Five invasive pests cost African economy $1 billion every year

Five invasive pests cost African economy $1 billion every year
New research by CABI reveals that just five invasive alien species are causing US$0.9 – 1.1 billion in economic losses to smallholder farmers across six eastern African countries each year, equating to 1.8% – 2.2% of total agricultural GDP for the region. These losses are expected to grow to $1.0 – 1.2 billion per year over the next 5-10 years, highlighting the urgent need for coordinated responses at regional, national and international levels.

New research published in the open-access journal Global Food Security estimates the alarming level of economic losses suffered by smallholder farmers each year in eastern Africa, to a handful of species that have become damaging crop pests since their introduction to the region. These few invasive species can have devastating impacts on important staples such as maize, but also high-value crops including tomatoes, peas and green beans.

Continue reading

Plantwise shortlisted for Olam Food Security Prize

Ghana2

The CABI-led Plantwise programme has been named as a finalist for the Olam Innovation in Food Security Award! This award ‘aims to recognize an outstanding innovation for its potential impact on the availability, affordability, accessibility or adequacy of food, as well as to support its further development.’ As a programme now working in 34 countries, this is also a recognition of the efforts of all the Plantwise supporters and partners- over 168 worldwide- who make this innovation approach a reality in policy and practice. Together we have reached over 2 million farmers with the timely plant health information they need to lose less, and feed more- and this is only the beginning. The final award winner will be announced on March 16. Read the full Plantwise story published on Farming First.

2013 Global Food Policy Report: Nutrition in the spotlight

The development community has increased its focus on improving nutrition © Steve Evans (CC BY)
The development community has increased its focus on improving nutrition © Steve Evans (CC BY)

Last month, the International Food Policy Research Institute released its 2013 Global Food Policy Report. This report is the third annual report in this series which aims to give an overview of the food policy developments that have affected food security that year. This includes a review of the key highlights of the previous 12 months, the challenges faced and the possible opportunities for food policy in the coming year.

In 2013, the focus of discussion on food policy moved further towards nutrition. With the Nutrition for Growth summit in June, the effort committed to tackling undernutrition gained momentum with more than US$23 billion being pledged by development partners.

Continue reading

Crop diversification finds home for ‘orphan crops’

Farmer from Teso. Knowledge of orphan crops should conserved © Bioversity International/ Y.Wachira
Farmer from Teso, Kenya. Indigenous knowledge of orphan crops should be conserved © Bioversity International/ Y.Wachira

The term ‘orphan crops’ refers to plant species and varieties that of recent decades have been ignored by governments, seed companies and scientists due to their limited importance in global markets. Instead, only a few major staples have been of interest. From fruits and vegetables to grains and nuts, many orphan crops are highly nutritious, resilient to climate extremes and are well adapted to marginal soils. They are therefore of great significance for food security and the generation of income to the world’s poorest communities.

Continue reading

UK Needs Increase In Agriculture Graduates To Tackle Global Food Security

Giving children the opportunity to learn more about insects at a young age may create the interest and enthusiasm required for a subsequent career in entomology. Photo taken at Penn State's Great Insect Fair, 2012 hosted by Penn State's College of Agricultural Sciences' Entomology Department © Penn State (CC-BY-NC 2.0)
Giving children the opportunity to learn more about insects at a young age may create the interest and enthusiasm required for a subsequent career in entomology. Photo taken at Penn State’s Great Insect Fair, 2012 hosted by Penn State’s College of Agricultural Sciences’ Entomology Department © Penn State (CC-BY-NC 2.0)

Increasing the production of food in an environmentally sustainable way is a major global issue. A report produced by the UK Cabinet Office in 2008 predicted that the global population will rise to 9 billion by 2050 from a current 6.8 billion. This increase in population will substantially increase demand for food, with food production needing to increase by 70% in the next 40 years whilst using the same agricultural footprint and without depleting natural resources. This challenge will require collaboration between universities, research institutes and industry in order to make the considerable advances in technology required to feed a growing population. There is now increasing concern that there are too few specialist graduates in the UK with the expert knowledge and skills required to tackle the issues surrounding global food security.

Continue reading

Plantwise Photo Of The Month – July

A photograph taken at the Plantwise stand at the 18th CABI Review Conference which took place in Oxford from the 27-28th June. Director of the Plantwise Knowledge Bank, Shaun Hobbs, is pictured to the left addressing delegates at the stand. Image © CABI
A photograph taken at the Knowledge Bank stand at the 18th CABI Review Conference which took place in Oxford from the 27-28th June. Director of the Plantwise Knowledge Bank, Shaun Hobbs, is pictured to the left addressing delegates at the stand. Image © CABI

This photo shows the Plantwise Knowledge Bank booth at the CABI Review Conference 2013, which took place from the 27-28th June in Oxford, UK. 70 delegates from 36 countries attended the review conference, in which research priorities aimed at protecting global food supply were discussed.

To find out more about the review conference you can watch this video