March 29, 2019

Global Food for Thought: Special Symposium Edition

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From Scarcity to Security: Managing Water for a Nutritious Food Future STORY

Special Edition: From Scarcity to Security

It's finally here! The Chicago Council on Global Affairs has released a new report, From Scarcity to Security: Managing Water for a Nutritious Food Future, authored by Mark W. Rosegrant and cochaired by Ertharin Cousin and A.G. Kawamura, that examines how the world can best grow the food that we need to feed a rapidly rowing, urbanizing world in the face of increasing water insecurity.

This week, the news brief will be highlighting panels and findings from the 2019 Global Food Security Symposium. Next week the news brief will return to covering the latest in agricultural development news from across the globe. OF THE WEEK

During the Connect the Dots panel discussion, Nick Austin, Kalyan Guntuboyina, Gilbert F. Houngbo, Betsy Otto, and Steven Schonberger discuss how deeply agriculture and climate change are interconnected as well as private sector mobilization to create resilience. (Ana Miyares Photography) ACTORS

Water Aid: Gilbert F. Houngbo, president of International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), discussed during a Fireside Chat the positive impacts IFAD has had in an areas where the majority of people live below the poverty line. For example, a project in Senegal added pipelines and water sterilization facilities that not only improved daily life and livestock management but also generated income for women. He continued by stressing the importance of water saying, “Water can be the solution for peacemaking.” INSIGHTS

10th Anniversary Reflection: Did you know that the Global Food and Agriculture program is celebrating its tenth year? Dan Glickman, a distinguished fellow at the Chicago Council on Global Affairs, discussed his pride of how far global food security has come and the work of the Global Food and Agriculture Program. He explained, “When we started ten years ago, global food security was not at the top of the global agenda… they were secondary issues.” Glickman goes on to explain how the council has continued to expand from the initial report which inspired the Feed the Future initiative to more recent efforts of discussing women in agriculture, rising youth populations, and more. AND AGRICULTURAL ISSUES

Why Support Farmer-Led Irrigation: During the first Solution Session, Nuhu H. Hatibu, the Regional Head of Eastern African branch of Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA), explained that much of the integration of farmer-led smallholder irrigation is happening on its own through individual innovation. Yet, he added that our role is to continue support for increased productivity and efficiency DIVE

Change in Drought Aid: Beth Dunford, Assistant to the Administrator at the Bureau for Food Security and Deputy Coordinator, discusses the impact of changing how humanitarian aid during drought was distributed. For example, 500,000 fewer people needed aid in Kenya after changes in how USAID invested and distributed support. This success came through investments from many sectors which were focused not only on agriculture but also nutrition, water, education, health. Importantly, local governments were given ownership of all the projects. CRUNCH

Water Storage Technology: In India up to five million farmers have been driven from the land by extreme weather. Trupti Jain, Founder and Director of Bhungroo, talks in an Emerging Solutions Session about Bhungroo, a technology that stores water in soil aquifers during monsoon seasons for access later in the dry seasons.

Climate and Nutrient Security: Mamta Mehra, Senior Fellow at Project Drawdown, laid out Drawdown Demand and Supply Side Solutions to reverse global warming. Some of these ideas you might have heard of already, such as reduced food waste and plant-rich diets. But did you know that one of the most impactful ways to reduce global warming includes educating girls and expanding family planning access? IDEAS

Skywater: There is six times more fresh water in the atmosphere than in all of the rivers on the planet. David Hertz, Founder and President of Studio of Environmental Architecture, introduced his project that takes air from the atmosphere and turns it into drinking water. Powered by solar panels, they constructed one and added a free water filling station that made close to 150 gallons of water a day. REPORT

Conservation Matters for Trade: Ted McKinney, Under Secretary for Trade and Foreign Agricultural Affairs for the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) said that maximizing crop productivity is key, but it is also vital that resource conservation be kept at the fore-front. As global populations rise to 9 billion, how we preserve water and soil quality will make all the difference in efforts to feed the world. & COMMODITIES

Local Investments: In a Fireside Chat, Pierre Ferrari of Heifer International and Chuck Warta of Cargill launched Hatching Hope. This new initiative explains why investing in people with ideas from local communities who have the drive to scale and build businesses can make a huge impact. Hatching Hope wants to do this with chickens and provide the support and knowledge that enables farmers to turn them into reliable sources of nutrition and economic growth. EVENTS

Ghana’s Growth and Progress
Date: April 1
Where: Chicago, IL and Live streamed

FFA 2019
Date: April 9
Location: Brussels, Belgium
Innovation in Agrifood Supply Chains: Finance, Profitability, and Sustainability
Date: April 10-11
Location: Berkeley, California
FAO/WHO/WTO International Forum on Food Safety and Trade
Date: April 23-24
Location: Geneva, Switzerland
EAT Stockholm Food Forum 2019
Date: June 12-13
Location: Stockholm, Sweden


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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.