September 25, 2017

Big Ideas and Emerging Innovations

A scientist displays a young cassava plant at the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) laboratories in Seibersdorf, some 50 kilometres (some 31 miles) southeast of Vienna. REUTERS/Herwig Prammer

FFAR Joins $45M Project to Boost Crop Yields through Photosynthesis
The Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research has joined the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the UK Department for International Development in contributing to a $45 million grant to the University of Illinois for the Realizing Increased Photosynthetic Efficiency project. The project aims to harness plants’ photosynthesis process to increase output in food crops including soybeans, cassava, and cowpeas, easing food insecurity around the world.

In the Future, the World Could Face a Massive Food Shortage. One Accelerator Plans to Change That
Agricultural productivity must increase by 60 percent by 2050 to meet the world's food demands—and that increase in production must also happen in an environmentally sustainable system. The Yield Lab, a St. Louis-based accelerator that invests $100,000 in six to eight agricultural technology companies per year, invests in tech that will help farmers feed more people and do that in a sustainable way.

Scientists Work to Grow Food in Space
When NASA astronauts are sent into space for a long journey—like to Mars—they probably won't be able to bring everything they need for survival with them, like enough food and water to survive for months or even years. The director of the Controlled Environment Agriculture Center at the University of Arizona has worked with NASA to develop a kind of greenhouse so astronauts can grow crops while in space.

Cities Turn to Other Cities for Help Fighting Climate Change
The C40 Cities Climate Leadership group has announced plans for a leadership team to prepare and share detailed climate roadmaps for city leaders to mitigate global warming. The real problem, though, will be knowing if any cities are getting it right. All the pledges and coalitions in the world don’t matter if cities don’t know what they need to do, or can’t do it.

Startups Are Leading to Vital Changes in India's Farm Sector
By 2020, around 315 million Indians living in rural areas will be connected to the internet in the future, as compared with about 120 million now. As nearly 70 percent of rural households still depend primarily on agriculture for their livelihood, farmers are forming a very significant chunk of this population now accessing the internet in rural areas.

Sheep Gene Insights Could Help Farmers Breed Healthier Animals
Fresh insights into the genetic code of sheep could aid breeding programs to improve their health and productivity. Scientists have now mapped which genes are turned on and off in the different tissues and organs in a sheep's body, including insight into the function of genes linked to immunity and meat quality.


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


| By Millicent Yeboah-Awudzi

Next Generation 2018 - Dreams of Change

Our 12th post in the Next Generation blog series is by Millicent Yeboah-Awudzi, PhD candidate in applied plant science at Louisiana State University.