March 12, 2018

Big Ideas and Emerging Innovations

Farmers prepare a Prim'Holstein milk cow at the 2018 Paris International Agricultural Show as work continues on the eve of the opening of the farm show in Paris, France, February 23, 2018. REUTERS/Stephane Mahe
 
The unicellular inhabitants of a cow’s gut are responsible for some of the cattle industry's greenhouse gas contributions, since, as it turns out, cows don't make methane. Bacteria make methane. Animal scientists hypothesize that by changing these microbes they can prime cows to make more meat while eating less food, or maybe even lower the amount of methane that cows release.
 
The WHO says meat production is projected to rise to 376 million tons by 2030, from 218 million tons annually during 1997 to 1999. The “clean meat” firm JUST says lab-made sausages, chicken nuggets, and foie gras could be served in Asia and the US before the end of 2018. Other companies forecast that we're still a few years away from mass marketed lab-grow meat products.
 
Perfect Day’s yeast produces actual dairy proteins. Food scientists program the genetic code into the yeast, and that yeast starts pumping out the desired proteins. The yeast never makes it into the final product, enabling the final product to be labeled GMO-free. Perfect Day plans to start by selling dairy proteins as functional ingredients for food manufacturers, with other dairy products not far behind.
 
Annie’s, Inc. will launch a new boxed macaroni and cheese this month with ingredients that were made using regenerative farming practices, a series of steps that could help fight climate change by sequestering carbon in the soil. The new boxed product will be limited edition, but Annie’s sees it as proof of concept for its larger vision to scale regeneratively farmed ingredients across its business.
 
Scientists have revealed that a simple genetic tweak to overexpress a single protein in crops could result in the plants needing up to 25 percent less water to produce a regular yield. Potentially, the breakthrough research will lead to a new generation of water-efficient agriculture that helps communities grow more food in areas struggling with drought and climate change.
 
Thousands of food-company executives, retail giants, and potential investors are gathering at The Natural Products Expo West to answer an increasingly elusive question: What’s the next eating trend? Big food companies are experiencing anemic growth and also new threats from Amazon’s push into grocery. So to boost sales and profits, the big brands and grocers are looking to natural, organic, and niche brands they say are in growing demand by consumers.

About

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.

Blogroll

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

Archive


Photo of the Week

TechnoServe farmer trainer Rewuda Nuradin consults with Eshetu Abote, a member of the Shegole coffee farming cooperative, in his corn field in western Ethiopia.



US Food Aid Reform is Long Overdue

There are rumors that U.S. food aid programs could see major changes in the next budget, including converting some of the Food for Peace program into straight cash grants instead of in-kind food assistance.


Photo of the Week

A One Acre Fund farmer in Nyamasheke District, Rwanda, applies microbuses of fertilizer to her fields as she plants climbing beans.

Agriculture Reflection

When young people are faced with the big question, “What do you want to do when you grow up?” agriculture is usually not an expected response.






Photo of the Week

Farmers load up bags of fertilizer on bicycles at input delivery in Matulo village, Kenya.

Roger Thurow - Outrage and Inspire - Forward Ever

The young man from the farm was looking smart in an olive green suit, salmon tie and cufflinks.  His black shoes were a bit scuffed, but his English was polished.  “We are moving forward,” he said.  “Forward ever, backward never.”