October 5, 2018

This Week's GFFT News: Ending Hunger, Advancements in Agriculture, and Global Food Security


Apply now! Applications are now open for the 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.

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Data for Donors: Launched on the sidelines of last week’s UN General Assembly, a new $500 million data drive seeks to boost harvests and end hunger by surveying farms across 50 nations in Africa, Asia, and Latin America. A lack of reliable data hinders donors’ ability to invest.

Rise in Female Farmers: In India, the latest agricultural census shows a rise in the percentage of female farmers. Small and medium land holdings are also on the rise. Uttar Pradesh, home to the largest number of farmers, now has nearly 24 million farmers and tillers.

The World Bank is releasing their 2019 World Development Report: The Changing Nature of Work next week, but you can view working draft now.


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.


Health Check: China has reported an outbreak of H5N6 bird flu on a poultry farm in Guizhou province and a new African swine fever outbreak in Jilin province.

Land Redistribution is in the news both in South Africa and Namibia. In both countries, black farmers were driven off their lands in the 19th and 20th centuries. Moves to change land ownership laws have shaken investors both locally and abroad.

Nigeria’s Expanding Population is putting farmers and traditional herders at odds. Competition over land has increasingly led to bloody conflicts—an estimated 1,300 people have died in such clashes during the first six months of 2018.


Bird Flu: Numerous strains of avian influenza have plagued poultry operations in recent years. The virus can pass from wild fowl to domestic poultry, bird to bird, bird to person, and rarely person to person. In September 2017, Chinese officials began to vaccinate chickensagainst the most dangerous viral strains, including those that caused the 2013 bird flu pandemic. But new evidence suggeststhat many of those highly pathogenic strains are alive and well, thanks to an adaptation that let them jump to inflecting unvaccinated ducks.


Bill Gates says that Africa is winning the fight against poverty; from 59 percent in 1990 to 39 percent today, the number of Africans living in poverty has been dropping. But new trends indicate that progress is threatened.

Mother and Child Nutrition Week kicks off in Pakistan this week. A door to door educational campaign in Punjab will seek to speak with more than 10 million children and one million pregnant women about the impacts of stunting and malnutrition.


Famine AI: The World Bank, the United Nations, the Red Cross and major tech companies like Amazon, Microsoft, and Google are teaming up to create a new tool to help prevent future famines. The Famine Action Mechanism (FAM) will seek to identify food crisis areas that are most likely to turn into a famine using artificial intelligence and machine learning. The World Bank estimates that faster reactions to famines could reduce the humanitarian costs by 30 percent.


A Fact of Nature: cows pass gas, which contains methane and contributes to global warming—up to 25 percent of methane emissions in the US. But a new aquaculture company to seeking to make a commercially viable seaweed solutionthat, if fed to cows, could interrupt the bacterial process of producing methane in their gut.

Men and Goats: Among pastoral communities in northwest Kenya, men are less likely than women to visit health facilities. In Turkana, health workers have begun to offer services for livestock as well. As the livestock are key to the men’s livelihoods, veterinary services can incentivize the men to stay and receive benefits for themselves and their families.


GFSA 2018: The Global Food Security Reauthorization Act has been presented to President Trump after passing the Senate with a strong, bipartisan majority and unanimously passing the House. The bill reauthorizes programs like USAID’s Feed the Future for another five years.

The first Global Food Security Act was passed in 2016 and authorized $1 billion in spending each year for two years to fight food insecurity. Targeted program areas saw a 19 percent drop in poverty and a 26 percent reduction in stunting—that’s 9 million more people living above the poverty line and 1.8 million more children free from stunting.


NAFTA No More: After a year of discussion, the US & Canada have reached an agreement on a trade deal that brings together the economies of Mexico, Canada, and the United States. Called the “United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement,” the deal will increase US dairy exports to Canada, among other agricultural, manufacturing, and industrial provisions.

The news has already impacted corn and soy marketswhere prices rallied to a seven-week and six-week high, respectively. One unexpected impact has been the flush of surplus foods directed towards US hunger charities, due to the government $12 billion subsidy program created to support farmers impacted by new tariffs.


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

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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 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.