April 30, 2018

Big Ideas and Emerging Innovations

Speedy, a Gyr-Merlin falcon, is seen in a Royal Shaheen enclosure on an island off the coast of Abu Dhabi. The Royal Shaheen is a company that takes in falcons, which have been born in captivity, when they are at least six months old and trains them to hunt, enabling them to be used for pest control purposes in areas with increasing numbers of crows and pigeons. REUTERS/Jumana El-Heloueh 

Crop-Destroying Birds Better Prey These Falcons Don't See Them
Brad Felger runs Airstrike Bird Control, a raptor abatement business. It's different than traditional falconry because rather than hunting quarry, he uses his falcons to scare off birds that can be bad news for crops. In 2011 in Washington state alone, honeycrisp apple farmers lost nearly $3,000 per acre to birds eating their produce. Felger has employed about 30 falconers and used over 100 falcons to control troublesome crop-eaters

Controversial New Milk Shakes Up Big Dairy
An upstart milk company’s success in marketing a controversial type of milk that is supposed to be easy to digest has some big dairy companies setting aside their skepticism to introduce their own versions. A2 milk does not contain the A1 protein in regular milk, which supporters of A2 milk contend causes indigestion for many people. Skeptics say there hasn’t been enough independent research to show there is any real benefit of A2 milk.

How IoT and IoE Are Positively Disrupting the Farm-To-Fork Industry
With the emergence of the Internet of Things (IoT) and the Internet of Everything (IoE), there is limitless potential for improving the food sector. In the agricultural sector, there are thousands of sensors currently deployed to improve water sustainability, imaging, production, and ease of farming. Technologies such as UAVs and orbital satellites are becoming necessary for successfully utilizing fields, analyzing crops, and providing proper interventions. Today’s technology allows data about extremely specific field observations to be delivered straight to a tablet or computer.

A Remarkable New Technology that Will Diminish a Global Cancer Threat
Aflatoxin, one of the single largest causes of cancer in the developing world, is a natural chemical contained in infected crops like corn, peanuts, and tree nuts particularly when there is damage by insects or drought. A new system could remove grains contaminated with aflatoxin while still using as much of the yield as possible, creating a food waste reduction success.

Meet the Founder of Impossible Foods, Whose Meat-Free Burgers Could Transform the Way We Eat
Impossible Foods’ founder Dr. Pat Brown says he’s not interested in offering vegans another option; instead, he wants to win over omnivores with plant-derived products that are so delicious, nutritious, and affordable they completely replace meat from animals by 2035.

Inside an Epic Experiment: Where the Buffalo Roam, Texas Agriculture Thrives
A piece of Texas Hill Country is in recovery—all thanks to the bison, which have been reintroduced to the area as part of an agricultural experiment spearheaded by Katie Forrest and Taylor Collins, the millennial founders of meat-bar company EPIC Provisions. Regenerative agriculture practices implemented on Roam Ranch actively improve a farm’s ecosystem and enrich the soil’s biodiversity.


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 Colin Christensen , Eva Koehler

Guest Commentary - The Plague You’ve Never Heard About Could be as Destructive as Covid-19: How the Threat from Desert Locusts Shows the Need for Innovations in how Organizations Scale

The international community needs to mobilize to combat the plague of locusts devouring East Africa. At the same time however, we should also consider the long-term investments we must make to build lasting resilience to climate change among smallholder populations.

| By Sarah Bingaman Schwartz, Maria Jones

Guest Commentary - Reducing Food Loss and Waste by Improving Smallholder Storage

Reducing postharvest losses by half would result in enough food to feed a billion people, increase smallholder income levels and minimize pressure on natural resources. The ADM Institute for the Prevention of Postharvest Loss works with smallholders in Bihar to improve storage and reduce loss. 

| By Mark Titterington

Guest Commentary - A European perspective on the journey to a regenerative agriculture system…

Regenerative farming practices can lead to improved soil health and farm productivity and profitability, boosting crop quality and yields, improving the resilience of farms to extreme weather events and reducing the propensity for soil degradation and run-off, but most excitingly, creates the opportunity to actually draw down and store carbon from the atmosphere in agriculture soils.

| By Peter Carberry

Field Notes - Brokering Research Crucial for Climate-Proofing Drylands

9 out of 12 interventions identified for agriculture by the Global Commission on Adaptation involve research and development. For smallholder farmers in drylands, some of the most vulnerable to climate change, the role of innovation brokers may prove just as important as doing the science itself. 

| By Julius A. Nukpezah, Joseph T. Steensma, Nhuong Tran, Kelvin M. Shikuku

Field Notes - Reducing Post-Harvest Losses in Nigeria's Aquaculture Sector Contributes to Sustainable Development

While increasing fish production and productivity in the long term are practical strategies for addressing malnutrition in Nigeria, reducing post-harvest losses of fish is an economic and a rational strategy of increasing value of aquaculture businesses that lead to sustainable economic development.