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Queens Anniversary Prizes 2015

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NRI PhD student takes her research to Parliament

FrancesHawkes origParliamentarians will be presented today with a poster on malaria research by Frances Hawkes, a PhD student at the Natural Resources Institute. The presentation is part of the prestigious "SET for Britain" competition to encourage early-career research scientists, with prizes of up to £3,000.

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Beliefs, taboos and gender: the case of bambara groundnut in Malawi

bambara origBambara groundnut (Vigna subterranea), a greatly undervalued crop throughout sub-Saharan Africa, has been found to have a key role in belief systems across Malawi. The crop is highly important to women, who play a significant role in its production and marketing. This relationship provides both opportunities and risks associated with bambara groundnut development interventions, which are hitherto unrecorded.

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Bees get a buzz from caffeine

beecaffeine origYou may need a cup of coffee to kick start the day, but it seems honeybees also get their buzz from drinking flower nectar containing caffeine. Scientists have today shown that caffeine improves a honeybee's memory and could help the plant recruit more bees to spread its pollen.

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Helping farmers to deliver better quality grain

ProfHodgesAndDrStathers origProfessor Rick Hodges and Dr Tanya Stathers, of the Natural Resources Institute (NRI) have been working with the UN World Food Programme (WFP) to develop a "Training Manual for Improving Grain Postharvest Handling and Storage".

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Supporting ecosystem services in Fairtrade

ecosystem-services origCoinciding with Fairtrade Fortnight, Jeremy Haggar, department head of Agriculture, Health and Environment at the Natural Resources Institute (NRI) was invited to speak today at the Twin-Fairtrade conference 'Make Climate Change your Business, Concerning Solutions for Smallholder Supply Chains'.

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Financial services for smallholder farmers – expert from NRI talks at the Houses of Parliament

houses-of-parliament origIn the lead up to the G8 summit in June, Hanneke Lam, Economist at the Natural Resources Institute (NRI), gave a presentation yesterday at a Parliamentary hearing on 'Financial Services for Smallholder Farmers'.

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Adapting to climate change in Lesotho – the health issues

latrines-in-lesotho origNRI Professor Robert Cheke has written a report that will contribute to the Africa Adaptation Programme (AAP) of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) on the possible climate change effects on health in Lesotho.

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Mystery disease threatens cotton crops in Tanzania

cotton-smallholders origThe main cotton growing area in Tanzania has recently been affected by what appears to be a new disease, afflicting most of the crop in that area.

Temporarily named 'Premature Defoliation Syndrome' (PDS), the disease causes leaf distortion, where the leaves become red in colour and are prematurely shed. As these symptoms occur at the important boll forming stage of growth, PDS can cause a 100% loss of marketable yield.

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From orchards to vineyards - surviving climate change in the “Garden of England”: Professor shares his vision for the future of farming in Kent

prof-chris-atkinson origAgriculture in the "garden of England" may be dramatically different in the decades to come but, with the right planning, farmers will be able to adapt to the challenges of climate change. That's the message from Professor Chris Atkinson of the University of Greenwich who will be speaking at a special public event to mark Climate Week on Wednesday 6 March.

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New paper examines how a decline in UK winter chill will affect crops

frozen-orchard origA new paper examines the impact of declining winter chill on the production of temperate perennial crops in the northern hemisphere. Winter chilling is a measure of the requirement for a period of cool temperatures during dormancy, below a threshold temperature, to induce budding, flowering and setting fruit.

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