Gulf Countries Look to Farm Abroad as Aquifer Dries Up

Turning sand into soil has long been a fantasy for many desert-dwelling peoples, and for much of the past few decades, many countries have worked hard to make it a reality. Now, these bids to green the desert have begun to flounder amid a desperate water crisis, forcing the nations to look elsewhere for food security.

For a while, agriculture in the Gulf states seemed like a dream come true: Saudi Arabia’s wheat output rose from 148,000 tons in 1981 to over four million tons by the mid-1990s as farmers carved out over three million new acres of cultivable land from the arid interior. Intent on maintaining ...

Chicken Farms Another Casualty of ISIS Takeover in Iraq

On returning home after a year hiding in the mountains, Ahmed Hussein Hamad had braced himself for the worst.

ISIS had occupied his village and appropriated his house after a lightning summer surge in 2014. Neighbors warned that their district—in an isolated agricultural swathe of northern Iraq—had been badly battered as Kurdish forces later fought to drive the jihadists (also known as ISIL or the Islamic State) out of the area.

What he hadn’t anticipated, though, was the complete evisceration of the family chicken farm, through which he and several generations before him had supplied surrounding villages with eggs and fowl.

Both barns—each ...

Confectionery Conspiracy? Nutella and the Hazelnut Shortage

2015 is shaping up to be a very forgettable year for Ferrero’s Nutella empire.

The death of the Italian firm’s legendary owner Michele Ferrero in February prompted concern about its ability to keep churning out innovative new concoctions.

And in June, French politician Ségolène Royal's call for a boycott of the much-loved chocolate hazelnut spread, after decrying the environmental consequences of its palm oil, ensnared the company in an unwanted diplomatic spat.

None of this, however, compares to the drama posed by continued hikes in the price of the raw materials on which the brand relies for its celebrated ultra-sugary products.

Consecutive harsh winters in Turkey’s far east, which produces around 75 percent of the world’s hazelnuts, have sharply cut supply. Deprived of ...

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