On June 20, Stephanie Schollaert Uz of NASA’s Food Security Office was part of an expert panel at the Congressional briefing: “Research, Technology, and “Bang for the Buck” in Global Agricultural Development.” The briefing was sponsored by the Senate Hunger Caucus and moderated by the Alliance to End Hunger, with introductory remarks by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations FAO and additional panelists from USAID, Mars, Inc., and ACDI VOCA. The briefing focused on how research and technology is improving global agricultural development and its potential role as a solution to food security challenges, especially for smallholder farms. Further technological advancements are paving the way for better outcomes at the household, community and national level.
The panel focused on unprecedented food security challenges around the world. Famine conditions have threatened South Sudan, Somalia, Yemen and northern Nigeria, with increasing stresses facing other countries as well. Global food insecurity recently increased for the first time in a decade, with millions requiring emergency assistance. While emergency need is clear, so is the critical need to utilize innovation to develop agriculture – especially for smallholder farmers – in order to build resilience against increasing threats of future shocks.
Alyssa Whitcraft, Michael Humber, and Estefania Puricelli of the NASA Harvest University of Maryland Hub had a table at the concurrent House Earth and Space Science Caucus’ annual exhibition on Capitol Hill. The theme for this year’s exhibition was “The Science of Food Security.” Other exhibitors included NSF, Esri, UCAR, and research universities. The Harvest team spoke with staffers and other attendees on how NASA data can be used for actionable information for farmers and policy makers.