November 17, 2017

Big Ideas and Emerging Innovations

A herder stands with his cattle over the plains of Ethiopia's remote Somali region, outside the regional capital of Jijiga. REUTERS/Andrew Heavens

Today: Ertharin Cousin on Eating Well Beyond Thanksgiving, a Facebook Live Conversation
Join the Council’s newest Distinguished Fellow, Ertharin Cousin, former Director of the World Food Prize, at 10:00 a.m. CDT on Monday, November 20 for a conversation and Q&A on the challenges surrounding food access and waste—both in the US and around the world. Tune in to the Global Food and Agriculture Program’s Facebook page for the event, bring your questions, and follow the Council on Twitter for event updates - @GlobalAgDev

New Map of Worldwide Croplands Supports Food and Water Security
A new map was released detailing croplands worldwide in the highest resolution yet, helping to ensure global food and water security in a sustainable way. The map establishes that there are 1.87 billion hectares of croplands in the world, which is 15 to 20 percent higher than former assessments. Earlier studies showed either China or the US as having the highest net cropland area, but this study shows that India ranks first.

Miniature Robots Could Cut Pesticide Use on Farms in Future
Miniature robot farmers may be the answer to concerns over chemical use on farms and cutting down on food waste, as well as easing labor shortages. They could become available in as little as three years, but that would be likely to take large investment and a high degree of entrepreneurialism in the private sector.

Nigerian Agritech Firm Farmcrowdy Launches Mobile App
Farmcrowdy, Nigeria’s first and leading digital agriculture platform is reshaping the way in which people participate in farming and food production, through using their online platform to source funds from sponsors, whose money is used to secure land, plant crops, and meet the funding needs of boosting food production with small scale farmers.

Organic Agriculture Can Help Feed the World, but Only If We Eat Less Meat and Stop Wasting Food
Experts have thrown out several strategies to deal with the impending food security problem, without coming to a clear agreement on which one would be best. Among the options: improving efficiencies in producing crops and using resources; reducing food waste; cutting down the animal products we eat; or resorting to more organic agriculture.

Weather Forecasts Help Ethiopian Herders, Farmers Fight Climate Extremes
Prolonged drought and erratic rainfall across the country have hit harvests and livestock, eating into farmers’ and herders’ income and meals. To remedy this, a project hopes to help Ethiopian herders and farmers access weather information to make more informed decisions and better absorb climate shocks. The data will help herders and farmers predict the availability of water and grass for grazing.


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 Gene Alexander

A New Tool in the Fight Against Malnutrition

Traditional methods of evaluating childern for malnurition can be uncomfortable for the child and subject to human error. But 3D imagery technology offers a new way to gather data.