August 6, 2018

Big Ideas and Emerging Innovations

Cow waste is a global environmental issue, and Dutch farmers are tackling the problem by transforming manure into materials. The project leaders believe that a non-vegan future will involve recycling cow manure into cellulose fiber, bioplastics, chemical concentrates, and pure water, in addition to being less squeamish about the concept.
Farmers usually have to perform manual inspections of hundreds or thousands of acres of crops to assess which areas of soil are underperforming. Some farmers, though, are now experimenting with a new architecture in which data is gathered from sensors in the field and then analyzed with machine-learning algorithms, offering real time information that saves hours or days of manual work.
Using animals’ own immune systems may provide a way to reduce the overuse of antibiotics in farming, replacing the drugs with cheap farm byproducts and cutting the growing risk of resistance to common medicines. Naturally-produced antibodies could provide a protection against immediate infection, and help animals’ immune systems to be more resistant over time.
India tops the world in poor air quality standards, and one of the main contributors to the toxic haze over Delhi is the burning of crop residue on the farmland that surrounds the city. Mushrooms can thrive on the leftover paddy straw from rice farms, which accounts for a quarter of India’s crop residue pollution. This process will produce jobs for rural women involved in mushroom cultivation, generate extra income for rice farmers, and reduce air pollution.
Mosa Meats, the company that produced the first cultured burger back in 2013, just raised 7.5 million euros to continue its pursuit of mass-producing this sustainable form of meat by the year 2021. Mosa’s investment round was co-led by M Ventures, the corporate venture capital arm of science and technology company Merck, and Bell Food Group.
After years of speculation, the FDA has finally given its stamp of approval on Impossible Foods' key ingredient, soy leghemoglobin. Impossible Foods had faced criticism from organizations who argued last year that the Impossible Burger should be removed from the market until the FDA had adequate proof that the burgers was safe for consumption.


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 Janet Fierro

Guest Commentary - Rural Niger Women find Opportunity and Hope through Innovative Business Model

When researchers set out to find natural ways to manage a crop-destroying pest in sub-Saharan Africa cowpea fields they knew the results could have significant positive impact on smallholder farmers. What they may not have expected was the significance of the cottage industry it inspired and the entrepreneurial spirit of the rural women of Niger who led it.