Female farmers suffer most in Southern Africa drought

Al Jazeera

Southern Africa has suffered through one of the worst droughts in decades and now small farmers face a long hungry season with growing food aid needs until the next harvest. Given the growing uncertainty of rainfall in this region, many are turning to irrigation as a key strategy for securing future harvests. The problem, however, is that male and female farmers have deeply unequal rights to critical resources, including water. Uneven access to water also complicates assumptions about the ability of commercial farming to deliver household food security in the African context. The 2015-16 drought was the worst to hit Southern Africa in 35 years, leaving an estimated 32 million people in the region food insecure.


Dow fails to warn Californians when pesticide Telone is used, lawsuit alleges

Los Angeles Times

Chemical manufacturing giant Dow fails to warn people in farming communities throughout California when a potentially dangerous pesticide is applied to nearby fields, health advocates alleged in a lawsuit filed Tuesday. Telone is among the most commonly used pesticides in California -- applied to strawberry fields, almond orchards, vineyards and other crops. The chemical kills pests in the soil and dissipates before crops are planted, so health advocates say harmful residue is not found in food. Rather, they say, the fumes released when it is first applied can potentially cause health issues. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency says the chemical can cause cancer when inhaled over long periods.


Four in 10 UC students do not have a consistent source of high-quality, nutritious food, survey says

Los Angeles Times

University of California President Janet Napolitano Monday announced a 3.3-million effort to expand the fight against campus malnutrition as a new survey found that four in 10 UC students do not have a consistent source of high-quality, nutritious food. The startling results from the survey of nearly 9,000 students, believed to be the nation's largest look ever at campus food security, found that 19% of respondents went hungry at times. An additional 23% were able to eat but lacked steady access to a good-quality, varied and nutritious diet. UC Irvine student Chris Tafoya has experienced both types of food insecurity. On his worst days, the 20-year-old Los Angeles native said he would simply go to sleep early to quiet the hunger pangs.


Your L.A. farmers market-driven drought update

Los Angeles Times

The news came via Instagram, as much of the news does these days. "Dear Valued Customers," the text read, " Due to Stage III drought conditions I have been mandated to cut my water use by 42%." In black typeface against a white square background, Romeo Coleman who, along with his father Bill and mother Delia, runs Coleman Family Farms in Carpinteria and Oak View, spelled out an all-too-common scenario for Southern California farmers: As we adapt to the drought, consumers need to brace for higher prices and reduced harvests. Four years in, the drought has become a new normal for many farmers, but August is when the dry season peaks in Southern California and farmers are feeling the heat. Across the jigsaw puzzle that is California water districts, water woes range from crippling allocations in Kern County to mandatory reductions across Ventura County.


Street clashes and election protests in Congo kill more than 44, Human Rights Watch says

Los Angeles Times

More than 44 people have been killed in Congo in two days of street clashes between security forces and protesters angered over a delayed presidential election, a senior Human Rights Watch researcher said Tuesday. Police said more than 100 people have been arrested in the unrest. Thousands took to the streets of Congo's capital, Kinshasa, on Monday to oppose an election delay which they call an effort by President Joseph Kabila to stay in power beyond the end of his mandate in late December. In a statement released Wednesday night, Kabila's office said he was "profoundly touched by these sad events" and expressed condolences to the families of those killed. A high court has determined Kabila can stay in office until a new leader is elected.