Rural Girl Allies Build Stable States, Chicago Council on Global Affairs, June 28
Girls are seen as victims, combatants, and weapons in many modern-day conflicts. International leaders must recognize the continued level of day to day violence that many rural girls experience and making meaningful investments to ensure that the human rights of all girls are upheld. When rural girls are not safe, there will not be lasting global peace and security.
Guest Commentary – Hidden Infections Deplete Girls’ Education Momentum and Undercut Economic Growth for All, Chicago Council on Global Affairs, June 27
It’s been well documented that investing in female empowerment is essential for long-term economic growth. But in order for women to participate in the economy as men are currently able to, they need identical resources—including access to quality education. Millions of rural girls around the world are not in school, as they are hit particularly hard by parasitic infections, undernutrition, and their social consequences
Nigerians Coping with Food Shortage after Boko Haram Attacks, Al Jazeera, June 27
Attacks involving Boko Haram have displaced more than 1.8 million Nigerians in predominantly agricultural northeast region over the last 10 years. Due to the increase in violence, many small-scale farmers were forced to abandon their farms and agricultural activities. The subsequent fall in production, rocketing food prices, and lack of safe access to markets created one of the world's worst food security crises. SEE ALSO: The Latest Clash between Herdsmen and Farmers in Nigeria Has Left More Than 200 Dead, Quartz, June 27. SEE ALSO: Nigeria Herders, Farmers Conflict Highlights Squeeze on Arable Land, Thomson Reuters Foundation, June 25
Malnutrition the 'Challenge of Our Time', Say Award Winners, Thomson Reuters Foundation, June 25
David Nabarro and Lawrence Haddad were jointly awarded this year’s World Food Prize and are credited with cutting the number of stunted children in the world by 10 million by lobbying governments and donors to improve nutrition. Hadad claimed, “This is the big challenge of our time. It’s not about how to feed our world. It’s about how to nourish our world.”
World Population Growth Demands More US Agricultural Research, Axios, June 26
The challenge of increasing crop yields to meet growing demand for food must first be overcome in laboratories. Specifically, agricultural research must focus on ways to combat crop and animal disease, cope with increased climate variability, improve food nutritional quality, and increase crop yields and resilience. The world's food security, as well as the United States' national-security interests, are at risk if the US falls behind on agricultural research.
GLOBAL DEVELOPMENT ACTIVITIES
UN Calls on Member States to Support UNRWA Amid Funding Shortages, Al Jazeera, June 26
One million people are at risk of losing food in the besieged Gaza Strip. The UN has asked member states to fill a critical funding gap caused by the US decision to cut aid in January. The cuts are endangering basic services, including food assistance, as well as medical clinics and education services to about half a million children
When humanitarian groups hand out food aid or toiletries, the groups put their logos on the product. It's a way of taking credit, making donors happy, and letting the recipients know where to complain if there's a problem. But now, some people are questioning the branding of aid goods for ethical and safety concerns. Despite the debate, the Chicago Council’s Next Generation delegate Cedric Habiyaremye shares his positive experience receiving WFP food aid while living as a child refugee.
Tanzania: Lawmakers Net TSh 1.45 Billion for Construction of Toilets, All Africa, June 25
The Tanzania Women Parliamentary Group raised roughly $636,000 over the weekend in a fundraising event for the construction of modern toilets. The initiative is meant to relieve girls from several shortcomings that make their schooling difficult, such as a lack of quality toilets. The group estimated about $1.54 million is enough to construct model toilets in all constituencies, both in mainland Tanzania and in its island regions.
FAO Helps Kenyan Farmers Rescue Harvest from Fall Armyworm, FAO News, June 22
The fall armyworm is native to tropical and subtropical regions of the Americas, but has spread rapidly across Africa since 2016, causing serious damage particularly to maize crops. FAO initiated a pilot project where field scouts were deployed to visit smallholder farmers and assist them in manual control. This solution has proved effective for smallholders.
US GOVERNMENT ACTIVITIES
Canada will have a say in the operation of a major Missouri River water project under a $244 million deal negotiated to end a 16-year-legal battle. The Northwest Area Water Supply agreement won’t be final until a federal appeals court formally dismisses the case, but when it does, the deal will end the international dispute that has held up completion of the project to bring water to northwestern North Dakota. SEE ALSO: Americans Are Conserving Water like Never Before, According to the Latest Federal Data, Washington Post, June 25
Gates Foundation and USAID Team up to Bring Design to Health, Devex, June 25
USAID and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation have joined forces to encourage more global health practitioners to build their programs around the wants and needs of the people they aim to serve. At the annual Aspen Ideas Festival, representatives of the US donor agency and the world’s largest foundation launched a set of resources called “Design for Health” that will focus on approaches such as human-centered design.
Set of Congressional Budget Hearings Lay out US Aid Funding, Devex, June 22
Congressional appropriators met to approve the United States foreign aid budget. The House passed a budget bill that matches the fiscal year 2018 budget at $54 billion, around $11.8 billion above the proposed cuts from the administration. That bill sends a clear message to friends and allies that global engagement and leadership remains strong.
Trump Wants to Reshape the US Food Safety System. The Idea Is Great, and Terrible., Opinion, Chase Purdy, Quartz, June 22
The American food safety system is poised for a big shake-up. President Trump released a plan that would bring the nation’s sprawling food safety forces under the watch of a single agency. It would be a significant change to the US regulatory system, with merits and pitfalls. Right now, the USDA is in charge of ensuring all meat, poultry, and catfish are safe to eat. FDA oversees just about everything else.
BIG IDEAS AND EMERGING INNOVATIONS
A software tool developed by India’s National Dairy Development Board is helping balance the diets of 2.4 million heads of Indian cattle, leading to increased milk output and reduced methane emissions. The tool, called Information Network on Animal Productivity and Health, has helped reduce enteric methane emissions by 12 to 15 percent while raising the average daily incomes of farmers by $0.37 per animal per day.
Bringing Farming Back to Nature, Opinion, Daniel Moss and Mark Bitttman, New York Times, June 26
If we believe that food production should be about keeping people and the planet healthy, we need nothing less than to reboot the current industrial system and to create one that includes securing land tenure for farmers and indigenous people, making local markets work for small- and medium-scale farmers as well as consumers and workers, and practicing more public policies for local and sustainably grown food. SEE ALSO: The Farming Systems Trail, Rodale Institute
Flying Cameras Can Spot Lethal Disease Sweeping Through World's Olive Groves, Guardian, June 25
A devastating and fast-spreading infection crops around the world can now be detected from the air, long before symptoms are visible to the human eye. The new technique offers hope in the battle against one of the world’s most dangerous plant pathogens, which can infect olive, citrus, and almond trees, as well as grape vines, oaks, and elms. SEE REPORT: Previsual Symptoms of Xylella fastidiosa Infection Revealed in Spectral Plant-Trait Alterations, Nature Plants, June 25
Robots Run the Farm, but You Can Eat Only so Much, Opinion, Mark P. Mills, Wall Street Journal, June 25
More automation, including AI and robots, will be critical for meeting huge prospective demands of manufactured goods and agriculture output. Such rapidly expanding demand will ameliorate the job-killing effects of rapidly improving labor productivity. Between 1980 and 2000 US factory output nearly doubled, with only a 10 percent loss in factory employment.
From Supercows To Algae Suits: Here's Why Speculative Design Will Drive The Next Revolution In Food, Opinion, Forbes, June 22
An exhibit in Berlin showcases alternate fictive scenarios for future food production and consumption. Certain projects propose making insects more palatable by grinding them to a paste and using 3-D printing to reconstitute them in the shape of animals. The project leaders envision a future in people cultivating their own meat in wearable bioreactors. Perhaps most radically, two designers propose eliminating eating altogether by introducing algae to body organs, allowing humans to survive on sunlight.
FOOD AND AGRICULTURAL ISSUES
Tobacco Farm in Malawi: The Families Toiling in the Fields, Guardian, June 25
Tobacco is Malawi’s most important export crop, with tobacco leaf from Malawi filling cigarettes found all over the world. Laborers like Tiyamike Phiri, a 14-year-old orphan, say they left school because they had no materials with which to study, opting to work in the fields instead. Tobacco firms claim they are doing all they can to stop exploitative child labor in their supply chains.
Helping Plants Remove Natural Toxins Could Boost Crop Yields by 47 Percent, Conversation, June 25
The goal of Realizing Increased Photosynthetic Efficiency (RIPE) is to increase the efficiency of photosynthesis. Their research has shown that it is possible to dramatically boost crop yield, by enabling the plant to get rid of its toxins more quickly. Their next goal is to apply their findings to important food crops including legumes as well as the root crop cassava, which are major staple foods worldwide.
How Andrés Manuel López Obrador Will Remake Mexico, Editorial, Economist, June 23
Andrés Manuel López Obrador, the leading candidate in Mexico’s upcoming presidential election, promises to upend the current political order and overthrow the status quo. His scheme for food self-sufficiency has made him hugely popular among rural voters in Southern Mexico. The plan would include price guarantees for crops produced by southern farmers. SEE ALSO: Fed Up with Violence and Corruption, Mexican Voters Embrace a Seasoned Leftist, Los Angeles Times, June 24 SEE ALSO: Making Rural Mexico Great Again: Leading Candidate Endorses Farmers’ Reform Program, Foodtank, April 30
Confession of an Anti-GMO Activist, Opinion, Mark Lynas, Wall Street Journal, June 22
I am a science writer by profession, and in the early years of GMO development, I was an outspoken activist against the new technology. I have since reversed my views on GMOs, as evidence debunking early widespread fears has accumulated. The problem now isn’t just that almost all of the alarms about GMOs were false. It’s that the anti-GMO campaign has deprived much of the world of a crucial, life-improving technology.
NUTRITION AND HEALTH
World Food Prize Winners Tie Improved Child Nutrition to Economic Health, Des Moines Register, June 25
Lawrence Haddad and David Nabarro were recognized as 2018 World Food Prize Laureates during a ceremony at the US Department of Agriculture. Haddad and Nabarro were rewarded for their individual but complementary global leadership in elevating maternal and child undernutrition within the food security and development dialogue at national and international levels with the result of reducing the world’s number of stunted children by 10 million between 2012 and 2017. SEE ALSO: Nutrition Leaders Receive World Food Prize, Food Business News, June 26
Red Meat Allergies Caused by Tick Bites Are on the Rise, NPR, June 25
Alpha gal is a sugar that animals make in their bodies, and an allergy to this sugar is being spread by the bite of a Lone Star tick. The allergy causes a negative reaction to red meat, including beef, pork, and lamb. The ticks likely get it from feeding off wild animals, such as mice or squirrels, that also carry alpha gal.
Kenya’s ‘Contaminated Sugar’ Row: What We Know, BBC Africa, June 24
Kenyan authorities have seized more than 1,000 bags of illegally imported sugar from warehouses in the capital Nairobi and other parts of the country. Interior Minister Fred Matiang'i said that harmful levels of mercury and copper had been found in samples tested from the sugar, but his claim was denied by the Trade Minister.
Food items being distributed by FEMA in Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria exceed the dietary limits for salt, saturated fat, and added sugars as prescribed by the Dietary Guidelines for America. Every item in the fruit category exceeded recommendations for added sugar and 83 percent of vegetables, all canned, exceeded the recommended content of sodium. SEE ALSO: Federal Food Aid Sent to Puerto Rico Contained Chips, Candy and other Foods High in Sugar, Salt and Fat, Milken Institute School of Public Health, June 11
ENVIRONMENT, WATER, AND CLIMATE
Indian Capital’s Summer of Discontent: Anger, Killings Over Water, Reuters, June 28
Tens of thousands of people have cut back on daily showers and laundry because of a shortage of water that has led to fighting in some areas in which three people have been killed. Monsoon rains forecast for this week in Delhi will signal an end to the summer, but India faces the worst long-term water crisis in its history and millions of lives and livelihoods could be at risk.
Cyprus Asserts Itself as Regional Hub for Climate-Change Research, Nature, June 27
Cyprus is reshaping itself into a regional hub for climate-change research. In addition to investing $35 million in a new climate research center in Nicosia, the existing Cyprus Institute has already garnered wide support for its role in climate-change action. A Cyprus chapter of the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network will help Middle Eastern and Mediterranean nations improve agriculture resilience and water sustainability.
For over half a century, island-state Singapore has been getting half its fresh water from northern neighbor Malaysia. It is obliged to sell a small portion of treated water back to Malaysia at preferential rates. This deal could be up for review as the new prime minister in Kuala Lumpur seeks to cut down on the country’s ballooning debt.
Using Agriculture to Tackle the Water Crisis, Livemint, June 26
A recent report by the National Institution for Transforming India underscores the looming threat of India’s water crisis. About 200,000 people die every year due to inadequate access to water—and are set to become far more so. Research and development in multi-resistant, water-efficient, and high-yielding crops along with investment in alternative modes of irrigation are musts. SEE REPORT: Composite Water Management Index, NITI Aayog, June 13 SEE ALSO: NITI Aayog’s Water Management Index May Be an Experiment but It Is Lazy, Wire, June 26
GENDER AND GENERATIONAL INCLUSION
Delaying Babies, Using Toilets Could Roll Back Anemia Crisis, India Spend, June 28
Improved sanitation facilities and delayed pregnancy in India could reduce the rates of anemia in pregnant women faster. Anemia impacts half of Indian women of reproductive age, increases the risk of maternal mortality, infection, preterm delivery, poor fetal, and infant health, and puts children at lifelong risk of issues involving cognitive development and physical growth.
500 years of Spanish colonialization largely wiped out El Salvador’s food heritage, and the civil war that devastated the country in the 1980s fueled the rise of supermarket culture. Although most working-class Salvadorians still patronize American fast food chains, a growing cadre of chefs and entrepreneurs is working to recommit the nation to local foods.
£250,000 to Help Break down Barriers for Women in Scottish Agriculture, FarmingUK, June 25
The Scottish government has awarded $329,300 to help break down the day-to-day barriers which limit the impact women have in the agriculture sector. According to the Office for National Statistics (ONS) Labor Force Survey, women now make up one third of the agricultural sector’s traditionally male-dominated workforce, having increased by 7 percent over the last decade.
South Africa Must Focus on Its Kids to Meet UN Development Goal Targets, Conversation, June 25
There have been several vast improvements in the lives of South Africa’s children in recent years. But amid this progress there are also striking inequalities. Compared to their urban peers, children in rural areas are more likely to live in households with high unemployment levels and inadequate facilities. Poverty is the main underlying cause for the striking inequalities that are evident in children’s lives.
Agriculture, a Lucrative Business for African Youth, ReliefWeb, June 22
At the East Africa Community 11th Sectoral Council on Agriculture and Food Security, officials identified the issue of youth employment as one of the crucial steps to meeting the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Program targets. The meeting also recognized and awarded six youth champions in agriculture entrepreneurship.
MARKET ACCESS, TRADE, AND AGRIBUSINESS
A Frozen Foods Deal to Melt the Competition, Wall Street Journal, June 27
The $8.2 billion deal between Conagra Brands and Pinnacle Foods unites the two frozen-food specialists amid a resurgence of sales growth in the frozen aisle. Conagra and Pinnacle are already standout performers in the struggling packaged-food space. Together they will be a formidable competitor to the biggest global brands like Kraft Heinz and Nestlé. SEE ALSO: Conagra Deal for Pinnacle Reflects Faith in Hot Frozen-Foods Aisle, Wall Street Journal, June 27
Rebuilding the Rural Economy, Forbes, June 26
The recent spate of elections across the US and Europe has exposed the fault lines of advanced economies—cities are thriving while the rural economy is faltering. Rural economies suffer from poor public transport links and uneven broadband coverage—absolutely critical in dispersing populations while evolving small businesses and developing affordable housing.
Walmart-Led Blockchain Effort Seeks Farm-To-Grocery-Aisle View of Food Supply Chain, Wall Street Journal, June 25
A year after initial tests, 10 of the world’s biggest companies, including Walmart Inc. and Nestlé SA, are building a blockchain to remake how the industry tracks food worldwide. The so-called Food Trust aims to improve recalls, quickly identifying the issue and shrinking the time consumers are at risk. Business benefits are expected such as avoiding losses from overly broad food recalls.
Deere Suit Sheds Light on Race for $240 Billion Farm Tech Market, Chicago Tribune, June 25
Precision agriculture harnesses big data to automate operations and boost productivity. According to a 2016 Goldman Sachs report, these new technologies will probably generate $240 billion in revenue by 2050 and help lift crop yields by 70 percent. Deere & Co., the world's biggest tractor maker, is suing rival AGCO Corp. over precision agriculture gadgets in the hopes of securing their position in the projected market. SEE ALSO: Profiles in Innovation- Precision Agriculture, Goldman Sachs, July 13, 2016
Cattle Ranchers in South Dakota Explain How NAFTA Talks Could Make or Break the American Beef Market, Business Insider, June 24
Since NAFTA came into effect in 1994, US beef exports to Mexico have increased by more than 450 percent, and exports to Canada have more than doubled. While one rancher, Kenny Fox points to the fact that the US has accumulated a $32 billion trade deficit for beef products, rancher Eric Jennings is happy with the trade agreement and says it has opened up our borders tremendously.
Date: August 17-20
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Location: Kigali, Rwanda
Date: September 11-13
Location: Yaoundé, Cameroon
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Date: December 4-6
Location: Montpellier, France
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