This year is the International Year of Water Cooperation. While global experts met in Stockholm last week to discuss the future of water management through cooperation, we reflect on NRI's recent research in water management.
NRI has been awarded a €1.4m grant to regenerate the coffee production capacity of Sierra Leone through replanting and rehabilitating abandoned plantations with the collaboration of farmer associations, cooperatives, traders and the government. Over the next 3 years, the 'Robusta Coffee Development Project' aims to improve the livelihoods of about 10,000 farmers in Sierra Leone through improved productivity and access to markets.
Sorry, apologies for the deliberate spelling mistake in the title, but now that we have your attention let's talk about producing fine sweet potato vines. More specifically about a new project funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (US$1.5m) to improve quality and enhance commercialisation of sweet potato vine multiplication in Northern Uganda and areas centred around Gairo and Shinyanga in Tanzania.
Irene Carvalho, a PhD student from Lund University, Sweden, is currently visiting NRI and is working with Aurélie Bechoff, Food Technologist and recent winner of the Early Career Research Excellence award.
Dr Susan Seal, molecular plant pathologist at NRI, was presented an award for the impact of her work on society and developing countries at the 25th Anniversary Symposium of The Sainsbury Laboratory, Norwich, UK on 24 June 2013.
NRI and its predecessor organisations have supported cotton research and development in Africa for a century or more. Rory Hillocks who joined NRI in 1995, after a period of 13 years working in Africa as a cotton scientist on British Government supported cotton projects, has written a book which follows the history of cotton development in Anglophone countries of sub-Saharan Africa.
The role of Fairtrade in improving the well-being of small-scale producers is widely recognised, however there has not yet been a systematic study of how and why Fairtrade companies are investing in environmental sustainability of their producers to ensure the provision of ecosystem services.
Food security expert Professor John Porter, who specialises in crop and ecosystem services, has been newly appointed to the Natural Resources Institute (NRI) as Professor of Agriculture and Climate Change.
The Liverpool-born professor said he was privileged to take up his position, working alongside eminent professors including John Morton, a fellow co-ordinating lead author for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.