October 26, 2018

This Week's GFFT News: Trade Wars, Climate and Migration, and Gender Equality in Aquaculture

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 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.


Top Story 

Increasing Need: The humanitarian crisis in Yemen is increasing in severity. UN humanitarian chief Mark Lowcock warns that in the coming months, an additional 3.5-4 million more people could become severely food insecure. A new address to the UN Security Council has called on the United Nations to take immediate action. Currently, 3 million Yemenis are malnourished, including 1.1 million pregnant women. Yemen is the Arab world’s poorest country, and given the severity of fighting, it is difficult for aid groups to fully determine the level of need. Only half of health facilities are functioning, and many Yemenis are too poor to access the ones that are open.

SEE ALSO: The humble pomegranate might not seem like much, but it can help explain how Yemen’s civil war has brought millions of people to the brink of famine.


New Guidelines Ahead: The Committee on World Food Security concluded its 45th session and tasked itself with creating Voluntary Guidelines for Food Systems and Nutrition that will serve as a guiding document for governments and stakeholders overseeing food policy and investment. With world hunger on the rise for the third year in a row, the CFS hopes these guidelines will streamline and operationalize recommendations on nutrition and food security.

Opinion - China’s Agricultural Model Offers Lessons: Within a generation, China’s agricultural system experienced rapid transformation. According to Rakesh Kapur, chairman of the International Fertilizer Association, China’s model of cooperation between science, government, and industry actors offers valuable insights for increasing food security and agricultural profits in sub-Saharan Africa.

Youth Takeover: Young entrepreneurs are returning to agriculture in Africa, and this time, they look nothing like what you might expect; equipped with smartphones and other agricultural technology, young Africans are creating new business opportunities in farming and agriculture.


Application Period Closes Soon!  

Applications 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 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.

Opinion – A Call for Impact Investing in Agriculture: Chicago Council intern Lauren Stadler underlines the case for the private sector to actively engage in social impact to leverage their investing capabilities. Achieving the Sustainable Development Goals has the potential to unlock $12 trillion in market opportunities.


Gender Equality in Aquaculture: Women are often not counted in fishery statistics, but supporting women in the “blue economy” is key to improving their financial security, safety, nutrition, and livelihoods. Without gender awareness training or accurate reporting on gender, programs risk misidentifying or worsening the problems women face in the sector.

Farmers in Israel: Israeli farmers expressed concern over Jordan’s intention not to renew parts of its landmark treaty with Israel that leased out two small border areas for agriculture. The 1994 peace agreement allowed Israel to lease Ghamr and the northern enclave of Baqura for 25 years.

Migrant Farmer Worker: The group of legal migrant farm workers is increasing in many countries, including EU countries, the United States, and New Zealand. Farmers rely on migrant workers, especially during the harvest seasons.


Climate and Migration: As weather patterns change and shifting rainfalls impact land fertility, more people have been forced to migrate away from traditional lands. One study, which examined three decades worth of data, found that for countries with agriculture-focused economies, a 1C rise in temperatures correlated with a 5 percent increase in migration. According to a recent UN report, global emissions must be cut by 45 percent before 2030 in order to restrict warming to 1.5C.


Armyworm Infestation: Research funded by the German and UK governments has identified eight biopesticides that can be used to control armyworm, a caterpillar pest species that is affecting millions of African smallholder farmers.

If left unmanaged, this insect could cost African economies $2.5-6.2 billion a year in lost harvests.


Boosting Climate Resilience: The Green Climate Fund approved a $127.7 million project designed to improve the climate resilience of smallholder farming systems in El Salvador’s Dry Corridor, where 225,000 people, or 15 percent of the country’s family farmers, are expected to benefit. Of the projected beneficiaries, 20,000 are indigenous and 38 percent are women in head of household positions. The project seeks to boost productivity with sustainable techniques, expand infrastructure, and provide key technical knowledge.

Opinion - Women in Food: Abby Maxman, President of Oxfam America, highlights women in our food systems. She states that women in developing countries are responsible for most food production yet are prevented from receiving loans, owning property, or dedicating enough time to the role. She emphasized empowering and celebrating women by removing gender inequalities and barriers in food.

Conflict & Climate Change: Changing land fertility in the wake of climate change has caused widespread migration of populations. According to the Red Cross, such migration is leading to conflicts between settled and migrant populations.


Circular Agriculture: Agronomist Reginaldo Haslett-Marroquin has introduced regenerative poultry-centered agriculture, which focuses on managing the process of agriculture production to improve farm efficiency. The program is working with low-wage farmworkers, established farmers, food industry workers in the US, and smallholder farmers globally.

Striking “White Gold”: Farmers in Mali are adopting a new rice production method, the System of Rice Intensification, to boost productivity while reducing water input and improving crop resilience to climate change. The method offers a specific technique for planting and transplanting seeds, enriching the soil, and cultivating the rice that can be used on both irrigated and non-irrigated land—a benefit for farmers in Mali’s dry desert.


2019 Farm Forecasts: According to agricultural forecasters and farmers alike, the 2019 growing season is likely to be met with difficulties due to ongoing trade disputes, particularly with China. The impact of retaliatory tariffs has raised commodity prices, cutting into the costs of businesses to buy ordinary goods such as fertilizer and fuel.  An estimate by the Agriculture Department’s Economic Research Service indicates that the 2018 net farm income will be $9.8 billion lower than the previous year. Some agriculture economists are predicting farming incomes to fall again in 2019, should these trends continue.


Spoils of (Trade) War: Brazilian soybean farmers are reaping the benefits of the US-China trade disputes; US sales of soybeans to China are down 89 percent, while Brazil’s share of the market has increased 66 percent to fill the void.

A Step Towards Agreement: Japan has approved of two-way trade talks with the United States. While some analysts say that Japan’s willingness to negotiate was borne from US threats of automobile tariffs, Japanese officials maintain that the United States must respect their position on agricultural economic partnerships.
SEE ALSO: As Japan’s farmer population ages, some fear that the industry will be unable to hold its own in a competitive global market.


91st National FFA Convention
Date: October 24-27
Location: Indianapolis, IN
Food Loves Tech
Date: November 2-3
Location: Brooklyn, NY

International Forum on Food and Nutrition
Date: November 27-28
Location: Milan, Italy
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.