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

Photo of the Week

TechnoServe farmer trainer Rewuda Nuradin consults with Eshetu Abote, a member of the Shegole coffee farming cooperative, in his corn field in western Ethiopia.



US Food Aid Reform is Long Overdue

There are rumors that U.S. food aid programs could see major changes in the next budget, including converting some of the Food for Peace program into straight cash grants instead of in-kind food assistance.


Photo of the Week

A One Acre Fund farmer in Nyamasheke District, Rwanda, applies microbuses of fertilizer to her fields as she plants climbing beans.

Agriculture Reflection

When young people are faced with the big question, “What do you want to do when you grow up?” agriculture is usually not an expected response.






Photo of the Week

Farmers load up bags of fertilizer on bicycles at input delivery in Matulo village, Kenya.

Roger Thurow - Outrage and Inspire - Forward Ever

The young man from the farm was looking smart in an olive green suit, salmon tie and cufflinks.  His black shoes were a bit scuffed, but his English was polished.  “We are moving forward,” he said.  “Forward ever, backward never.”


Photo of the Week

One Acre Fund farmers in Chwele District, Kenya attend a training on how to plant millet. They are comparing the length of their fingers as they are told to plant their millet seeds as deep as the second knuckle on their index finger.