Recent collaboration between researchers at the Natural Resources Institute (NRI) and the University of Leeds has led to the publication of a new working paper in the NRI series on sustainability standards: 'A Review of the Literature and Knowledge of Standards and Certification Systems in Agricultural Production and Farming Systems'.
Bees are in crisis, and collapsing colonies and habitat loss threaten the pollination of some important crops. While much current research work focuses on bees, other pollinators, such as midges, which pollinate cocoa plants across the world, must not be forgotten.
Don Reynolds of the Natural Resources Institute (NRI) was part of a large international team, led by the Spanish ecologist Constanti Stefanescu, which was assembled to map the whole migration circuit of the Painted Lady butterfly in the Western Palaearctic Region.
Chris Atkinson joins NRI as Professor of Sustainable Agriculture and Climate Change following a distinguished research career at East Malling Research where he was a Senior Programme Leader and Deputy Chief Executive. During his time at East Malling Research, Chris successfully established a reputation in fruit science and initially worked on understanding the coordination of root and shoot growth in perennial crops, with a focus on rootstock.
Managing the nexus of supply and demand for wild harvested natural products: the lipid oils of Namibia
Lipid oils extracted from plants are particularly good for use in cosmetics because they are very stable and can therefore carry other oils without going rancid: which is not a desirable quality in a body butter! Two oils extracted from seeds of sustainably wild harvested plants in Northern Namibia show great commercial promise.
Biodiversity and associated indigenous knowledge around the world are eroding fast. The NRI project 'African Dryland Alliance for Pesticidal Plant Technologies' (ADAPPT) aims to bring together indigenous and scientific expertise to retain this knowledge and optimise the way farmers use plants for pest management.
Livestock can act as a potential pathway out of poverty for rural producers and other actors throughout the value chain, but it is dependent on market access. There has been a long history of successful export of non-livestock products from African countries to wealthier countries (particularly vegetables and flowers from East Africa), but there are relatively few examples of African countries exporting livestock products to more lucrative developed country markets.
Scientists from 42 countries around the world gathered in Nigeria for the 16th Triennial International Symposium of the International Society for Tropical Root Crops (ISTRC). Root and tuber crops are important for the diets and livelihoods of 2 billion people, the majority in developing countries.
NRI research confirms that there are tangible, significant and sometimes considerable economic, social, technical, organisational and empowerment benefits to smallholder families and estate workers in Malawi arising from Fairtrade certification. However this situation will only continue in the long term if the benefits are equitably distributed.