NRI has recently published the findings of a major four-year study (2009-2013) assessing the impact on poverty of voluntary sustainability standards such as Rainforest Alliance and Fairtrade. The study covered tea in Kenya and India, and cocoa in Ghana and Ecuador.
This year has proved another successful year for NRI and its contribution to sustainability within the University of Greenwich. For the third year running, NRI has been awarded the Gold Award for sustainability by the National Union of Students (NUS) annual Green Impact Awards in November.
Central to the issues of high levels of poverty in sub-Saharan Africa is low agricultural productivity. David Grzywacz, Steve Belmain and Phil Stevenson of NRI co-authored a paper just published in the journal 'Food Security', which explores how indigenous ecological resources could be of value in promoting better pest control as a means of reducing losses.
Results of a survey of smallholder cotton fields in the main growing area of Tanzania, that were afflicted with what appeared to be a new disease that caused premature defoliation of the crop, have revealed a hitherto unreported resolution of the cause of the mystery condition.
NRI has been working with the Food Research Agency (FRA) and the World Food Programme on a pilot project to improve, monitor and evaluate grain quality control and to develop a mobile data collection system in the Katete District of Eastern Zambia.
The EU FP7 GRATITUDE project, 'Gains from Losses of Root and Tuber Crops', recently held its midterm review at Plant Research International, Wageningen, Netherlands from 4 to 7 November 2013. It was attended by 15 members of the project, comprising project research area leaders, country managers and key experts within the project who travelled from Ghana, Nigeria, Thailand, Vietnam, UK, Portugal and the Netherlands. The EU was represented by their Scientific Officer and an external reviewer.
By popular request, after the success of the first biopesticide brokerage event for researchers and European crop protection companies, hosted in April this year at the University of Greenwich, the Enterprise Europe Network (EEN) is sponsoring a similar event on 10 April 2014.
NRI have begun work on a new project "Limiting the impact of cassava brown streak disease on smallholders, women and the cassava value chain", or "LimitCBSD", to mitigate the impact of virus diseases of cassava on farmers in eastern Africa. The project is funded by the African Union, and implemented in collaboration with local partners in Kenya, Tanzania and Malawi.