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


Photo of the Week

One Acre Fund farmer Elias Ndinduyubwo of Kagabiro, Rwanda, shows off maize he has harvested with his family.


Video: Zero poverty. Think again

A new paper by the Overseas Development Institute reviews what is known about the impacts of climate change on eight development goal areas, and shows that it is essential for climate change to be addressed in order not to compromise development efforts.




Photo of the Week

One Acre Fund group leader Pauline Keya demonstrates how much chlorine to add to water to make it safe for drinking.


Photo of the Week

Martin Ugiraneza, of Rwamiko, Rwanda, was able to purchase a cow after his 2013 harvests.


USAID Ending Extreme Poverty

Through the narration of Presidents Kennedy, Clinton, Bush, and Obama, the film depicts America's progress, mission, and means by which we intend to end extreme poverty over the next two decades.


Climate Change 2014: Impacts, Adaptation, and Vulnerability

Working Group II assesses the scientific, technical, environmental, economic and social aspects of the vulnerability (sensitivity and adaptability) to climate change of, and the negative and positive consequences for, ecological systems, socio-economic sectors and human health, with an emphasis on regional sectoral and cross-sectoral issues.





Green Meets Brown: The Many Colours of a Food Revolution

Dr. Norman Borlaug, "the Father of the Green Revolution" would be turning 100 this week. Influential figures in the fight against hunger gathered in his honour in Mexico, to celebrate his work in wheat improvement that saved more than a billion people worldwide from starvation.



Photo of the Week

A farmer in Milani, Kenya, measures fertilizer with a One Acre Fund planting scoop and pours the microdose of fertilizer into holes his group members have dug for his maize.