The 16th Triennial Symposium of the International Society Tropical Root Crops (ISTRC) this week is hosted by the Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta, Nigeria. More than 300 root and tuber crops scientists will attend the meeting to share important new discoveries from their recent work on these commodities which are important to the livelihoods of many millions of people around the world. Professor Andrew Westby, Director of NRI, comments as follows:
New EU-funded research project to provide knowledge that will help African farmers and processors benefit from cassava market development.
Experts at the Natural Resources Institute (NRI) are leading a major new project that will deliver knowledge to support the development of markets for cassava products in sub-Saharan Africa. The Cassava Growth Markets Project (CassavaGMarkets) project aims to address some of the key researchable issues that will allow smallholder cassava farmers and processors to improve their incomes from sales of processed cassava products.
Don Reynolds, a scientist at the Natural Resources Institute (NRI), together with colleagues from Rothamsted Research, the UK Met Office and the Universities of Exeter, Oxford, York and Lund (Sweden), have published a paper in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences that reveals a fundamental shift in our understanding of insect migration to northern latitudes.
A joint report by the Natural Resources Institute (NRI) and Concern Worldwide, calling for more targeted investment in agriculture for the poorest and most vulnerable farmers, was launched last year at the Houses of Parliament. In July this year, a version of the report was launched in Rwanda, translated into Kinyarwanda, the language spoken by over 12 million people in the country.
Monday August 20th is World Mosquito Day, celebrating the discovery of the role mosquitoes play in malaria transmission. On this day in 1897, Sir Ronald Ross made a breakthrough that would later earn him a Nobel prize in medicine when he found malaria parasites within dissected mosquitoes of the genus Anopheles. By identifying how the disease was spread from person to person, Ross opened the way for the possibility of reducing the risk of infection by controlling the mosquito vector.
Frances Hawkes, a PhD researcher at the Natural Resources Institute (NRI), is the first winner of the University of Greenwich 'Student of the Year' award. The energy she has put in to the University and the community of Medway has contributed to improving the University's environment, the well-being of local children and the community as a whole.
Roughly one third of the food produced in the world for human consumption every year (approximately 1.3 billion tonnes) is wasted. A policy briefing in Brussels on June 26th on 'food losses and food waste' addressed some of the concerns that revolve around global hunger, food security, sustainability and waste recovery.
Smallholder farmers and other poor rural people in developing countries, such as pastoralists and artisanal fisherfolk, are expected to suffer some of the worst impacts of climate change in the decades to come. Many of these people already live with climate variability and the recurrence of extreme climate events – droughts, floods and tropical storms. Determining the precise relation of these regional patterns to global climate change is a complex and important task, but it can generally be expected that current patterns of extreme climate will intensify, while longer-term shifts in temperature and rainfall come into play.
At the Global Cassava Partnership meeting for the 21st Century (GCP21) in Kampala, Uganda on June 20th, Dr Mike Thresh, Emeritus Professor of Plant Virus Ecology of the Natural Resources Institute (NRI) received the Golden Cassava Award in recognition of his longstanding scientific contributions to understanding and building awareness of cassava diseases.
In many European countries today, the systematic use of pesticides is questioned because of their undesirable negative effects on ecosystems, animal species, and human health. As a result, in 2009 the European Parliament approved new European Union pesticides legislation that will see some 'active substances' (the chemical ingredients of pesticides) banned; in particular, the highly toxic chemicals that are known to cause cancer.