Professor Bob Cheke and Sanyi Tang just been awarded a certificate for the top cited article in the Elsevier published journal "Mathematical Bioscience" between 2008 and 2010. The article entitled "Models for integrated pest control and their biological implications" (doi:10.1016/j.mbs.2008.06.008) examines the use of mathematical models to clarify and predict some of the key factors (including host-parasitoid ratios, starting densities, timings of parasitoid releases, dosages and timings of insecticide applications and levels of host-feeding and parasitism) on the stability of host-parasitoid systems.
For the last 15 years, Robert Cheke has been conducting research on the infamous pest, the Red-billed Quelea bird Quelea quelea. Known as "Africa's feathered locust" it is renowned for destroying millet, sorghum and rice crops throughout sub-Saharan Africa. Following a succession of DFID-sponsored projects, for the reports), Robert has just concluded work on a major EU-sponsored project as part of the SADC/ICART/CRARF programme on environmental impacts of Quelea control.
Like locust's and other plagues of biblical proportions, local rat populations can sometimes rapidly grow to epidemic proportions, causing untold destruction to people's livelihoods. NRI?s rodent expert, Dr Steve Belmain, has co-edited a book about these rodent outbreaks that has just been published by the International Rice Research Institute. The book can be freely accessed from IRRI's online library. Dr Belmain has been carrying out ecological research on rats and their management in Africa and Asia for many years and has been involved in recent research on outbreaks of rats in the Chittagong Hill Tracts of Bangladesh 1. The BBC Earth News website talks about Dr Belmain's research and the problems of rodent outbreaks.
NRI is assisting with the process of eliminating obsolete pesticides in Africa through its involvement in projects in Cameroon and Ethiopia. Obsolete pesticides are herbicides, fungicides, rodenticides, nematicides, insecticides, including pesticides for veterinary and public health applications, that can no longer be used because either:
World-wide agricultural advisory services have a new coordination body called the Global Forum for Rural Advisory Services (GFRAS). NRI was commissioned by GFRAS to carry out one of the first studies by this new organisation. The study was divided into an analysis of 17 extension evaluation case studies and a literature review of evaluation frameworks and methods relevant to agricultural advisory services. These two documents will be used to develop a practical 'toolbox' that will provide guidance to evaluation practitioners.
Sweet potato is a very valuable crop widely consumed in sub-Saharan Africa. Sun drying of sweet potatoes is a traditional practice. There are efforts through the HarvestPlus Challenge Program to promote the use of orange-fleshed varieties with high β-carotene content. The Natural Resources Institute of the University of Greenwich has been leading the product development, processing and marketing component of Reaching End Users Project of HarvestPlus.
The Royal Entomological Society (RES) has awarded an Honorary Fellowship of the Society to Chris Haines, Emeritus Professor of Post-Harvest Technology at NRI. The award is for Chris's long-term contribution to applied entomology during his career at NRI and for his services to the RES, especially in relation to his ongoing inputs to the RES's National Insect Week from 2004.
Release of Tomulabula in Uganda, the first ever sweet potato variety bred by participatory plant breeding
Participatory plant breeding (PPB) is an approach, developed over the last few decades, in which farmers and researchers work together closely, usually in the farmers′ environment and each leading in their area of expertise. It is particularly appropriate for developing new crop varieties for marginal agro-ecologies and for poorer farmers. Sweet potato is a crop grown mainly by poorer women farmers in Africa, primarily in their gardens as a food crop but also for minor trading.
The All Party Parliamentary Group on Agriculture and Food for Development was established in October 2008 in response to the food price spike of 2007/8. Formed by a small group of NGOs and interested Policy makers, NRI was one of the driving forces behind its establishment.
NRI researcher John Morton selected for key role in next report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)
NRI researcher John Morton has been selected for a key role in the next report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), due to appear in 2014. Together with Dr Purnamita Dasgupta of the Delhi-based Institute of Economic Growth, John will serve as Co-ordinating Lead Author for the chapter on Rural Areas in the second volume, to be entitled 'Climate Change 2013: Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability'.