A Modest Proposal for Feeding Africa

ID-100136355In his recently released annual letter, Bill Gates has made a series of “big bets” for development. One of these bets, that Africa will be able to feed itself by 2030, is a view I also share. But I don’t think we need a big bet to make it happen. Rather, I have a “modest proposal” that I believe can guide Africa towards a hunger and poverty-free future.  I call this a modest proposal, as the ingredients that will achieve food security in Africa are already known to us, and we already have parts of them working. Currently, average cereal yields in Africa are a little over over one tonne per hectare. In China, they are three and a half tonnes. Here in the UK it can be up to eight tonnes. Africa has places where European-level yields could be achieved. That is not the issue. It can be done, the question is how….

Gordon Conway writes for Huffington Post. Read the original post here

What we’ve been reading this week

This week’s summary on the news stories, reports and blogs that have grabbed our attention. We welcome your thoughts and comments on these articles.

 
Food Security and Nutrition and the Post-2015 Development Goals, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation

 
Food Giants Want ‘Sustainable’ Beef. But What Does That Mean?, The Salt

 
FAO: ‘Revolution’ in Agriculture Vital to Meet Food Targets, Voice of America

 
Meeting the Food Challenges of Tomorrow Through the Legacy of Borlaug, Roll Call

 
Climate Change Could Delay The Fight Against World Hunger For Decades: Report, Huffington Post

 
Ending hunger – the rich world holds the keys, The Ecologist [Read more…]

What we’ve been reading this week

This week’s summary on the news stories, reports and blogs that have grabbed our attention. We welcome your thoughts and comments on these articles.

Agriculture ‘neglected’ at UN climate talks – again, Thomson Reuters Foundation

Why Have Farmers Yet Again Been Forgotten at the UN Climate Talks?, Huffington Post

The adaptation advantage: the economic benefits of preparing small-scale farmers for climate change, IFAD

Ensuring food security for the future, SciDev.Net

Mega farms create mega problems, The Guardian

Bill Gates: Here’s My Plan to Improve Our World — And How You Can Help, Wired

Purdue researcher: Income to become dominant driver of global food system, Purdue University

Farmer’s Diary: How science is vital for future farmers, Daily Monitor

China and US can use biotechnology to end scourge of global hunger, Global Times

Climate-smart agriculture success stories, CGIAR

Playing the field: Corn likes to sleep around — and that makes it hard to control GMOs, Grist

Apprehension over GM crops misleading – African scientists, Nigerian Pilot

Researchers develop new approach to identify possible ecological effects of releasing genetically engineered insects, University of Minnesota

Not too late to get agriculture into 2015 climate deal – World Bank expert, Thomson Reuters Foundation

What we’ve been reading this week

This week’s summary on the news stories, reports and blogs that have grabbed our attention. We welcome your thoughts and comments on these articles.

Disturbing Report Highlights the State of the World’s Oceans, Green Africa Directory

Africa Week Recognizes Development, Governance Progress, IISD

Regional Economic Outlook: Sub-Saharan Africa, IMF

From Plates that Grow Food to Certified Cocoa: UN Awards Innovative Green Enterprises at Green Economy Symposium, SEED Initiative

UN highlights role of farming in closing emissions gap, BBC

Farmers dig into soil quality, Nature

An exclusive interview with Bill Gates, The Financial Times

FAO expects more balanced food markets, less price volatility, FAO

Climate Change Seen Posing Risk to Food Supplies, The New York Times

New Effort Launched to Measure and Monitor Global Food Loss and Waste, UNEP

Nitrogen fixation helps double some African farm yields, SciDev.Net

Crop pests spreading polewards under global warming, European Commission

Food waste: ‘Six meals a week’ thrown away by Britons, BBC

We’ll rise or fall on the quality of our soil, University of Witwatersrand, Johannesburg

How complexity thinking cut malnutrition in Vietnam by two thirds, From Poverty to Power, Duncan Green

What we’ve been reading this week

This week’s summary on the news stories, reports and blogs that have grabbed our attention. We welcome your thoughts and comments on these articles.

Food Security To Be At Centre Of Africa Development Agenda, World Food Programme

Vilsack Outlines Vision for Agricultural Solutions to Environmental Challenges, USDA

Nigeria, Brazil Partner On Food Production, Agricultural Technology Transfer, Ventures

Chart of the week: Africa’s growth / human development lag, Financial Times

Cutting Food Loss and Waste will Benefit People and the Environment, Says New Study on World Environment Day, UNEP

A Plea for Agricultural Innovation, Calestous Juma, Belfer Center

Bill Gates visits ICRISAT, ICRISAT

Population growth erodes sustainable energy gains – UN report, Thomson Reuters Foundation

Agricultural Productivity Will Rise to the Challenge, IEEE Spectrum

Chocolate Makers Fight for Farmers’ Loyalty, The Wall Street Journal

In Europe, Monsanto Backing Away From GMO Crops, The Huffington Post

Can market solutions unlock Africa’s agricultural potential?, Thomson Reuters Foundation

How We Can Eat Our Landscapes, Thinking Country

UN panel calls for end to extreme poverty by 2030 in roadmap for world’s top challenges, The Washington Post

Good news from the front lines of hunger, Ertharin Cousins

Commentary – Hay Festival 2013: Roger Thurow looks at the effects of famine, Global Food for Thought

What we’ve been reading this week

This week’s summary on the news stories, reports and blogs that have grabbed our attention. We welcome your thoughts and comments on these articles.

Africa leading the way, Impatient Optimists

Is it crazy to think we can eradicate poverty?, The New York Times

Guest post: to find African development, look for good governance by the sea, Financial Times

Bill Gates Joins Tony Blair in Praising Africa Economic Progress, Bloomberg

Open Data Opens Doors, Feed the Future

Food Biotechnology: A Communicator’s Guide to Improving Understanding, Food Insight

Encouraging signs of progress from Bonn climate talks, Thomson Reuters Foundation

GM crops: Promise and reality, Nature

Over half world’s population could depend on imported food by 2050, Environmental Research Web

Agriculture and Livestock Remain Major Sources of Greenhouse Gas Emissions, Worldwatch Institute

Agricultural intensification could run up high bills in the long-run, SciDev.Net

New GM crop wave may ease Frankenfood fright, Western Farm Press

The Expanding Role of Smallholder Farmers in Feeding the World, CSIS

Africa: Economists Warn of Gaps Amidst Africa’s Growth, All Africa

What we’ve been reading this week

This week’s summary on the news stories and blogs that have grabbed our attention. We welcome your thoughts and comments on these articles.

Talk point: is water a commodity or a human right?, The Guardian

Demystifying modern biotechnology, Modern Ghana

FAO leader calls for shift towards more sustainable food production and diet, Wageningen University and Research Centre (WUR) 95th Anniversary Symposium

Yes, I get furious when foreign aid is wasted. But Britons are saving lives… and are leading the world, says Bill Gates, Daily Mail

George Osborne declares ‘historic moment’ on UK aid target, The Guardian

Stop GM crops in Europe – new campaign launched, GM Watch

Food, fuel and plant nutrient use in the future, Council for Agricultural Science and Technology

GMO poll finds huge majority say foods should be labeled, Huffington Post

New metric to be launched on hunger and food insecurity, FAO

New EU policy to improve nutrition across the world and save millions of lives, EU

Connecting the dots between vaccines and hunger, The Guardian

Africa is on the rise – come see for yourselves, Financial Times

Aid for Trade: Reviewing EC and DFID Monitoring and Evaluation Practices, Traidcraft and CAFOD