April 2, 2018

Big Ideas and Emerging Innovations

Kanchana Jan-on, 22, collects rubber on a rubber plantation in Phunpin, Surat Thani. REUTERS/Athit Perawongmetha

The Innovation of Youth: The Key to Global Food Security
This global rise in young people presents both a problem and an opportunity. The problem? These young people need access to safe, nutritious food and they need to be ready and able to find productive work. The clear opportunity is to engage this generation to help grow, produce, and distribute more food, in increasingly productive and sustainable ways.

Empowering Decision Support with Big Data
Farmers everywhere are facing the challenge of improving agricultural productivity to meet the growing demands of an increasing and wealthier population, while placing less pressure on scarce water resources. The potential to increase yields and water use efficiency, however, must be balanced against financial, technological, social, and environmental constraints.

Hong Kong's Skyline Farms Harvest More Happiness than Food
Rooftop Republic, a three-year-old startup whose founders are tapping growing interest in organic food and taking advantage of unused roof space in the cramped, high-rent Chinese city. It has set up on average one farm a month since its founding and now manages 36 covering more than 30,000 square feet, including one in mainland China. It also provides workshops for companies, building owners, schools, and community groups.

Wheat in Heat: the 'Crazy Idea' that Could Combat Food Insecurity
The International Centre for Research in the Dry Areas has developed a new strain of wheat that can withstand constant 40C temperatures, the heat of the African savannah. This new variety of wheat is fast growing, and can be harvested in just 92 days, ensuring it doesn’t impact on the rice. It can produce six tons per hectare, despite requiring less water than rice, and contains five times more protein, as well as more vitamins and minerals.

Ethiopia: Over 50,000 Smallholders Benefit from Inoculation Technology
International Livestock Research Institute said over 50,000 smallholder farmers have been reached with inoculation technology and were able to improve their yield on grain legume production during the past four years. The technology has enhanced production of grain legumes through nitrogen fixation in to the soil biologically. As a result, production yield of chickpea, soybean, fava bean, and common bean increased by 10, 36, 41, and 43 percent respectively above national average yields.


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 Chelsea Reinberg

Guest Commentary - The Critical Role of Women in Transforming the Food System

Since its inception, HarvestPlus has identified and focused on women as key drivers who make nutrition -related decisions for their households and have important roles not only in the preparation and consumption of nutritious foods but also in production decisions on which varieties to grow.