February 5, 2018

Big Ideas and Emerging Innovations

A worker opens an oyster on the Re Island, where an automatic oyster vending machine is set at l'huitriere de Re in Ars en Re, Southwestern France. REUTERS/Regis Duvignau
At least a quarter of the carbon released into the atmosphere is soaked up by the ocean and makes seawater more acidic. It's harmful for animals that build shells, like oysters, and spells big trouble for the Pacific shellfish industry, worth more than $100 million. Seagrass can reduce acidification around it, but potentially only in certain locations or at certain times of year.
Cargill, the agricultural trading titan, buys and sells tens of millions of tons of crops and meat a year using an expansive network, but the wider availability of data—from weather patterns to ship movements—has diminished the value of inside knowledge of commodity markets. The company attempts to better exploit the seven petabytes of information in its proprietary data network by hiring data scientists to help it turn a bigger profit.
Aqua Pod is a sustainable floating drive-through with a capacity of up to six staff will serve The Dubai Palm Lagoon. According to the architect, some of the key features include a desalinating function that makes sea water potable without releasing brine discharge, plus a built-in garbage system that collects floating trash and disposes waste responsibly onshore.
Germany’s Robert Bosch, the world’s biggest automotive supplier, is betting on farming technology to boost profits this year. It introduced new smart farming solutions, including sensor-based technologies to help farmers cultivate asparagus and strawberries, manage cattle or even to farm oysters. According to Bosch, the digital agriculture market is expected to grow more than 70 percent by 2020.
Machine learning and vision startup Aquabyte has raised funding to build out a team to refine its software, which is geared towards using machine learning and vision to reduce costs for fish farming. The company's ultimate goal is to more finely control the amount of food that fish farmers use. If it's successful, the company claims it could save fish farmers 20-30 percent of the cost of food currently used.


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