We need to involve more women in the agricultural sciences. Here’s how.

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The African Women in Agricultural Research and Development is a career-development program that equips the top women agricultural scientists across sub-Saharan Africa. Photo by: AWARD

“I would like to see the scientist working on beans; do you know where I can find him?” I got asked this question more times that I could count.

As a young female African researcher working in Malawi for an international agriculture research organization, my office was the first in a long corridor of offices where we were hosted by the National Research Organization. In the eyes of the regular visitors to the office, I did not fit the image of an agricultural scientist.

A recent study by the International Food Policy Research Institute shows that in 2014, only 24 percent of researchers working in the agricultural sciences were women, and only 17 percent of those in leadership positions were women in a sample of 40 sub-Saharan African countries. This matters because the evidence shows that better jobs for women in agriculture leads to higher wages and greater decision making — which ultimately has a positive impact on the ways households spend money on children’s nutrition, health, and education. Having more women in agricultural research also ensures that this workforce is representative of its client base: Smallholder farmers, the majority of whom are women.

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Robert Reeder on Protecting Banana Crops

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“Bananas, along with lots of crop plants are under threat from pests and diseases. The reason that bananas are particularly threatened is their lack of genetic diversity.”

Listen to CABI’s very own Rob Reeder talk to Greg Peterson on this podcast from The Urban Farm. Rob talks in detail about the increasing threat to the global banana crop industry but he also tells Greg all about Plantwise.

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Plant doctor workshop in Hangzhou, China, raises awareness of Plantwise training

A recent awareness raising workshop for the plant doctor training of Plantwise was held at the Zhejiang Agriculture and Forestry University (ZAFU) in Hangzhou in Eastern China. The meeting was aimed at raising awareness among university students, the private sector, and plant protection experts about plant doctor training and certification. About 70 participants were present including around 30 undergraduate and graduate students. It also helped to lay the foundations for potential collaboration between ZAFU, CABI and an agri-business company affiliated to the China Wisdom City Working Committee (CCIT).

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Developing pest-smart farmers in Cambodia

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Farmers attending a demonstration on ecological engineering in Rohal Suong Climate-Smart Village. Photo: A. Costa (CABI) view original

In Rohal Suong Climate-Smart Village, adoption of ecological engineering practices has improved farmers’ ability to prevent pests and diseases outbreaks while reducing pesticides use.

Every year, a great portion of Cambodian farmers’ income is at risk because of possible pests and diseases (P&D) outbreak. Aside from the inadequate knowledge of farmers, climate change aggravates the problem on managing P&D.

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