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A Champion of Food Security
Senator Cochran represented Mississippi from 1978 to 2018, a service of 40 years. He served as Chairman of the Senate Agriculture Committee from 2003 until 2005 and Ranking Member of the Committee from 2013 to 2015. He was also Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee twice.
View the Chicago Council’s full statement.
PHOTO OF THE WEEK
A grey mullet fish is shown next to microplastic found in the surrounding waters. (REUTERS/Bobby Yip)
Opinion – Watch Crops Wither, or Migrate: For many Guatemalans, drought and severe weather are destroying their ability to farm, leaving families with few options but to leave. Climate change and related weather shifts are magnifying existing poverty structures and even though the journey to the United States is extremely dangerous, many see few alternatives.
Stinking Riches: China’s General Administration of Customs has approved imports of frozen whole durian—a thorny, extremely fragrant fruit—from Malaysia. China’s skyrocketing appetite for the fruit provides huge economic opportunity for Malaysian farmers who are boosting production for durian. Increased production of durian has however also raised environmental concerns about a loss of biodiversity.
REGISTER NOW: Water and Sustainability – The Conversation Continues in Chicago
By 2050, over half of the world’s population could be at risk due to stress on water resources. How will we grow an adequate quantity—and quality—of food to feed and nourish a rapidly growing, urbanizing world in the face of increasing water insecurity? The release of the Chicago Council on Global Affairs’ new report From Scarcity to Security: Managing Water for a Nutritious Food Future highlighted the critical nature of this issue, the obstacles to be resolved, and the innovative solutions that will help us achieve water- and food-security.
Register today to hear from some of these thought leaders and innovators in this rapid-fire flashtalk series program!
FOOD AND AGRICULTURAL ISSUES
SEE ALSO: The Deadly African Virus that’s Killing Asia’s Pigs
Small, Destructive, and on the Move: The fall armyworm is a crop-devouring pest originally from the Americas that has now spread to Africa and Asia, leaving a path of destroyed crops in its wake. After only three years in Africa, the worm has caused more than $13.3 billion in crop losses. Europe, Australia, and Southeast Asia are now bracing for impact as well.
SEE ALSO: China Finds Armyworms in 18 Provinces, Recommends Pesticides for Emergency Use
Microplastics in Food: Many people thought that microplastics in the ocean were concentrated on the surface level. But new research suggests that microplastic concentrations at mid- and deep-ocean levels are also concerning—and possibly more dense than even the well known Great Pacific garbage patch. These small pieces of trash are eaten by tiny sea creatures and as those are eaten by fish that humans consume, plastic moves up the food chain.
How Big of a Problem Are Microplastics in Food?: Microplastics—microscopic pieces of trash that have made their way into the oceans and inland waters of the world—cannot be digested by aquatic animals but are frequently consumed as creatures mistake them for food. The plastics also have the ability to absorb contaminants from the environment, which then concentrate in the animals. Microplastics have now been recorded in 12 out of 25of the most important species of fish for human consumption.
Chickens, Bird Flu, and Gene Editing:As scientists seek to stop the spread of avian flu among birds, a research teamhas successfully removed a genetic sequence in a CRISPR chicken experiment to prevent the bird flu virus from reproducing, according a recently published study. This opens opportunity for genetically engineered chickens that can’t be infected by bird flu.
A Third of Sudanese Households Face Food Security Concerns: The recently published 2018 UN Comprehensive Food Security and Vulnerability Analysis reportaddresses a high level of food insecurity concern in Sudan. Despite the above-average harvest in the past year, high food prices resulted from local currency depreciation expose many families tofood insecurity and economic difficulties.
Water Management for Resilience: By some projections, over half of the world’s population will be at risk for water scarcity by 2050. At the same time, farmers must continually improve yields, which drives intensification of agricultural production around the world. That's why researchers, farmers, and policymakers are deploying a variety of “more crop per drop” solutions which run the gamut from low-tech, low-cost solar-powered irrigation pumps to more sophisticated data techniques.
Kelp, the New Kale: Kelp is a form of seaweed that grows in large forests underwater. For years, advocates have been claiming that kelp is the next food craze to be, but the growing industry requires a great deal more infrastructure before those returns materialize. Kelp has many nutritious benefits—it is high in vitamins C and K as well as iron and calcium—and has a small environmental footprint. But first, consumers need to be convinced.
A Huge Amount of Food is Wasted, and with It, Water: About 70 percent of the water humans use globally is consumed by agriculture, and a full third of the greenhouse gas emissions we produce come from food production. Despite these massive costs, one-third to one-half of the world’s food supply is simply lost or wasted every year. Thesolution to scarcity is not producing more, but seeking a tighter fit between what is produced and what is consumed.
A Preview of a New Development Finance Era: USAID and OPIC have announced contributions to a fund for women’s empowerment. Officials have described the collaboration as a sign of things to come as the new US development finance institution launches in October. The initiative is also unique in that it is the first time that USAID has focused on blended finance at such a scale
TRADE & COMMODITIES
Uganda Resumes Exporting Poultry to Kenya: After President Museveni’s visit to Kenya in March, the Kenyan government has agreed to lift the two-year ban on Uganda poultry products. In return, Uganda will immediately lift its ban on Kenyan beef exports, which wasimposed due to the mad cow disease.
You Won’t Believe Your Ears: Corn prices reach a four year high in China due to falling domestic production and tense trade relations. Since January, three-month corn future has rose 10 percent, a level not seen since 2015 directly before the government ended a price support program for corn farmers.
EAT Stockholm Food Forum 2019
Date: Jun 12-13
Location: Stockholm, Sweden
Water and Sustainability – The Conversation Continues in Chicago
Date: June 13
Location: Chicago, IL
1st International Conference on Agroecology Transforming Agriculture & Food Systems in Africa
Date: June 18-21
Location: Nairobi, Kenya
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