August 20, 2018

Big Ideas and Emerging Innovations

 
The Nigerian biotech startup Coating+ has created a transparent gelatinous coating that is sprayed onto fresh fruit and vegetables to prolong their shelf life. It’s made using a combination of chitosan—a sugar extracted from shrimp shells—along with soy protein and micronutrients, and its preservation qualities are set to save farmers money on unsold produce. Moreover, Coating+ is helping shore up waste in the aquaculture industry and combat micronutrient and protein-energy malnutrition in Africa.
 
Biotech firm Calyxt’s soybean oil, the industry’s first true gene-edited food, could make its way into products as soon as the end of this year. Unlike older genetic modification methods, the new techniques are precise, fast, and inexpensive, and companies hope they will avoid the negative reputation and regulatory hurdles that hobbled the first generation of genetically modified foods.
 
Bird Control Group started out in Europe, for the most part designing lasers to shoo pesky birds away from industrial sites and airports. In the US market, the agricultural industry appears to be the most promising. The silent lasers proved a friendlier—and sometimes better—bird repellent than traditional tools such as propane cannons or squawk boxes. The lasers are also friendlier than using poison or a 12-gauge shotgun.
 
For thousands of years, people from a mountainous region in southern Mexico, have been cultivating an unusual variety of giant corn. They grow the crop on soils that are poor in nitrogen and they barely use any additional fertilizer. And yet, their corn towers over conventional varieties, reaching heights of more than 16 feet. The secret of the corn’s success lies in its aerial roots which drop with a tick, clear mucus that’s loaded with bacteria.
 
Social entrepreneur Jehiel Oliver and his organization, Hello Tractor, have demonstrated another use of Uber’s ride-sharing technology: fighting poverty and scarcity in Africa’s remote rural communities. The company is helping engage the growing youth population in agriculture by connecting tractor owners to farmers through a digital app. In just a few short years, the organization has reached more than 250,000 smallholder African farmers.
 

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




| 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.




| 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.