Global Agricultural Market
In July 2017, the United Nations and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) published the 2017-2026 OECD-FAO Agricultural Outlook. The report predicted many positive developments in the global agricultural market for the next decade. Most important among these were lower food prices, increased productivity and reduced malnutrition.

According to the report, recent government initiatives and market changes are likely to create higher availability of nutritious food; stable food prices; high production rates of maize, meat and dairy; and lower demand for food. This high level of production can be achieved through significantly higher crop yields, using only slightly more land. As demand in developed countries lowers and crop yields increase, developing countries will be able to attain higher-calorie, nutritious diets.

While these predictions suggest a decade of stability for the global agricultural market, they can only be achieved with constant government upkeep and a continued focus on developing nations and environmental impact. According to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization, about one in nine people globally were suffering from chronic undernourishment from 2014 to 2016. Additionally, many of the production techniques in developing countries are beginning to deplete natural resources. Consequently, creative and sustainable production and trade practices need more attention in order to improve food access and alleviate pressure on natural resources.

Although the Agricultural Outlook report focuses on the global agricultural market, the end of the report looks particularly at sustainability issues in Southeast Asia. The region had a significant amount of economic growth in the past few years, primarily due to the booming agriculture and fish sectors. This growth helped address undernourishment in the area.

However, such immense growth in these sectors put a significant amount of strain on the environment. Because of this, the next decade will require a scaling-back of the fishing and palm-oil exports from the region. According to the report, “improved resource management and increased [research and development] will be needed to achieve sustainable productivity growth.” For example, the report suggests expanding the rice industry to promote diversification.

Essentially, the report states that while the global agricultural market is looking towards a period of stability and low cost, maintaining this requires a watchful eye. OECD Secretary-General Angel Gurría stated, “unexpected events can easily take markets away from these central trends, so it is essential that governments continue joint efforts to provide stability to world food markets.”

Julia Morrison

Photo: Flickr

business solution
Almost three billion people live on less than $2 dollars per day. Paul Polak, one of the co-authors of the Business Solution to Poverty: Designing Products and Services for Three Billion New Customers (Berrett-Koehler Publishers 2013), believes that social entrepreneurship is the solution to ending global poverty.

From a marketing standpoint, those 2.8 billion people represent an enormous international market that is not being utilized in the economy. Innovation and technological advancements in the world of supply and demand could put products on the market that are affordable to those nearly three billion people. With a market of that size, anyone is bound to enjoy capital gain as well as improve the lives of countless people in need.

Author Paul Polak founded a business to sell cheap irrigation pumps to farmers in Bangladesh to increase their access to clean, healthy drinking water. The market for the water pumps raised the average income of the farmers by $150 million dollars a year. Contaminated water systems spread disease quickly to a massive amount of people, contributing to the ‘water crisis’ that plagues societies around the world.

What is the water crisis? Countries with no access to clean water are more heavily riddled with disease, rendering them unable to work and contribute to the economy. Medical treatment is expensive even for people who are working, so the inability to work combined with the need for disease treatment puts a heavy financial strain on a massive number of people- all because their drinking water is basically poisoning them. Unclean water spreads disease and consequently causes the economy to get stuck in a downward spiral deeper into poverty and distress. Of the 3.4 million water, sanitation, and hygiene-related deaths that occur annually, 99%  in the developing world.

Polak believes that selling affordable products that improve the lives of people in developing countries could benefit both the entrepreneurs marketing these products and the customers who are buying them. The Business Solution to Poverty outlines how companies focusing on the market in developing countries could bring an end to global poverty in approximately 30 years.

Another book called, “Thirty Years to Peace,” that more extensively details the business solution to global poverty timeline, is reported to be released in the next year. America has the wealth and manpower to launch these initiatives and the fact that it is a hugely profitable market should make it attractive to executives across the nation. There is no downside to ending global poverty through business ventures.

– Kaitlin Sutherby

Sources: Philstar, Project Humanity, Forbes


The SMS revolution seems to have been a product of the earlier decades of the mobile phone industry. In many developing countries however, its use has gone far beyond sending a simple text message or smiley face. M-Farm is a company that offers Kenyan farmers quick and cheap access to real time prices for different crops.

Why M-Farm is so revolutionary is because it eliminates the middlemen whose selective naming of prices usually leaves the farmers shorthanded. M-Farm uses the prices put out by the Ministry of Agriculture as well as the going rates in five different markets throughout Kenya to create a collective list of prices. By texting their name, location, and crop name to 3555, farmers first see the going rates and can then select to sell their own crops on the M-Farm market. Not only can farmers see the prices for crops but also gain access to a competitive market for farming supplies.

The company also publishes graphs that illustrate trends for different crops, blogs, and articles regarding different farming techniques and practices, and creates an online and mobile community for farmers to communicate with one another to share ideas and experiences.

It may come as a surprise to many but cell phone use even in a developing country such as Kenya is widespread. Although one may not see Apple iPhones or Android phones in the hands of an average Kenyan, software and apps such as M-Farm are so successful because they do not require internet access. Communication is established through text messaging and this free service will expand Kenya’s agricultural market and economy.

– Deena Dulgerian

Source: M-Farm