August 27, 2018

Big Ideas and Emerging Innovations

 
Sequencing the wheat genome—once considered by scientists to be an insurmountable task—has been achieved through a worldwide collaboration of researchers spanning 13 years. Now that scientists and farmers have the genetic roadmap, they can better understand and manipulate traits like yield and tolerance to environmental stress, and ultimately producing hardier wheat varieties.
 
Eight teams competed in the first Africa-wide hackathon in Kigali this week. From an app to diagnose disease on Zambian farms to Tinder-style matchmaking for Senegalese land owners and young farmers, the young coders are finding solutions to hunger. Experts say keeping young people in farming is key to alleviating hunger in Africa, which has 65 percent of the world’s uncultivated arable land.
 
Beyond modern-day conveniences, how might the Internet of Things help us address more fundamental challenges, like feeding our growing global population? Janice Zdankus, Hewlett Packard Enterprise’s vice president of quality, highlighted the potential for agriculture, the need to incentivize partnerships between agriculture and technology, and opportunities for the next generation of STEM graduates to lead and innovate.
 
With drug crops booming, Colombia’s police are busily testing whether drones carrying defoliants can efficiently kill the leaf used to make cocaine. Colombia’s previous administration had halted the use of the aircraft following lawsuits from farmers groups over health concerns and a ruling from the Constitutional Court ordering a prohibition after a WHO agency said that glyphosate could be cancerous.
 
Fledgling companies, many backed by private equity, are rushing to help shale drillers deal with one of their trickiest problems: what to do with the vast volumes of wastewater that are a byproduct of fracking wells. Sensing a chance for a big return, private-equity firms have invested more than $500 million into wastewater-disposal companies such as Solaris Water Midstream, WaterBridge Resources LLC, and Oilfield Water Logistics.
 

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



Commentary - Africa: A Continent of Opportunity

I recently returned from a conference hosted by the Aspen Institute in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia with a number of scholars and members of Congress. Over a period of several days we did an in-depth exploration of the myriad issues encompassing U.S. relations with the 54 nations of Africa.


Photo of the Week

Annette Kwamboka peels the husk off a cob of her mother's maize in Bugita, Kenya.







Commentary - Sharing Agricultural Success with President Obama

When I first got the idea back in 2008 that the women farmers like myself in central Senegal should join together to help one another succeed, I never would have guessed that five years later I would be sharing that story of success with the president of the United States. 


Commentary - Is Feed the Future delivering results? Yes – with some limitations.

Robai Nyongesa, a smallholder farmer in western Kenya, used to struggle to grow enough maize to feed her family. Last year, she was able to harvest 20 bags of maize from 1 acre of land, a fivefold increase over her previous poor harvests. Her large harvest enabled her to feed her three children, and to hire a tutor to give her children private lessons at home.



Photo of the Week

Farmers of the Faulu group in Bungoma South, Kenya, stand proudly in front of Beatrice Masila’s sorghum that has now grown taller than they are!


Call for Innovators: Bridging Dairy Data Gaps

Dairy, especially milk, can play an important role in providing essential nutrients to a woman of child-bearing age, a gestating or lactating mother, and children.