A special issue of the international peer reviewed journal 'Food Chain' has been guest edited by Valerie Nelson from the Natural Resources Institute. February's 'Food Chain' issue brings together a series of articles that draw on new research on the impact of Fairtrade, with a focus on Nicaragua, Malawi, Kenya and South Africa.
A processing facility for indigenous natural products and a visitors' centre were opened at Opuwo in the Kunene region of Namibia recently as part of the Millennium Challenge Account-Namibia (MCA-Namibia) project, to which NRI provides technical support. It is the first facility of this nature in Namibia.
One year on from our last report on the Gates Foundation funded yam project in West Africa; Yam Improvement for Income and Food Security in West Africa (YIIFSWA), all project partners gathered at International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) in Ibadan, Nigeria for a mid-project progress and planning workshop from 17-21 February 2014.
For International Women's Day 2014, NRI would like to draw attention to the critical issue of women's land rights. Women's secure land rights are also important in enabling women to access finance, agricultural inputs and services, along with social status and resilience to hunger and poverty.
In spite of advances in crop protection, losses caused by pests, diseases and weeds remain stubbornly high. The situation is worse in developing countries where average annual crop losses have been shown to be between 40-50%, compared with 25-30% in high-income countries.
The effectiveness of using fertility control to limit the serious threat to agriculture caused by rodents is to be investigated in a new project led by NRI with partners from the Pest Management Centre, Sokoine University of Agriculture, Tanzania and the Institute of Zoology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, China. It is argued that fertility control is a major technological advance that is more ecologically sound, humane, safe and cost effective when compared to existing poison control methods.
NRI is implementing a European Union funded research project to 're-engineer' traditional African foods for international markets. Along with partners in France, Portugal, Italy, Ghana, Nigeria, Senegal, Benin, Cameroon, Madagascar, Egypt and South Africa, NRI looks at how selected African products could be improved to fit into the European market and meet consumer preference.