October 12, 2018

This Week's GFFT News: #DayOfTheGirl, Reducing Food Waste, and Mechanization in Africa

Top Story

The Global Food Security Act 2018 has been signed into law! The act is a triumph for bipartisanship and demonstrates the US commitment to advancing global food and nutrition security—not a single Democrat or Republican objected to the bill. As said by Dan Glickman, former US Secretary of Agriculture and Distinguished Fellow at the Council, “this overwhelmingly bipartisan legislation has given the Trump administration an opportunity to add their stamp of leadership to global food security."

Click here for more about the Global Food Security Act of 2018.

Read the official statement from the Chicago Council on Global Affairs’ on the signing of the GFSA 2018.


Mechanization is the Next Frontier: The African Union and the FAO released a new framework that underscores that increasing access to modern tools, such as smaller machinery and mobile technologies, has a large potential to develop Africa’s agriculture sector in a sustainable way. Currently, agriculture in Africa still heavily relies on manual work.

President Nana Akufo-Addo is imagining Ghana after foreign aid. Ghana is now the world’s second-largest cocoa producer but many of the country’s 800,000 cocoa farmers still live in poverty and depend on subsidies and support from NGOs. The government is now seeking $1.5 billion in investment to improve farms and install irrigation systems.

Girls Education in Madagascar: More than 1.5 million school-age girls are not receiving an education in Madagascar. UNICEF and Zonta International are teaming up with a new Let Us Learninitiative which aims to protect children from violence and provide an education.Special programs will also address early marriage and gender equity.


Apply NowApplications are now open for our 2019 Next Generation Delegation.

The Next Generation Delegation program provides an opportunity for promising students from around the world to attend the 2019 Global Food Security Symposium in Washington, DC.

Delegates engage in symposium discussions and to interact with business and policy leaders, civil society, and social entrepreneurs working on agriculture, food, and nutrition issues. Applications are due on or before November 4, 2018.


War and Wheat: According to the FAO, Syria’s wheat crop production this year was the smallest in three decades. Drought, instability, and damaged infrastructure caused by the war have majorly constrained wheat production.

The Swine Fever Outbreak in China remains severe and the risk of transmission is high—but the government is taking steps to stabilize pig production.

Mongolian Herders are working to preserve the grassland that is key to their pastoral system. After the fall of the Soviet Union, use of the steppe has been opened to all with no limits to the number of grazing animals allowed. With support from the FAO, some herders are working to demonstrate how proper management can support long-term sustainability.


Syrian Civil War and Food Control: Bread is a staple food item in the Middle East. As a cheap source of carbohydrates and protein, it remains a crucial source of nutrition and calories for rural and low-income people. From the beginning of the conflict, both the Syrian government and the variety of armed groups, including ISIL, have fought to control the countries wheat production as civilians are dependent on the authority with access.


Malnutrition & Security in Afghanistan: More than 40 percent of children under the age of five are stunted due to malnutrition in Afghanistan. In 2018, the US donated over 70 million dollars of food to the country—the most of any other donor—but a volatile security situation means that getting food and supplies to the people that need it is no easy task.

A new photo series follows the challenges of small-scale farmers across the globe.

Happy #DayOfTheGirl: Around the world, organizations marked International Day of the Girl. Investing in girls is one of the most effective means of increasing GDPbuilding strong societies, and stabilizing communities. To support groups across the globe that are working to educate girls, Michelle Obama has launched a new international programcalled the Global Girls Alliance.


Beneficial Bacteria: Korean university researchers suggest that certain bacteria may be beneficial in helping plants fend off disease. In one study, a soil bacterium known as TRM appeared to provide protection for 40 percent of the tomato plants grown. These results suggest that plant wilt may be tackled by applying certain bacteria or chemicals to soil.


Waste Not: One third of all food grown in the world goes to waste. But across the globe, food waste is attracting attention from impact investors. Wasteless, an Israeli firm takes a business approach to reduce food waste, won $2 million funding. This firm sells software that can help supermarkets to manage their stocks.

Youth in Ag: Athang Jain, an entrepreneur and the director of FarmFresh, believes that young people can change agriculture with technology. One promising tech is fertigation—adding fertilizers through irrigation systems via micro-irrigation tubes.

Diets are Changing and while the improved diversity of available foods can reduce malnutrition, in some regions processed foods have accompanied an increase in unhealthy dietary choices. To improve diets, the Global Panel seeks to link public and private sector to realign national food systems.


Why Does GFSA Matter? The Global Food Security Act (GFSA) passed without objection in the Senate and unanimously in the House, which is extremely rare. It authorizes food security programming for another 5 years and with signature by two consecutive Administrations on opposite sides of the political spectrum, it acknowledges the critical need for food security and agricultural development programs to advance US foreign policy goals. Importantly, it secures long term funding for critical programs and allows implementors to think in decades rather than years.
By drawing on the agricultural, investment, and policy expertise of 11 agencies—including USAID, USDA, MCC, and the State Department—this approacheffectively leverages the best and brightest of the US government.


Beef Imports: The European Commission is in the process of getting approval from its member countries to start negotiation with the US to increase US beef imports. A new agreement would close out a dispute that dates back to 1981, when EU countries banned the use of growth hormones in imported meats. In 2009, the EU agreed to a quota of hormone-free imports, but the US share of that quota has dropped from almost 100 percent to less than 30 percent this past year.

Opinion – Agriculture Insurance Needs New Tech: Sanjiv Nair writes in the Financial Express that overhauls are needed in the Indian crop insurance market. According to Nair, agriculture insurance has focused on protecting bank lenders, not farmers. This is particularly impactful for farmers in regions without irrigation because of dependence on rainfall.
SEE ALSO: Indonesia’s Poor Farmers Turn to Crowdfunding


2018 World Food Prize Borlaug Dialogue
Date: October 17-19
Location, Des Moines, Iowa
91st National FFA Convention
Date: October 24-27
Location: Indianapolis, IN
Kellogg Leadership Alliance Conference
Date: November 29-December 2
Location: Atlanta, Georgia
International Phytobiomes Conference 2018
Date: December 4-6
Location: Montpellier, France

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 Janet Fierro

Guest Commentary - Rural Niger Women find Opportunity and Hope through Innovative Business Model

When researchers set out to find natural ways to manage a crop-destroying pest in sub-Saharan Africa cowpea fields they knew the results could have significant positive impact on smallholder farmers. What they may not have expected was the significance of the cottage industry it inspired and the entrepreneurial spirit of the rural women of Niger who led it.