Food finances are tricky. For example, 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, has been using a method called ‘Impact Investing.’ That’s where you have the private sector invest in food production, with a smaller relative return to their investment.
Bill Foreman, spokesman for Heifer International, says the return can then be used for another investment.
“The idea is that you invest capital and you don’t really expect to get the same kind of return,” So we expect to get some capital back and then we use it for another project.”
In this episode of our ongoing series, "10 ideas to make the world less hungry,” we tackle the complicated issue of financing food, and the ideas that are making it possible.
There is a form of hunger afflicting people worldwide that you can’t see.
That’s called ‘hidden hunger’––when people may be eating regularly, but still suffer from deficiencies or malnutrition.
Hugo Campos is the director of research at the International Potato Center in Lima, Peru. He says that a process called biofortification may help.
That's when plant breeders grow crops with additional nutrition and vitamins. Biofortified crops are an effective way to tackle hiding hunger, Campos said.
“Someone might have a normal appearance, but [they] might have anemia issues, or [they] might not be receiving the right amount of content that’s really important for his or her health,” he said.
Biofortification has broad benefits.
“You develop varieties which are not only producing value for the farmer,” Campos says. “They produce value for the consumers.”
In this episode of our ongoing series, "10 ideas to make the world less hungry: Campos talks about the role biofortification plays in feeding the world.
There’s an application for buying, selling, dating, driving. How about one for saving food?
Olio is a free app on iPhone and Android that helps people share food. Co-founder Saasha Celestial-One wants Olio to lead the ‘Food Sharing Revolution.’
“We just want to seamlessly connect people everywhere to be able to share things, and that sharing becomes the new normal,” Celestial-One said.
Learn how the app works its inspiration and how the creators are cutting down on household food waste in this Food Fix interview with Celestia-One.
And check back Monday for a new idea in our series on how to make the world less hungry.
As part of our series, "10 ideas to make the world less hungry," Ben Muir talks to Bruno Basso, an ecosystem scientist at Michigan State University, about using legumes as a substitute for fertilizers.
Michigan State gave Basso the ‘innovation of the year award’ in 2016 for his work on crop-plant innovation and crop-plant management. He is now working with the U.N.'s Food and Agriculture Organization on innovative ways to quantify crop production at the end of each growing season.
Basso's idea to make the world less hungry is rooted in agronomy management.
Megan Konar, an assistant professor of civil and environmental engineering at the University of Illinois, studies the intersection of water, food and trade.
As part of our series, "10 ideas to make the world less hungry," Konar tells reporter Ben Muir that investing in infrastructure is critical.
In this episode of "10 ideas to make the world less hungry," reporter Ben Muir talks with Ellie Hollander, chief executive officer of Meals on Wheels America. The non-profit organization feeds people through more than 5,000 independent programs across the United States.
The struggle to hamper hunger begins with acknowledging “starvation as a pandemic behind closed doors,” she says. Rather than a new policy or innovation, fixing hunger might mean committing to ideas that already work.
Hollander thinks investing in Meals on Wheels to reach millions of homebound seniors is important.
By Max Johnston
One percent of food sent abroad by USAID is lost to food spoilage and spillage because of failed packaging, according to Mark Brennan, a researcher with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
That may sound insignificant, but it amounts to losing roughly 10,000 metric tons of food and countless dollars that could be invested in feeding hungry people.
In the first installment of the Food Fix's new series “10 ideas to make the world less hungry,” Brennan suggests new methods of packaging to reduce food spoilage.
“As this food kind of moves its way through the supply chain from farm to beneficiary you have instances of the bags breaking," he said. "You have also instances of things getting wet, of insects crawling into bags.”
Listen to his idea here.
And come back every Monday for the next installment of "10 ideas to make the world less hungry."
If you had a magic wand that could make the world less hungry, what would you do? That’s the question that 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.
“They don’t have access to these things, and how do we bring these tools to them?” Kramer said.
In this episode Kramer talks about his technology and the importance of getting tools like the MultispeQ in the hands of farmers.
Photos courtesy of Michigan State University’s DOE Plant Research Laboratory.
When geographer Joe Messina first analyzed satellite images of Malawi farm fields, he figured he had made a mistake.
Almost everywhere he looked he found maize harvest declines in the East African nation over the previous decade. But this was the site of the Malawi Miracle, a fertilizer subsidy program so successful that it was lauded by researchers in scientific journals and by writers in the New York Times and The Economist.
It became a model program used to justify similar enormous investments by the international community in other African nations.
“I assumed I was wrong,” said Messina, a researcher at Michigan State University’s Global Center for Food Systems Innovation.
And so began a detective story recently published in the journal Nature Plants. It is a story that doesn’t prove Messina wrong. Rather, it reveals a series of missteps, assumptions, faulty data and a desire to confirm success that led other researchers astray.
In Uganda, farmers in rain-fed agricultural communities depend on irrigation. Without irrigation, they battle with fluctuating and unpredictable weather conditions, droughts and flooding. Crops don't do well and yields are low.
Researcher Abraham Salomon, of the University of California-Davis, is working in eastern Uganda, collaborating with local farmers, social advocates, and engineers on flexible and community-managed irrigation interventions. They’ve been installing and maintaining adaptable irrigation systems that allows tomatoes, cabbage, beans and other vegetables to thrive in the dry seasons and the unpredictable rainy seasons.