June 30, 2014

Big Ideas and Emerging Innovations

(Indian milkmen sit on top of a truck with milk containers in New Delhi. REUTERS/Kamal Kishore)

Saving Milk from Spoilage in Rural India
India is the world’s largest milk producer and consumer, yet a significant proportion of dairy goes to waste because of poor refrigeration and electricity. But a new thermal battery has helped create a Rapid Milk Chiller, which combines software and reconfigurable hardware to eliminate waste, drive up nutritional standards, and improve the livelihoods of dairy farmers.

Smart Sensors in Rwanda Warn Engineers in Oregon When Water Pumps Fail
Tens of thousands of water pumps are installed every year in Africa and other places, but 30% to 80% fail in their first couple years and often never get repaired. New sensor technology could improve pumps by using cell phone signals to transmit pump performance data to an online dashboard and sending text messages and emails to alert maintenance teams to problems.

How We Can Tame Overlooked Wild Plants to Feed the World
We need new crops. Breeding and genetic modification have made the crops we sow predictable, but they are also vulnerable. Humans rely on fewer than 150 plants for nourishment, and just three crops make up more than two-thirds of the world's calories. Those crops aren't suited to a changing world. That's the appeal of domesticating a new set of plants.

Drones at Work: Farmers Take Flight Into the Future
Big tech companies such as Amazon, Facebook, and Google may have made headlines for their recent forays into drones—but drones are already being used in agriculture. Drone features include GPS controls, stabilizers so the drone can fly in high winds, and a live camera feed so the farmer on the ground can inspect his fields in real time.


The Global Food and Agriculture Program aims to inform the development of US policy on global agricultural development and food security by raising awareness and providing resources, information, and policy analysis to the US Administration, Congress, and interested experts and organizations.

The Global Food and Agriculture Program is housed within the Chicago Council on Global Affairs, an independent, nonpartisan organization that provides insight – and influences the public discourse – on critical global issues. The Council on Global Affairs convenes leading global voices and conducts independent research to bring clarity and offer solutions to challenges and opportunities across the globe. The Council is committed to engaging the public and raising global awareness of issues that transcend borders and transform how people, business, and governments engage the world.

Support for the Global Food and Agriculture Program is generously provided by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.


1,000 Days Blog, 1,000 Days

Africa Can End Poverty, World Bank

Agrilinks Blog

Bread Blog, Bread for the World

Can We Feed the World Blog, Agriculture for Impact

Concern Blogs, Concern Worldwide

Institute Insights, Bread for the World Institute

End Poverty in South Asia, World Bank

Global Development Blog, Center for Global Development

The Global Food Banking Network

Harvest 2050, Global Harvest Initiative

The Hunger and Undernutrition Blog, Humanitas Global Development

International Food Policy Research Institute News, IFPRI

International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center Blog, CIMMYT

ONE Blog, ONE Campaign

One Acre Fund Blog, One Acre Fund

Overseas Development Institute Blog, Overseas Development Institute

Oxfam America Blog, Oxfam America

Preventing Postharvest Loss, ADM Institute

Sense & Sustainability Blog, Sense & Sustainability

WFP USA Blog, World Food Program USA