Feeding a growing world poses complex challenges for which new technologies can help provide solutions. We share information on improved food production that is balanced with issues related to international trade, certification, animal welfare and health. We also share information on areas such as deforestation.
An unidentified object hovers over Nairobi's Nyayo Stadium during 2014's Jamuhuri Day celebrations. In a country that has had it's fair share of terror attacks, this sighting is met not so much with wonder as anxiety. The Chief of the Kenya Defense Forces immediately sets out to find who is behind it. It turns out to be a Kenyan media house capturing some aerial shots of the proceedings in advance of the President's arrival. Orders follow that the device be landed immediately. It is brought safely to the ground. What was the cause for all the fuss? A drone. Referred to in other quarters as an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAVs). A vehicle that could drive Kenyan agriculture into the future.
Orphfund is a small hardworking NGO where 100% of funds given go directly to their projects within Africa and Asia. Their focus is on helping children who are in the most need, orphans with no-one to care for them. They do this by building and developing Children's Villages which offer housing, schooling, water, sanitation, and training facilities. Working in areas like Sierra Leone Orphfund employ a number of cleanleap technologies to provide basic services like water and sanitation, through to solar power used to teach the children computers and sewing, through to farming to generate food and income.
The Hanging Gardens of Babylon. One of the seven wonders of the ancient world. Attributed to King Nebuchadnezzar II and described by writers of the time as a pensile paradise. Resembling large green mountains constructed of mud bricks; these gardens were the pride of the ancient Babylonians. Legend has it that the King created the gardens for his queen who missed the green hills and valleys of her homeland. Who would have thought that this gesture of affection would set the trend for modern agriculture today? Vertical farming, the act of growing food in high-rise buildings, could change the way we produce food in the future.
The FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations) recently launched an inaugural report providing an overview of the state of food security in Africa, as part of their State of Food Security in the World Series. The report provides some good indicators of food security and how Sub-Saharan Africa is tracking, whilst the statistics show some great positive trends there are still a large number of people that are undernourished.
Biofuels can help developing countries reduce carbon emissions, reduce over dependence on fossil fuels and increase energy security. However, this alternative must be pursued with care to reduce possibility of environmental degradation, deforestation, food shortages and high food prices. One way is to pursue second generation feedstocks. Limiting use of some food crops in biofuel production and mapping out areas for biofuel crop production can also prove helpful.
One evening, as Calvince Okello -the creator of M-shamba - was watching the news at the Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology where he studied biomechanical and processing engineering, a particular feature left him at his wits end. The Eastern part of Kenya was suffering from severe famine while the Western part had registered a bumper harvest with maize even rotting on farms. This stark contrast of pockets plenty amidst areas of serious lack was enough to push Calvince to think of a solution. He attended a lecture the following day that would set M-shamba in motion.
The World Bank (International Bank for Reconstruction and Development, IBRD) launched the Green Bond Impact Report in June 2015, with detailed information about the environment and social results expected from projects supported by its green bonds. The report provides an update on the progress of the 100 green bonds (US$8.4 billion) that have been issued to support projects aiming for low carbon and climate-ready growth in IBRD’s member countries.
Kenya is still in the throes of the genetically modified (GM) debate. The long-term safety of the consumption of GM foods has spurred Kenya into a state of caution from which it is yet to recover. But as Kenya continues to grapple with how best to grow her food, across the Atlantic someone is questioning the very need for food. Meet Robert Rhinehart. South Carolina based software engineer and creator of Soylent - a powdered meal replacement. All an average adult’s nutrition needs in one small bag, the food of the future.