November 26, 2019 | By Colin Christensen, Junho Hyun-Sack

Featured Commentary - Investment in Crop Insurance Can De-Risk Small-Holder Farming: A Missing Ingredient for Global Stability

Editor's Note: Agri-Pulse and The Chicago Council on Global Affairs are teaming up to host a monthly column to explore how the U.S. agriculture and food sector can maintain its competitive edge and advance food security in an increasingly integrated and dynamic world.

Upendo Malata eyes the dark grey clouds gathering overhead with a feeling of anticipation. Rain is coming, and her one-acre farm in Magulilwa, Tanzania, desperately needs it. Uncertainty is a feeling that Upendo has gotten used to, because it’s the third year in a row that weather problems have threatened her family’s livelihood. Last year, her harvest was smaller than normal because the rains arrived later than expected. The year before, powerful winds and hail from a sudden storm destroyed much of her crop, forcing the family to ration food for months until the next harvest.

Just like farmers in the US, Upendo works hard and is not looking for a handout; she just wants the opportunity to grow her own way to prosperity. However, life is inherently risky when you have to feed your family and generate your livelihood off about an acre of land; when you rely on rain to irrigate your crops, and face a changing climate that makes this rainfall increasingly unpredictable. 

We cannot afford to ignore the plight of farmers like her, and not only for humanitarian reasons. As Sylvain Roy wrote in these very pages a few weeks ago, we have clear data that agricultural investment abroad serves US interests. Beyond even the positive effect on trade, it is key to mitigating the rural hunger that creates the conditions where states fail, mass migration increases and terrorism thrives, threatening to pull US forces back into foreign entanglements.

>>>Read the full article on Agri-Pulse


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 Roger Thurow

Our New Gordian Knot

Fifty years ago Dr. Norman Borlaug recieved the Nobel Peace Prize for cutting the "Goridan knot" of population and food production. Now the planet faces another seemingly intractable problem: how to nourish the planet while preserving the planet. 

| By Janet Fierro

Guest Commentary - Rural Niger Women find Opportunity and Hope through Innovative Business Model

When researchers set out to find natural ways to manage a crop-destroying pest in sub-Saharan Africa cowpea fields they knew the results could have significant positive impact on smallholder farmers. What they may not have expected was the significance of the cottage industry it inspired and the entrepreneurial spirit of the rural women of Niger who led it.