December 8, 2014

Big Ideas and Emerging Innovations

A boy looks at Brookside dairy milk products displayed on a shelf inside the Nakumatt Lifestyle supermarket in Kenya's capital Nairobi. (REUTERS/Thomas Mukoya)

Kenyan Dairy Farmers Aim to Raise Yields and Process More Milk
Dairy, like much of Kenya’s agro-processing industry, is largely underdeveloped. Although the country produces more milk than any other in Africa, each cow manages an average of only four liters a day (compared to 35 liters for European cattle). Dairy sector companies are trying to find ways to add value, and genetic technology may prove to be a quicker, more effective, and affordable solution.
Pakistan to Fight Food Insecurity with High-Tech Crop Data
Pakistan has launched a state-of-the-art system to help farmers calculate their crop losses to extreme weather more accurately and support the government in tackling hunger and malnutrition. Late last month, the FAO installed the geospatial crop forecasting system at the Pakistan Space and Upper Atmosphere Research Commission (SUPARCO) to improve the quality of agricultural statistics.
A Low-Cost Alternative to Pricy Big Data on the Farm
FarmLogs, which makes smartphone-type software for the scheduling of farm tasks and analysis of yields, uses data for farm analysis, like soil quality and rainfall, which is publicly available, along with specific information derived from field machinery. By automating the analysis, local agronomists can be data scientists too.
Eric Schmidt's Venture Fund Collaborates On Agtech 'Collective'
A group of companies including Google Chairman Eric Schmidt’s Innovation Endeavors and Flextronics’ Lab IX has created a “collective” that aims to support technology startups focused on innovation in agriculture. The initiative, Farm2050, will support selected entrepreneurs with seed capital, manufacturing facilities, testing equipment, and management mentorship.
New, Open-Source Tool to Support Resilience-Building
Each year millions of people dependent on agriculture, forestry, and fisheries are confronted by disruptions to food production and distribution which undermine the food security of nations and entire regions. FAO has recently teamed up with a coalition of partner agencies to develop a new tool. InfoRM—the Index for Risk Management—was designed to help identify where and why crises are likely to occur.


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