Successful partnerships must start at the farm gate

The annual European Development Days, held in Brussels 7-8 June this year, showcase Europe’s commitment to building a sustainable and fairer world. The forum builds on the core belief that cooperation is key to achieve real change towards a poverty-free and sustainable world where everyone has the prospect for a decent life. At this year’s conference, CABI hosted a panel discussion which drew together a group of food security and agricultural experts to share their experiences of how partnerships supports smallholder farmers.

The panel included Dr Roberto Ridolfi from the European Commission’s DG DEVCO, representing the donor perspective; Maaike Groot from East-West Seed, representing the private sector; Henry Msatilomo from Malawi’s Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development, representing the public sector; and Plantwise‘s Dr Washington Otieno, representing the non-profit and NGO sector. The discussion was moderated by CABI’s Nick Perkins, former director of SciDev.Net.

Listen to their discussion below (starting at 10:50), and read a summary after the break.

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South-South collaboration helps in the fight against invasive pests

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Tuta absoluta on tomato (Photo credit: Elizabeth Maina)

Invasive species cause widespread devastation and huge economic losses to smallholder farmers across the world, especially in sub-Saharan in Africa. Invasive species not only directly undermine farmer’s ability to achieve food security, they also affect smallholder agribusiness making farmers unable to link to profitable food value chains and international agricultural trade networks.

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Plantwise wins the 2017 Bond Development Award for Innovation

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CABI’s Paul Day and Marin Hirschfeld (2nd and 3rd from left) accepting the award on behalf of Plantwise (Photo: Bond)

Bond, a UK association promoting, supporting and representing the work of international development organisations, announced the CABI-led Plantwise programme as the joint winner of its 2017 Innovation Award. The award showcases organisations, coalitions or initiatives that are taking inventive approaches as they chart a course through a complex and changing external environment in international development.

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Tune in to the Cassava show

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Farmer listening group; photo David Onyango, CABI

Last week in the Nkhotakota region of Malawi a new radio show went on air. Not a news programme or a music show, but a show devoted to Cassava. Sounds pretty specific? Well, it’s even more focussed than that. The weekly 30 minute programme is actually focussed on managing one of Cassava’s most damaging diseases – Cassava mosaic disease.

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CABI’s Dr Kuhlmann talks plant health innovation at G20 Agricultural Chief Scientists meeting

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Yesterday, CABI’s Executive Director of Global Operations, Dr Ulrich Kuhlmann, spoke about the importance of agricultural innovation and sharing plant health knowledge at the 5th meeting of the G20 Agricultural Chief Scientists (MACS). As the host country, China chaired the meeting. The G20 MACS took place in Xi’an on 30-31 May 2016, with representatives from G20 countries, as well as international organizations for agricultural research and international development, attending to discuss matters of global food security.

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Plantwise wins the OECD DAC Prize 2015

OECD DAC Prize 2015
From left: Jury member Andrew Wyckoff (OECD), CABI’s Janny Vos and Marin Hirschfeld; and jury member Julius Akinyemi (MIT). Photo © OECD

The CABI-led Plantwise programme this week won the OECD Development Assistance Committee’s Prize 2015 for innovation. The award recognises initiatives that take innovative approaches to international development, scaling up pilot projects and applying them more widely. Over the past five years, Plantwise has grown to reach over four million farmers in 34 countries, helping them to lose less and feed more. Plantwise was announced OECD DAC Prize winner at a ceremony at the OECD headquarters in Paris on 9 March.

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Farmer Health: A Case Against Pesticides

Guest blog by Julie Potyraj; read her previous post on community health here

82074_01.jpgFor most of us, the point of choosing sustainably grown foods is to protect our own health and to minimize environmental damage. While these are important reasons for making better choices at the grocery store, what about the human side and the health of those who labor in the fields of the world? Can selecting foods that are grown more sustainably with methods such as integrated crop management also be more ethical?

To answer that question, we must start with the number 1.3 billion. That’s how many agricultural laborers there are in the world. Of that number, up to 41 million are affected every year as a result of pesticide poisoning. That means 32% of this group are harmed by the use of pesticides ever year. Continue reading