Bursary improves cross-CABI collaboration for more effective international development work

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CABI bursary: seconded Mariya Iqbal and Gareth Dicks from CABI UK with CABI knowledge tool users from the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences and the MARA-CABI Joint Laboratory for Biosafety in Beijing.

By Dr Stefan Toepfer, CABI

A strength of CABI is its work on a global scale addressing global and local problems in agriculture. CABI can rely on its network of experts among various CABI centres, laboratories, project offices in many countries and world regions. To maintain this strength, a CABI Development Bursary was created to aid new experts to visit other CABI centres.

This year, CABI UK-based Gareth Dicks from the Product Development team and Mariya Iqbal from the Plantwise Knowledge Bank team visited CABI East Asia as well as the MARA-CABI Joint Laboratory for Biosafety in Beijing.

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How African Indigenous Vegetables production in Uganda revealed empowered women but struggles in the private sector

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African Indigenous Vegetables (AIVs) are a good source of essential vitamins and minerals including micro-nutrients, supplementary protein, fibre, and calories. However, despite their nutritional value, these vegetables have not been a high priority in food programmes. As a result, adequate resources have historically not been allocated to promote their production and consumption. This compounds the issue of hidden hunger – a lack of vitamins and minerals that often has no visible signs – in Africa.

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Travel and sociocultural sustainability. A perspective from religious tourism and pilgrimage

By Neus Crous-Costa

Tourism these days is not only a fast-growing industry worldwide, which carries blessings as well as undesired effects, it is also a field that is receiving more and more attention from a myriad of academic perspectives. It is no secret that travel and tourism are of a cross-disciplinary nature, since they have impacts at all levels: ecological, cultural and social, economic and political. Of course, this works in both directions.

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Ortodox Cathedral – Iasi Romania

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Field trials of biocontrol product are paving way for aflatoxins control in Pakistan

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Team involved in collection of pre and post application samples of AflaPak™.

By Dr Sabyan Faris Honey, CABI, and Deborah Hamilton, USDA

CABI as lead implementing partner along with its technical partner, Pakistan Agricultural Research Council (PARC) is working on a public-private partnership program led by U.S. company, Ingredion and its Pakistani subsidiary, Rafhan Maize to protect health and nutrition of Pakistan’s citizens by keeping food supply aflatoxin free.

Aflatoxin, produced by a poisonous fungus, is a serious threat to food security by contaminating many of Pakistan’s agricultural products, including cereal grains, chilies, dry fruits and nuts, and milk. Indeed, the average contamination in wheat and maize in Pakistan, for example, is five and sixty times, respectively, the level permitted in the US.

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From Islamabad to Egham: Sharing quarantine best practice to fight Parthenium weed in Pakistan

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Biocontrol Research Officer Dr Kazam Ali from Islamabad has undergone an intensive week-long quarantine management course delivered by CABI colleagues in Egham, UK, as part of a joint focus on fighting the highly invasive and destructive Parthenium weed in Pakistan.

Dr Ali, who works at a new quarantine facility built to create greater capacity for Parthenium research at CABI’s Central and Western Asia (CWA) offices and laboratories in Rawalpindi, learnt a range of certified quarantine procedures and protocols followed at CABI Egham which can be transferred for the management of the facilities in Pakistan.

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Food Gardening in the Anthropocene

By Daniela Soleri, University of California, David A Cleveland, University of California, Steven E Smith, University of Arizona

In early September 2017, the fall equinox was approaching, and things were different in our garden. The heat-loving basil plants that should have been slowing down as the days shorten and cooler weather usually arrives, were showing no sign of changing. The fruit on both varieties of our persimmon trees were turning deep orange at least one month earlier than in previous years. The unusually warm, dry summer of 2017 in much of the western US contributed to similar experiences for many gardeners.

The experimenatl garden of Mashhad University in Iran

That autumn was an example of how the timing and duration of plant life cycles, and our garden activities, are changing from what we are familiar with, and like other gardeners and farmers, we need to figure out how to respond.

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Food for thought: Fungal biological resources to support international development – challenges and opportunities

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Powdery mildew spores on wheat – the second most important food crop in the developing world after rice (Copyright CABI).

At first glance it might be hard to see how the exploitation of microbes, especially fungi, can have the power to help humanity meet the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), feed the world’s growing population and improve the bioeconomies of poorer nations.

But a team of international scientists from CABI, the Westerdijk Institute and the US, led by CABI lead author Dr Matthew Ryan, have come together to pen a new paper in the World Journal of Microbiology and Biotechnology, which examines the challenges and opportunities of putting fungal biological resources right at the centre of supporting international development.

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