Food systems must be transformed to produce more nutritious food with a lower environmental footprint. There are a number of initiatives around the world working towards this end. Here are just five that use different kinds of science—from smart approaches to breeding livestock and crops to recycling wastewater—that could help humans settle their growing debt to the planet.
The implementation of effective mitigation strategies relies on accurate GHG emission data. But what if the underlying assumptions upon which these GHG emission estimates are based are inaccurate?
More than 2,250 pastoralists received insurance payouts following the extremely poor rains this year in southern Ethiopia. Low levels of rainfall have led to the loss of approximately 300,000 livestock in 2017 in the Borana zone of the southern Oromia region. The insurance payouts of more than ETB5.233 million (USD220,000) was the largest-ever micro-insurance indemnity made in Ethiopia. Each insured pastoralist received an average of ETB2,255 (USD96), which will allow the herders to purchase feeds for their surviving animals and to restock their herds.
More than Ksh214 million is on tap for 12,000 pastoral households in six counties of northern Kenya through innovative policies that use satellite imagery to trigger payments for feed, veterinary supplies and water.
In 2015–2016, the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) and partners revealed extraordinary findings that the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from cattle in Kenya maybe up to 10 times lower than previous estimates, clearly making the case for improving Africa-specific understanding of GHG emissions to develop better-targeted climate change mitigation and adaption strategies.
The following are highlights of a new CGIAR paper advancing ways to make agricultural science make a bigger difference to development outcomes. We describe a theory-of-change approach to an agricultural research for development program.
Insurance that pays out when forage coverage drops—known as index-based livestock insurance—is an elegant idea. Andrew Mude, an economist and principal scientist at ILRI, last month was awarded the Norman Borlaug Award for Field Research and Application. The award, a major prize in agricultural research, is given by the World Food Prize Foundation and financed by the Rockefeller Foundation. Tina Rosenberg covers the story in the New York Times.