November 6, 2017

Big Ideas and Emerging Innovations

A Kenyan farmer sends a text message to enquire about the latest maize prices from her maize field in Thigio. REUTERS/Antony Njuguna

Africa: Impending Drought? There's an App for That—or Should Be
According to the UN Convention to Combat Desertification, adopting smart tech strategies would help Africa to address the drought challenges in many ways from analyzing drought risk to monitoring and predicting the intensity of an upcoming drought, depending on the action strategy and the technology and its application.

Organic or Starve: Can Cuba's New Farming Model Provide Food Security?
There is a new organic farming movement in Cuba that seeks to provide a model solving food scarcity. Rather than a reaction to a crisis, the current push into organics is planned and promoted on the ruins of the industrial sugar economy. Much of the push towards small scale organic farming stems from a 2002 program that provided new farmers with resources and education.

On the Farm, Investors Get Their Hands Dirty
There is a new trend of investing in sustainable farming practices like debt and equity ventures that require smaller contributions to farms and land that cost millions of dollars. Amazon’s recent purchase of Whole Foods, which is likely to drive up organic food purchases, could draw more interest from investors. Clean sustainable agriculture has shown to be a top area for people to increase their investments year to year.

Want to Know When Ebola Will Strike Next? Look to the Forest
Researchers are suggesting that Ebola outbreaks tend to occur two years after forests have been cut down or cleared in West and Central Africa. Africa’s tropical forests are being lost to industrial agriculture, logging, urbanization, and more. Ebola outbreaks may increase in the coming decades as humans continue to penetrate deeper into Africa’s remaining forests.

How Wood Got in Our Food, Then Out of It, Then Back into It Again
The story of edible (or less-than-edible) wood is the story of food regulation in a nutshell. In the 1700s, millers started adding sawdust to flour for a cheaper product. Eventually, increasing government inspections and consumer demand gave rise to companies that promoted unadulterated food. But today, manufactures can add cellulose, a wood sourced fiber, to various food products.

Can Religions Help in the Fight against Climate Change?
Many of the world’s religions consider nature sacred, and religious leaders have increasingly come out in favor of protecting it. Experts say religions can fill in the gaps where facts and politics have failed. Faith groups are increasingly looking to actively invest in projects that protect the planet, such as renewable energy, sustainable agriculture, or forest protection.


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.