November 15, 2019

Global Food for Thought: Ebola Vaccine | Poultry Exports | Prize President

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New World Food Prize President

The World Food Prize Foundation has named Barbara Stinson as the organization’s next president. Stinson previously served as a co-founder and Senior Partner of the Meridian Institute, a non-profit organization that provides guidance on complex global challenges, including agriculture and food security. She has led innovative programs advancing climate change, agricultural development, and ecosystem-restoration, among many others. Stinson succeeds Ambassador Kenneth Quinn, who has served as President of the World Food Prize Foundation for nearly twenty years. OF THE WEEK

A soybean plantation in Rio Verde, Goias state, Brazil. (REUTERS/Jose Roberto Gomes) ACTORS 

A Meeting with the Pope: FAO Director-General Qu Dongyu and Pope Francis met at the Vatican for a meeting in which the pontiff expressed his support to FAO’s mandate of eliminating hunger. A panel backed by the Pope urged governments to halve food loss and waste by 2030.
SEE ALSO: More Than 70 Countries Agree to Reduce Food Waste


Necessary Sins: Anger. Attention. Profanity. Ambition. Power. Violence. Lust. Mona Eltahawy argues these are The Seven Necessary Sins for Women and Girls to catalyze an international feminist revolution. Drawing on her personal trauma and experiences writing about and advocating for women’s rights globally, Eltahawy provides inspiration for women and nonbinary people to embrace their power and fight oppression. Join us in welcoming award-winning author, activist, commentator, and feminist leader Mona Eltahawy back to the Council.


Regional Obesity on the Rise: According to a new FAO report, adult obesity in Latin America and the Caribbean has tripled since 1975, affecting one in four adults in a region where hunger has increased to affect 42.5 million. The report highlights the need to promote healthier food environments and improve food labelling in order to combat malnourishment and inadequate diets.

Fortified Soybean Gains Traction: Paraguay joined Argentina, Brazil, and the United States in granting market access to a new drought and herbicide resistant variety of soy that is named HB4. The four countries produce 90 percent of global soy exports and now wait for China, the world’s largest consumer, to approve imports of the variety.

Culls Cause Concern: A major and rapid cull of over 350,000 pigs in South Korea may have contaminated a nearby river. While safety precautions are taken when burying contaminated livestock, the speed of this cull prevented some efforts. The Imjin River, reportedly contaminated, serves as a water source for the surrounding community.
SEE ALSO: African Swine Fever in China More Severe Than Thought DIVE

Regulating Resistant Seeds: According to the USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service, 93 percent of the US acreage planted with soybeans that are herbicide resistant. For seeds produced using biotechnology, it can take 6-10 years to make it to the field. Although the approval process ranges across nations and regions, most will still allow imports for animal feed. For example, the European Union banned cultivation of genetically modified seeds, but imports soy for feed from nations that grow the banned varietals. CRUNCH

Microsoft Launches Agriculture Technology: Microsoft’s FarmBeats program launched this week ahead of the Ignite 2019 conference. FarmBeats uses AI to translate collected data allowing growers to make data-driven decisions. FarmBeats seeks to bring robust data analytics to the agriculture sector to develop data-driven farming techniques.

Tree Planting Search Engines: Ecosia is a search engine that uses its profits to plant trees. Built using Microsoft’s Bing service, Ecosia translates search enquiries and associated ad-revenue into planted trees, all while anonymizing user data. The company says it has planted 70 million trees since 2009.


A Depleted Lake: Iran’s Lake Urmia, once the second-largest saltwater lake in the word, has dried out over the last two decades. Researches blame water overuse and inefficiency in agriculture for much of the drying out. The situation is seen as a wake-up call to rethink water management in countries where the resource is scarce.

Ebola Vaccine: The European Commission approved a vaccine designed to protect against the Ebola virus, the disease at the heart of a health crisis in West Africa in 2014. Having a major regulatory body such as the European Commission approve the vaccine is a major step towards other bodies such as the FDA to approve it.
SEE ALSO: USAID Commits to Fighting Ebola


Print Your Own Dinner: Startups in Israel and Spain are producing steaks and chicken thighs using 3D printers, vegetable matter and animal cells. The companies hope to deploy their printers straight to consumers so that restaurants and households can meet their own demand at a fraction of the environmental cost.

Machinery to Clear the Air: Farmers burning rice crop residue to allow for wheat planting have recently been blamed for Delhi’s air quality crisis. Using innovations in farm technology may provide an alternative. Rather than removing rice residue post-harvest, new machines and attachments can chop remaining rice stalks, spread the residue as mulch, and plant wheat seeds in the soil.  


Poultry Win Isn’t Paltry: China has lifted its almost five-year ban on US poultry imports. The USDA and US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer have announced that the decision will boost US exports by $1 billion annually. US poultry producers’ shares rose after the announcement. & COMMODITIES

Suspended Meat Imports: Zimbabwe and Eswatini suspended imports of livestock and meat from South Africa after the nation announced another outbreak of foot and mouth disease. Zimbabwe imports cattle, goats, sheep, and pigs from South Africa for breeding as well as meat products. Foot and mouth disease does not affect humans but poses a threat to various livestock.

Bigger Brazil: After recently announcing a deal to export meat to China, Brazil continues to expand its footprint as an agricultural exporter. The Bolsonaro government now says Saudi Arabia has approved Brazilian meatpackers for export to the kingdom. EVENTS

International Conference on Agricultural Statistics
Date: 18-19 November
Location: New Delhi, India

Global Summit on Food Microbiology & Nutrition
Date: 2-3 December
Location: London, UK
BCFN 10th International Forum on Food and Nutrition

Date: 3-4 December
Location: Milan, Italy
Edible Institute
Date: 25-26 January 2020
Location: Santa Fe, New Mexico

Please share any tips or thoughts on what we can do better here.


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.