

Copyright (c) 2011 Alison Withers

Waste Management Software for the Food Industry

Effective waste management in food industry is the key to controlling the costs and keeping the ROI high. The process starts with tracking the food waste streams, identifying the areas of improvement and formulating an effective waste management strategy. However, since tracking the food waste streams can be very time consuming, it’s often overlooked. Waste management software can be an extremely helpful tool for this process.

Features of a Food Manufacturing Waste Management Software

There are numerous and different types of waste management software available in the market today; however, only some qualify to be relied upon. Good waste management software will provide you accurate information and allow you to be more productive in lesser amount of time. Following is a list of key features of a food manufacturing waste management software and some key considerations you should pay attention to before buying one:

  • Identify and differentiate between different types of waste – Top 5 types of waste in a food manufacturing unit are – Wrap area, Make-up area, Oven area, Mixing Area, and Other.
  • Identify waste by production line – In case the facility has more than 1 production line, this function will allow you to identify which line is being most productive and which is the least.
  • Identify waste by shift – The ability to set different shift timings allows you to identify how much each shift is contributing towards a particular waste type.
  • Identify waste trends over a period of time – The ability to modify date and time parameters to generate different sorts of reports is critical for a thorough and quick analysis of the waste streams and waste lines.
  • Manage Hauling – It must track the waste stream data from manufacturing line to disposal.
  • Levels of access – It must offer different levels of access to the floor operator as well as the management team. This will allow floor operators and managers alike to be proactive about making a conscious effort towards meeting the long term waste reduction goals.
  • Hardware – Most waste management software come with their own specialized hardware. You should ask upfront about the additional costs associated with the hardware, if any.
  • Initial implementation cost – Ideally the initial implementation costs should be a part of the software price.

Sustainability

Proper tracking and reporting of manufacturing waste help any food processing organization with the easy access to the critical data that they require to identify potential opportunities for reducing manufacturing costs. Reduced manufacturing costs allow you to produce the same product using lesser resources and thus giving you the advantage over your competition and helping you achieve higher levels of sustainability. Lesser waste would also contribute towards higher employee morale with cleaner and safer working conditions. Start identifying your food processing waste today and save money!

Having A Food Storage Business and Storing The Food

Food storage and emergency preparedness have been shown to be important during disasters which may strike. Home based businesses are available in these areas. It is wise to be prepared, and earning money in this industry is possible.

If someone gets involved with this type of business or just decides to start a food storage program in order to be better prepared for emergencies, it is sometimes a problem as to where to store the items. If they become serious about food storage, they will find that it could require a lot of space to keep the purchased products.

Fortunate is the person who has a basement, garage, or extra room in which food and necessities may be stored. Many homes have good sized pantries or extra closets which will house much of the storage. However, for those who live in smaller apartments or who have limited space, it may be necessary to be innovative about where to put the extra items for longer term storage.

Some of the less traditional places which could be used for storing food and other items are:

• In storage containers under the beds
• In boxes on the floor in closets or any available space
• In stacked boxes, covered, and used as night stands
• In cupboards and cabinets which have extra space
• On closet shelves (if items are light such as toilet paper)

Because most food storage items are generally quite heavy, they are usually better kept on lower shelves or on the floor of closets or other rooms. People with extra closets may find that lots of storage items will fit if stacked neatly in a corner or side of the closet.

Food storage is meant to be used regularly and rotated so it should be accessible. If it can never be reached, it will never be used. Using the products on a regular basis helps the family become used to the food as they may be a little different than their normal food which they eat everyday.

Some home based businesses such as network marketing (MLM or multi-level marketing) now have food storage and emergency preparedness as their product lines. These companies often sell storage items such as shelf units which are effective methods for storing the items they sell.

Becoming involved in these home based businesses can help a person earn extra money as well as become better prepared. Although both men and women are involved in these companies, they often use the party plan method of recruiting consultants and customers which makes it more appealing to women. Many people are finding great success in these businesses as they help themselves and others to be better prepared for emergencies and for life in general.

Free Samples – How to Get Free Food Products

Over the years, the prices for grocery items have been increasing, leaving everyone with their pockets empty. Many people have tried cutting back on the amount they pay for grocery items every day by buying cheaper products or lowering their daily consumption rates. Although this might help your budget for a while, starving isn’t the right thing to do when talking about you or your family. The real solution to this problem, more and more people are facing all over the world, is ordering free samples. In the next few lines you will be able to read the benefits of ordering free food samples and also why they have become so popular amongst budget savers.

Generally, one could get free food samples by going to their local grocery store and walking through the aisles in search for them. Local restaurants and supermarkets are also just a few opportunities for saving up on your budget. Although this might be a convenient way for getting some free food, you are being limited on the type and the amount of food you can receive. Few people know that the Internet is crowded with many companies that give out free food samples for other people to try.

Firstly, some of you might ask themselves why would companies give away samples of their products for free. Actually, giving away free samples has been considered to be one of the best marketing techniques out there, being a great tool for any company willing to invest some of their budgets into attracting potential customers to their products. There is a large variety of food samples available on the Internet, giving you endless possibilities of getting free food, thus saving up on your budget.

Amongst the most popular types of samples out there are free coupons. More and more companies such as Wal-Mart, are giving away free coupons for their products in order to attract more customers. Grocery coupons are also great opportunities for anyone willing to try out some new products for free or to simply save up on their budgets. Ordering free food samples online gives you the possibility to pick just the right product you desired. There are many other types of free food samples, ranging from free baby food to free cookies. You might also be able to find companies promoting free coffee, free drinks or even free chocolate bars.

At first, you may even be surprised by the large number of free samples available online, that is why choosing only the best of them is vital to the entire ordering process. You might find the searching process to be rather tiring and difficult, that is why you should consider searching out for freebie sites. They are already populated with the latest and most successful offers on the Internet, giving anyone the opportunity to apply for them all directly, with just a click, without paying a penny for them.

As a conclusion, ordering free food samples can be a great opportunity for anyone trying to save up on their budgets or simply for those desiring to try out some new products without paying anything for them.