(A Haitian woman processes peanuts in front of her house. REUTERS/Eduardo Munoz)
Social Enterprise in Haiti Transforms the Lives of Peanut Farmers
The Clinton Giustra Enterprise Partnership recently announced the launch of its latest social enterprise. Called Acceso Peanut Enterprise Corp., it’s aimed at the more than 12,000 small holder peanut farmers in Haiti. Usually, peanut farmers in Haiti work far from markets, so they pay intermediaries to transport the crops. Acceso buys directly from farmers—storing the food in strategically located warehouses—and then sells to five large buyers in Haiti, which, in turn, sell to the local market. The various Partnership ventures fall into one of three models: supply chain enterprises, distribution ventures, and training centers. The key to all these enterprises is the ability to be replicated quickly.
The Future of Agriculture May Be too Small to See. Think Microbes
There are thousands, maybe millions of kinds of fungi, bacteria, and other microbes that help plants in a variety of ways. But their role has been almost invisible to people. In fact, critics say, modern agriculture actively works against them. A growing field of researchers and entrepreneurs working to bring microorganisms like fungi back into the agricultural mix, but in a new and targeted way. Their goal is to find and develop fungi that make agriculture both more productive and more sustainable.
America is Running Out of Farm Workers. Will Robots Step In?
The US is likely to face a serious shortage of farm labor in the years ahead. So what happens then? One possibility is that robots could do more and more of our farming. Last October, the USDA handed out $4.5 million in grants for "robotics research." Projects included robots that could harvest strawberries and drones that can detect citrus diseases. Meanwhile, private companies are developing machines that can pluck oranges or whack weeds with minimal supervision. So is this the future? Here's a rundown of why America's running out of farmworkers—and whether robots will help fill the gap.
A Green Solution: How Urban and Peri-Urban Agriculture Can Help Central American Cities
Many major cities in Latin America and the Caribbean are turning to urban farming to address problems such as urban poverty and food insecurity. Havana uses organoponics, a farming technology that uses organic substrates, and now boasts 97 organoponic gardens. In Mexico City, urban and peri-urban agriculture can restore farming to the city that has lost its farmland to urban sprawl. In Lima, two water treatment plants that will treat one hundred percent of the city’s wastewater will be built at the end of 2014. Lima can irrigate the green areas in and around the city by recycling wastewater; this will meet the agricultural need for water as well as increase crop production and to ensure food and water safety.