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NRI signs cooperation agreement with EMBRAPA, Brazilian Agricultural Research Corporation

Diversity cassava products 750Cassava, a root crop that is hugely important for food security across Africa, is believed to have originated in Brazil where it is known as ‘mandioca’. Over centuries, Brazilians have developed a complex culture and cuisine around its use with many novel foods and processes that are unknown in other countries.

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People. Planet. Food. Get involved: MScs at NRI

MSc Sustainable Environmental Management 750Think ‘climate change’ and you might not necessarily envisage your favourite food. But if you care about the food on your plate, then caring about climate change would be a smart move.

By studying at the Natural Resources Institute (NRI), you can work towards a world-changing career in food, environment, agriculture or sustainable development. You can discover how climate change impacts on our food supply, and help devise solutions to this and other global challenges – another smart move.

Part of the University of Greenwich, NRI has a range of programmes starting in September or January, providing a world of opportunity for those looking to enhance their career in the UK or overseas.

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Greenwich’s first Three Minute Thesis competition at Faculty of Engineering and Science

3MT 01 750PhD research at the Faculty of Engineering and Science is changing the world – but how? In essence, this was the question being answered by participants in the University of Greenwich’s first ever ‘Three Minute Thesis’ competition on 10th July 2017. Faculty doctoral students responded to the challenge by explaining their research creatively, in language appropriate to a non-specialist audience, in just 180 seconds. That’s years of study, work and roughly 80,000 words of a dissertation distilled down to its purest form. How did they do it?

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Nutrition champion Howarth Bouis honoured by University of Greenwich

HowarthBouis1 750‘Hidden hunger’ occurs when people lack the essential vitamins and minerals needed for a full and healthy life. Around two billion people worldwide are affected by hidden hunger. Visionary economist Dr Howarth Bouis saw that one way to mitigate this problem was through ‘biofortification’ – the conventional breeding of crops with higher levels of essential micronutrients – and so founded the HarvestPlus programme, for which he is currently Ambassador-at-large. The mission of this CGIAR programme is to develop and scale up the delivery of biofortified nutritious crops and to provide global leadership on biofortification evidence and technology. Dr Bouis is being honoured by the University of Greenwich for his dedication, commitment and pioneering work to end global hidden hunger. In a ceremony at Rochester Cathedral on 27th July, he received the degree of Honorary Doctor of Science (HonDSc).

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NRI in major new project managing trade-offs in African agriculture

Ethiopia5 G Smith CIAT 750Finding a compromise in most situations can be complicated. But when the two sides involved represent hunger on one side, and our ecosystems on the other – life itself hangs in the balance. This scenario constitutes one of the major challenges facing the world today: the need to provide safe and nutritious food for a growing population, whilst protecting the natural environment, and doing so without increasing inequalities. This challenge is the subject of a new interdisciplinary project called ‘Social and Environmental Trade-offs in African Agriculture’ (SENTINEL), awarded under the ‘Global Challenges Research Fund’ (GCRF) – a £1.5 billion fund supported by the UK Government and implemented through Research Councils UK.

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Food security on the table as pioneering project estimates nutritional losses

A Bechoff mango waste 750Food lost or wasted after harvest adds up to 1.3 billion tonnes every year. These postharvest losses have a major impact on food security, especially for people in the developing world. Food security is not only about people’s access to food, but about ensuring that the food they eat is nutritious.

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World Malaria Day 2017: Double award for mosquito trap as new project launched and video triumphs

mosquito 01 750Today, 25th April, is World Malaria Day – an international observance day led by the World Health Organisation to recognise global efforts to control malaria. It is fitting that this year’s theme highlights malaria prevention, as a team of researchers led by NRI begins testing a mosquito trap that exploits the very blood-seeking behaviour of mosquitoes that makes them such good carriers of disease. This pioneering trap is the subject of a new Medical Research Council (MRC) grant, and was showcased in a short film which this afternoon won the video segment of a contest run by the Swiss Malaria Group. Dr Frances Hawkes, Research Fellow at NRI, attended the award ceremony in Geneva, Switzerland. This short film, and a full-length documentary shown on BBC television, were made by Steve Holloway and Judy Aslett of Streamline Productions. “Winning this video competition means that the reality of malaria is shared with a whole new audience,” says Dr Hawkes, “and underlines the importance of international collaboration in research to monitor and control malaria-spreading mosquitoes.”

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Fairtrade impacts on coffee farmers: NRI’s in-depth evaluation published

coffee 1149983 750Decaf or full strength…medium-body or dark roast…blend or single origin? There is no shortage of choice when it comes to buying coffee. We can even choose how our coffee was grown or traded by buying products that are certified organic or ‘Fairtrade’. Fairtrade aims to ensure better prices, decent working conditions, local sustainability and fair terms of trade for farmers and workers in the developing world. So, what impact does the Fairtrade system have on coffee farmers and farmer organisations? In 2013, Fairtrade International, the body that develops the Fairtrade standards for products and operates global certification and auditing systems, commissioned a study to find the answer to this question. NRI led the research for this study, carrying out fieldwork in four coffee-producing countries together with a team of international researchers. The findings of their in-depth evaluation were recently published by Fairtrade.

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Developing and integrating biopesticides: discover more at free Greenwich event

Arusha1 S Arnold 750Calling all farmers, growers, researchers, manufacturers and suppliers: with growing pressure to reduce reliance on chemical pesticides, now is the time to discover the latest advances in Integrated Pest Management (IPM) and biopesticide technology. Attend the free Biopesticides Event at the University of Greenwich, London, on 20th April where you can listen to and meet specialists from across the sector.

Sign up to the event here.

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The solution’s in the bag: NRI success in Rockefeller Foundation Cassava Innovation Challenge

2.Cassava field roots L.Sanni Nigeria A Graffham 690Fresh cassava rots all too quickly, with roots beginning to deteriorate within 24–72 hours after harvest. This is a huge problem in sub-Saharan Africa, where 500 million people rely on the crop for food security and nutrition, and where up to 40% of cassava is lost to spoilage. This ‘short shelf life’ was the focus of the Cassava Innovation Challenge launched in 2016 by the Rockefeller Foundation, Dalberg, and the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA). NRI and partners from the Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta (FUNAAB), Nigeria, took on the challenge and came up with the most promising solution: the ‘NRIcassavabag’, a bag with a built-in curing technology that will keep cassava fresh for at least eight days after harvest.

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