Welcoming Peggy Tsai Yih to the Chicago Council!
The Chicago Council on Global Affairs is happy to welcome Peggy Tsai Yih as the organization’s new Managing Director of the Global Food and Agriculture Program. “The global food and agricultural enterprise will face formidable challenges in the future with feeding a growing global population and protecting an increasingly fragile natural resource base. I am delighted to join the Chicago Council on Global Affairs as the next managing director for the Global Food and Agriculture Program,” Yih said.
Yih, who has more than 14 years of experience delivering evidence-based solutions for food and agricultural policy, comes to the Council from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine in Washington, D.C. “Peggy’s depth of experience and dedication to food and agriculture policy solutions makes her the ideal fit to continue the Council’s legacy and prepare us to address the challenges resulting from COVID-19, global instability, and climate change,” Council President Ivo Daalder said. Read more about Yih here.
PHOTO OF THE WEEK
Smoke billows from paddy waste stubble as it burns in a field near Jewar, in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh, India. (REUTERS/Altaf Hussain)
Is a green recovery possible? In the lead up to the US presidential election, a new brief from the Council examines the prospects for future transatlantic cooperation for a green COVID-19 recovery. Regardless of the election outcome, the brief finds that “underlying structures for cooperation among societal stakeholders in the United States need to be reinvigorated to diminish polarization in society, which could continue to block the transition to a low-carbon economy.”
UPCOMING COUNCIL EVENTS
VIRTUAL: Private Sector Responsibility on Race, Equity, and Inclusion- Part 3
Date: November 9
Time: 8 a.m. CT
LIVE STREAM: Emerging Leaders Program November Information Session
Date: November 9
Time: 5:30 p.m. CT
Did you miss one of our previous livestreams? Don't worry! They are all available on our website to watch at any time.
FOOD AND AGRICULTURAL ISSUES
Fields Ablaze: Farmers in states surrounding Delhi have begun burning their fields this year, contributing to the worst air pollution India’s capital has seen in two years. Almost three thousand crop waste fires are contributing roughly one third of the air pollution afflicting the city.
Climate Changing Gender Roles: For some pastoralists in Kenya, a changing climate means more than travelling farther to find pasture for livestock—it also means expanding the role of women. As men spend more time searching for grazing land or work far from home, more farming and breadwinning duties are being left to women. These include managing household finances and trading livestock.
Pest and Disease Outbreak: Namibia is battling a swarm of migratory red locusts and a foot-and-mouth outbreak simultaneously, exemplifying what experts fear may become the norm as climate change intensifies. Teams of veterinarians are hard at work to vaccinate cattle in the hopes of protecting the nation’s prized free-range, hormone-free beef which is exported to China and the US.
Why are fields burning? The practice of stubble burning is common for Indian farmers. For many, it is the fastest way to clear fields of rice paddy straw and make way for wheat sowing. The rush to clear fields comes in part from government mandates to delay rice planting to allow for rains to restore groundwater. That puts a squeeze on the few weeks between rice and wheat seasons, thus making fire an attractive solution.
Corn Sensitivity Grows: A new study suggests that corn yields are becoming more sensitive to soil moisture retention. Using satellite-based yield estimates and county-level soil data from the Midwest, scientists were able to identify growing drought sensitivity despite growing crop yields. Although the study examines the US, there may be implications for corn grown on nearly 300 million hectares around the world.
Malnutrition Crisis in Yemen: The lives of almost 100,000 Yemeni children under five are in danger due to severe acute malnutrition, the UN is warning. More than half a million children under five are suffering from acute malnutrition as well. The UN describes the situation in Yemen as the world’s largest humanitarian crisis.
Fenced In: Millions of miles of fences wrap around the world, many for the purpose of keeping desired animals – often livestock – in and undesired animals out. New research points out that non-target species, however, frequently suffer unintended consequences from fencing, such as interruptions to migrations and changes in animal behavior. Smarter fencing solutions may be critical going forward.
Imports on Track: The USDA and USTR released an interim report on China’s progress towards fulfilling its importation commitments under the “phase one” deal signed by President Trump in January. The report indicates that China has already met 71 percent of its agricultural obligations under the agreement, and that imports of beef, dairy, and grain have all increased significantly. While the headline numbers look positive for the agreement, some have pointed out that outside of agriculture, China is still not on track to fulfill its share of the phase one agreement.
Continental Commitments: Approximately 900 delegates, including 95 government officials from 45 countries, met in the largest ever FAO Regional Conference for Africa this week. Delegates committed to promoting digital technologies in the agricultural sector. One example of innovative approaches to agriculture is the Hand-in-Hand initiative, implemented in 11 African nations.
TRADE & COMMODITIES
Bloc of Cheese: India’s efforts to wrap up bilateral trade deals with several major economies are facing strong opposition from politically influential dairy farmers in the country. India will likely become a milk-surplus nation in the next decade, raising concerns that free access to dairy imports could destroy the livelihood of tens of millions of people – mostly small and marginal landless farmers – who are engaged in the country’s milk production.
OTHER UPCOMING EVENTS
FAO Regional Conference for Europe
Date: November 2-4
Seizing Opportunity from the Jaws of Crisis: A Playbook for Nutrition
Date: December 10
Time: 9:00 a.m. CT
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