Uber for Tractors is Really a Thing in Developing Countries

You’ve probably taken an Uber, Lyft, or Grab Taxi. You may have used AirBnb. You could’ve even used Task Rabbit. This is all part of the “sharing economy,” and regardless if you think its entrepreneurial or exploitative, it is now fully part of development country economies.

The Sharing Economy Has Even Come to Agriculture

Farm machinery is never cheap, and for many smallholder farmers, a simple tractor can be beyond their capacity to own and maintain. That’s where new services are allowing farmers to rent equipment from one another, reducing the cost of ownership and increasing access to needed farm machinery.

In Nigeria and Kenya, HelloTractor is creating tractor rental entrepreneurs. In Ghana, TroTro Tractor allows tractor owners to track machines in real-time. In India, Trringo is renting out all manner of farm machinery. In the Philippines, there are nascent efforts to start farm machinery sharing programs focusing on expensive rice harvesting equipment.

Foreign Food-Aid for School Kids Among Cuts Proposed for USDA

An international school food-aid program backed by former Democratic Senator George McGovern and Republican Senator Bob Dole would end under President Donald Trump’s budget blueprint, with the White House arguing its success isn’t proven.

The McGovern-Dole Food for Education program, created in 2000 after advocacy from both the South Dakota Democrat and Kansas Republican, both of whom had left office, “lacks evidence that it is being effectively implemented to reduce food insecurity,” the White House said Thursday in its “America First” budget blueprint request.

The program, routinely reauthorized with bipartisan support in U.S. farm bills, cost $195.5 million in the 2016 fiscal year. In that period it served meals to 2.22 million school-children in countries such as Cambodia, Ethiopia and Haiti, administered through partners including the UN World Food Program and CRS Students eat lunch at Ceramica primary school in the coastal city of Beira in Mozambique. Photograph: KPA/Zuma / Rex Features

Famine: what does it really mean and how do aid workers treat it?

Famine looms in Yemen, Nigeria, South Sudan and Somalia. The horrible, medieval fate of starving to death is once again a 21st-century reality. But what does the word famine actually mean and how do aid workers treat it?

For aid workers, famine is the extreme end of a long spectrum of what is know as food security – jargon for the level of physical and economic access a group of people have to adequate nutrition

Microbiome experts to speak at World Economic Forum

Three Cornell University faculty members are presenting ideas about tiny things to a gathering of influential thought leaders at the World Economic Forum in Davos Switzerland. Microbiomes, the combined genetic material of microorganisms in a  particular environment,  too small to be seen with the naked eye, are turning out to be very important in soil, animals and plants. “Microbes, in a sense, rule the world: In their multitudes, they help regulate our biosphere and have profound effects on plants and animals, and what our climate future will be like”  Daniel Buckley said.

To read more, go to: http://www.news.cornell.edu/stories/2017/01/microbiome-experts-speak-world-economic-forum

Open data aims to boost food security prospects

Rothamsted Research, a leading agricultural research institution, is attempting to make data from long-term experiments available to all. In partnership with a data consultancy, is it developing a method to make complex results accessible and useable. The institution is a member of the Godan Initiative that aims to make data available to the scientific community.

See full story at: http://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-37941196

Pope Francis set to visit UN Agency to push fight against hunger

ROME– Pope Francis is set to visit Rome’s World Food Program on June 13, the United Nations’ frontline agency that works to end world hunger.The Pope is going to speak to World Food Program because ‘he believes in the cause’ of thier organization.According to the UN’s agency, there are 795 million undernourished people in the world today, which means that one in nine people don’t have enough food to be healthy. Their website states that “hunger and malnutrition are in fact the number one risk to health worldwide — greater than AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis combined.”WFP also defines hunger as “entirely solvable” because “there’s enough food in the world to feed everyone and no scientific breakthroughs are needed.”“Today’s knowledge, tools and policies, combined with political will, can solve the problem” they claim.

May 28th is World Hunger Day!


Good nutrition – an adequate and well-balanced diet – is a cornerstone of good health. Better nutrition is related to improved infant child and maternal health, stronger immune systems and safer pregnancy and childbirth. People with adequate nutrition are more productive and can create opportunities to break the cycles of poverty and hunger. Experts agree that tackling malnutrition is not only the right thing to do, but it also makes economic sense.