July 16, 2018

Big Ideas and Emerging Innovations

Scientists think they can reduce greenhouse gas emissions by tweaking the food that cows eat. Adding seaweed to cattle feed can dramatically decrease their emissions of the potent gas methane. Ninety-five percent of bovine methane emissions come from belching.
In the Middle East, water scarcity in the UAE is second only to Kuwait. A joint venture between Crop One Holdings and Emirates Flight Catering will open the world’s largest vertical farm in Dubai that will supply approximately 225,000 meals daily. This upcoming facility will use a mix of renewable and utility source electricity and is targeting solar energy.
The combination of high-resolution imaging and sensor technologies, AI, and cloud computing is giving conservationists deeper insight into the health of the planet. The result is a near-real-time readout of Earth’s vital signs, firing off alerts and alarms whenever the ailing planet takes a turn for the worse. The new conservation formula may become a critical resource for preventing natural disasters and planning relief.
Rice for the Poor was a program set up in Indonesia in order to deliver subsidized rice each month to the country’s most vulnerable households. Many local officials, however, distributed the rice based on personal assessments and whims. Now, Indonesian food leaders are working to implement a postcard program, whereby every eligible citizen is directly informed of their rights to subsidized rice.
Voice shopping is predicted to grow to $40 billion in 2022, and its rise will change consumer decision-making drastically. The trend may create incidental loyalty, a phenomenon in which the voice assistant assumes which brand you buy and re-orders the same one over and over again. This limits a consumer’s knowledge of choices and could diminish spending power.
Insects, already part of the diets of 2 billion people, mainly in Asia, are set to reach more dining tables as consumer concern about the environmental and social costs of producing beef, pork and poultry overrides the yuck factor of eating bug-filled burger. Using little land and emitting a fraction of the greenhouses gases generated by cattle, that appeal will grow as a surging population stretches scarce global resources.


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