Category Archives: Trends

How private investment in food production can make the world less hungry

By Max Johnston

Food finances are tricky.

Funding food production in developing countries has been difficult for a number of reasons, according to Rebecca Toole, a policy expert in economics.

“Farmers may seem like risky borrowers,” Toole said. “They often don’t have a established credit history, they also might not have stores of capital they could use as collateral for loans.”

Heifer International, a global non-profit organization, uses something called impact investing. That’s where you have the private sector invest in food production, with a smaller relative return to their investment. Continue reading How private investment in food production can make the world less hungry

Professor wants to give farmers “magic wands”

By Max Johnston

If you had a magic wand that could make the world less hungry, what would you do? That’s the question David Kramer, professor of Photosynthesis and Bioenergetics at Michigan State University, is trying to answer. Kramer and his team have made a magic wand of sorts, the MultispeQ, a handheld device that measures a plant’s health.

98 percent of farms are less than ten acres, according to David Kramer, professor of Photosynthesis and Bioenergetics at Michigan State University. Continue reading Professor wants to give farmers “magic wands”

Herding up grasshoppers and locusts – to eat

The Kenyan researchers in this video are investigating the large scale use of insects as a source of protein.

The idea is to turn a food threat into a food source. They hope to  feed the insects to chickens that in turn provide eggs and meat to people. But they’re also investigating how to put a protein powder made from the insects directly into human food.

The supplement could help severely malnourished children and nursing women  while providing jobs for youth.  The insects mature quickly and contain amino acids essential to proper nutrition.

Related stories:

 

Zero-waste cassava processing improves nutrition, family life

Worldwide more than 800 million people consume cassava.

This project by the  Tanzania Industrial Research and Development Organization works to use every bit of the popular root vegetable that requires minimal rain.

Even cassava waste is used to produce bio gas to dry the plant’s flower during the night. It’s an energy source that supplements solar drying during the day.

The project benefits women  who are often responsible for growing and processing crops while caring for families.

Mobile network warns farmers of crop disasters, aids response

Researcher Ana Herrera explains a mobile technology network that helps farmers warn each other of pest and disease outbreaks and extreme weather.  The same system can deliver advice on how to handle such disasters directly to the farmers, and coordinate a response with experts in the field and government officials.

This Grameen Foundation project is supported by Michigan State University’s Global Center for Food Systems Innovation.

(A related story is here.)