September 28, 2015

Big Ideas and Emerging Innovations


Condiments as Weapon Against Malnutrition
Condiments are becoming weapons in the fight to save malnourished children. Efforts to add iron to fish sauce in Vietnam and bouillon cubes in West Africa, and vitamin A to cooking oil in Senegal, are examples of a new trend: Nutrition experts are branching out from fortifying dry staples like rice, corn or wheat flour. The African Union asked for $150 million from donors to support food fortification in 25 countries and to produce an annual report tracking the effort’s progress.

This HORSE Converts Food Waste into Fertilizer and Energy
We have a huge food waste problem all over the globe. A potential solution may lie in what's called the HORSE, or High-solids Organic-waste Recycling System with Electrical Output, device, currently in development from Impact Bioenergy. This portable anaerobic digestion system can accept a wide variety of organic waste materials, ranging from kitchen scraps and yard waste to paper products, and generate both liquid fertilizer and energy in the form of biogas and electricity.

Change and Transformation @USAID: Modernizing Development Assistance
USAID is increasingly relying on data for planning and decision making. They are striving to collect better data across a range of sectors, including health and agriculture, and to make that data more widely available. According to USAID’s Chief Strategy Officer, the push for evidence must continue and it must be complemented by a drive to ensure data is fully analyzed, used and disseminated.

The (Fake) Meat Revolution
A revolution is unfolding in the food world, resulting in the first alternatives to meat that taste like the real thing. It will be a while before we’re fooled by a fake sirloin steak, but scientists think they’ll eventually get there. These meat alternatives could end up being cheaper than real meat. If the alternatives to meat are tasty, healthier, cheaper, better for the environment and pose fewer ethical challenges, the result may be a revolution in the human diet.

Can Farmers Outsmart Climate Change?
Climate-smart agriculture (CSA) is the idea that farmers — with funding and agriculture/climate science knowledge — should develop and use technologies that work with the ever-changing climate, not against it. When it all comes together, CSA could help farmers deal with climate change affecting crop health and yields, move away from environmentally harmful farming practices, and use less carbon-reliant technology.

The Marketing Of Moringa: Is This the New Kale? 
Moringa is contending for a spot as the next hot "superfood," with an emerging focus on its potential to make life better for people in developing countries. Moringa is a drought-tolerant tree that grows well in sandy soils in the tropics of West Africa, South Asia and South America, often where malnutrition is widespread. It's already a staple in some of these parts, but advocates think moringa could make an even bigger nutritional impact in those regions.


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


| By Pietro Turilli

Field Notes - How to Strike the Most Effective Partnerships for Food Security

In today’s hyperconnected world, challenges felt in one region or country almost always have wider if not global repercussions. The International Potato Center, part of the CGIAR system, develops partnerships with the private sector to tackle these challenges more effectively. 

| By Julie Borlaug

Featured Commentary - Hope Through Agriculture: Now More than Ever

In our latest collaboration with Agri-Pulse, Julie Borlaug writes that now is the time for everyone in agriculture to demonstrate how their passion and dedication have found solutions to the major threats we face as a collective human species: food and nutrition security, environmental stability and sustainability.

| By Lisa Moon

Guest Commentary - Reduce Food Loss & Waste, Feed Millions

Studies show that one-third of all food produced for human consumption is lost or wasted, enough to feed 1.9 billion people-almost the same amount as are experiencing food insecurity. Food banks are uniquely positioned to address the paradox of global hunger and food loss and waste. 

| By Colin Christensen, Eva Koehler

Guest Commentary - The Plague You’ve Never Heard About Could be as Destructive as COVID-19: How the Threat from Desert Locusts Shows the Need for Innovations in how Organizations Scale

The international community needs to mobilize to combat the plague of locusts devouring East Africa. At the same time however, we should also consider the long-term investments we must make to build lasting resilience to climate change among smallholder populations.

| By Sarah Bingaman Schwartz, Maria Jones

Guest Commentary - Reducing Food Loss and Waste by Improving Smallholder Storage

Reducing postharvest losses by half would result in enough food to feed a billion people, increase smallholder income levels and minimize pressure on natural resources. The ADM Institute for the Prevention of Postharvest Loss works with smallholders in Bihar to improve storage and reduce loss.