Last week, the Chicago Council on Global Affairs posted a series of guest columns on the general theme of scientific innovation and technology. Monsanto’s Chief Technology Officer Robb Fraley was one of the five guest columnists. All of the columns contained solid information and ideas about agriculture, innovation, technology, nutrition, food, poverty, and farmers.
Dr. Maura O’Neill of the U.S. Agency for International Development discussed a number of innovative programs, some involving social media, in Coding for Hunger: Not Business as Usual. “What technology can do is bring information and tools to farmers, processors, and consumers in remote corners of the world,” she said.
Monsanto’s Robb Fraley discussed the promise that technology holds for increasing farmers’ yields in More Scientific Advances in Agriculture Show Strong Potential to Help Increase Farmers’ Yields. “Scientific innovations have led the way in revolutionizing agriculture,” he said, “such as the development of irrigation techniques, farm equipment, fertilization, and plant breeding.”
Dr. Manfred Eggersdorfer of DSM Nutritional Products highlighted the importance of vitamins and minerals in addressing hunger and poverty in Tackling Poverty with Nutrition Innovations. “Scientific innovation is unlocking better ways to provide vitamins and minerals to the two billion people worldwide who lack the micronutrients they need, a condition known as ‘hidden hunger,’” he said.
Dr. Alexandra Spieldoch of Compatible Technology International discussed a number of recent agricultural studies in Post-Harvest Technology Solutions: Think Big, Start Small, Scale Fast. “Technology, no matter how well-intended or innovative,”she said, “has to be designed to support local and regional food markets that make sense for the communities they are targeting.”
And Dr. Calestous Juma of Harvard University addressed the importance of innovation for the African continent in Biotechnology and Africa’s Strategic Interests. “The U.S. drought and the likely political ramifications serve as reminder of the urgency for African nations to define the use of emerging agricultural technologies as a central part of their national security,” he said.
For more information, visit the Chicago Council’s Global Agricultural Development site.