Lessons from 21 years of breeding Eastern Africa‘s popular cooking bananas

Apr 16, 2019 rtbcomms

The International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA)  and Uganda’s National Agricultural Research Organization (NARO) started a breeding program for the East Africa Highland Bananas (EAHB) in the mid-1990s that has delivered exciting results including the first-ever hybrids, dubbed  NARITAs. A team of scientists at IITA, NARO, and SLU reviewed the progress and efficiency of this breeding program in the past 21 years at […]

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Safeguarding the future of banana against changing climates, pests and diseases

Apr 11, 2019 rtbcomms

KU Leuven and Bioversity International today sign a landmark agreement to safeguard the future of the world’s favourite fruit.  Professor Rony Swennen is a world authority in banana science having researched bananas for more than 40 years. “Bananas are facing major challenges,” he says. “The world population is growing and banana yields need to increase. Banana plantations usually […]

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Malawian entrepreneur creates nutritious products and a new market for farmers

Apr 4, 2019 rtbcomms

After six years of helping others add value to their businesses, Malawian food technologist Jean Pankuku was so convinced of the nutritional merits and commercial prospects of orange-fleshed-sweetpotato (OFSP) breads and other baked products that she opened her own business – the Tehilah Bakery and Value Addition Centre. It’s hardly a surprise that the Chicago-based […]

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Scaling Triple S through collaborating with Damongo Agricultural College, Ghana

Mar 28, 2019 rtbcomms

In July 2018 Issahaq Suleman, CIP’s Triple S scaling champion in Ghana, paid a visit to Damongo Agricultural College in the West Gonja district of Northern Ghana, with the goal of advocating for practical training on farming improved varieties of orange-fleshed sweetpotato (OFSP). He also wanted to introduce the college to the use of Triple […]

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MRC Training in December 2018, Photo credit: Camille Joy Enalbes

Capturing stories of women through the Most Significant Change Approach

Mar 26, 2019 rtbcomms

Story-telling is a powerful communication tool as it is useful to captivate people’s interest. The Food Resilience through Root and Tuber Crops in Upland and Coastal Communities of the Asia Pacific (FoodSTART+) uses the Most Significant Change (MSC) approach to gauge the impact of the Farmers Business School (FBS) interventions and showcase the outcomes brought […]

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Small investment, Big results!

Mar 13, 2019 rtbcomms

How village savings and loans groups, orange fleshed sweetpotato and the Triple-S innovation are empowering women in Northern Ghana. ‘For me, growing sweetpotato is much easier than other crops. I use few inputs and have little maintenance and I still get a good yield’ said Ernestine Gbang, a women’s group leader and successful sweetpotato farmer […]

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Who sits at the table? Policy, people, and potatoes in Kenya

Mar 13, 2019 rtbcomms

Although it might seem surprising, many Kenyan farmers, entrepreneurs, and investors are intensely interested in the preparation of new regulations on the production and marketing of planting materials for vegetatively propagated crops (VPCs), such as potato and sweetpotato. The new regulations may determine who can and cannot produce VPC planting material, how quickly yields and […]

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Global study guides agriculture towards gender equality

Mar 8, 2019 rtbcomms

Now more than ever, the agricultural research for development sector recognizes that women’s needs, preferences and realities need to be both understood and considered in the development and roll-out of new technologies and projects. A “one size fits all” approach is not only ineffective, often leading to discarded technologies, but can also have unintended consequences […]

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Seed Tracker: How one app can enhance seed systems for many crops

Mar 6, 2019 rtbcomms

Thanks to its tolerance of poor soil, harsh conditions, pests and diseases, cassava is a stable, low-cost staple for millions in sub-Saharan Africa. However, it’s not solely subsistence and small-scale farmers that benefit from the crop – it provides incomes and an industry for medium and large-scale enterprises in the region too. Despite its widespread […]

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How can you integrate gender and nutrition in your research?

Mar 5, 2019

The Consortium for Improving Agriculture-based Livelihoods in Central Africa (CIALCA), a CGIAR Research Program on Roots, Tubers and Bananas (RTB) project, organized a training workshop on integrating gender and nutrition in agricultural research for development (AR4D), in Kigali, from January 23 -25.The group of 30 participants was very diverse and included 12 women and 18 men from […]

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Setting the stage for cassava disease monitoring: a baseline for Vietnam and Cambodia

Feb 27, 2019

Researchers tracked Sri Lankan cassava mosaic virus in Cambodia after its discovery in 2015. The potentially devastating virus threatens 3.5 million hectares, highlighting the need for disease-resistant varieties and rapid epidemic management. Southeast Asia is the source of 95 percent of global cassava exports, and the detection in 2015 in Cambodia of the potentially harvest-devastating […]

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Triple S method secures sweetpotato planting material for farmers

Feb 15, 2019

“Next season I will fill my farm, and my father’s farm, with sweetpotato,” says Bezabih Hamamo, who is using Triple S technology on his farm in southern Ethiopia to produce his own quality sweetpotato planting material. Triple S, which stands for ‘Storing in Sand and Sprouting’, involves storing sweetpotato roots in sand through the dry […]

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The new generation of women scientists working for global food security

Feb 10, 2019

Despite progress in recent years, there still remains a concerning gender gap in science, with the UNESCO Institute for Statistics reporting that less than 30% of researchers worldwide are women. A further study by UNESCO has shown that only 30% of female students choose STEM-related fields in higher education, and globally the enrolment of female […]

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Sweetpotato farmers support the scaling of Triple S technology in Ethiopia

Jan 20, 2019

“Seven to 10 years ago, sweetpotato was known as ‘the father of children’ because it was available throughout the year. Because the soil had moisture content during the dry season, we were able to conserve our vines by covering them with mulch,” began Merid Mengesha, an elder in Yayike village in the Mirab Abaya district […]

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The transformative power of culinary innovation: Changing perspectives on traditional staples

Jan 16, 2019

Roots, tubers and bananas are often seen as “traditional” foods. Yet their colors and flavors vary, and they can be exciting gastronomic ingredients, as well as healthy functional foods. However, despite their many benefits, they tend to fall out of favor as people move to towns and diets change to “modern” and perhaps more convenient […]

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Refining the use of innovation platforms to support scaling

Dec 28, 2018

Guidelines are helping the agricultural research for development sector to rethink how and when to use ‘innovation platforms’ to most effectively develop and scale technologies. Innovation platforms are increasingly used in agricultural research for development initiatives to help researchers, farmers, food processors, government officials and other actors design effective innovations. An innovation platform is a […]

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Decision-support tools remove the guesswork from agronomic innovation

Dec 26, 2018

Decision-support tools being piloted in Nigeria and Tanzania can help cassava growers decide if agronomic recommendations will be profitable under their local conditions.   Crop yields in Africa are often limited because farmers and extension agents lack reliable agronomic recommendations that are tailored for their local conditions. For example, judging the most effective quantity of fertilizer depends on […]

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Making storable orange-fleshed sweetpotato purée a commercial reality

Dec 18, 2018

Orange-fleshed sweetpotato purée is a profitable and nutritious commercial product to meet urban consumers’ needs in Kenya. Vitamin A deficiency is a serious problem in East Africa. Through the efforts of the International Potato Center (CIP) and its partners, many vitamin A-rich, orange-fleshed sweetpotato (OFSP) varieties have been made available to rural households. As Africa […]

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Sharing best practices for banana germplasm conservation and exchange

Dec 14, 2018

Banana (Musa) diversity is conserved in more than 60 ex situ collections worldwide located mostly in banana producing countries. To ensure the long-term conservation on a cooperative basis, and facilitating the increased use of banana genetic resources, Bioversity International – through the Global Musa Genetic Resource Network, MusaNet – organizes a series of activities. The most recent was a Latin American and Caribbean […]

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Is technology the silver bullet for addressing climate change impacts on agriculture?

Dec 13, 2018

Deep changes in agricultural systems are required for adaptation to climate change impacts such as higher temperatures, more extreme climate events and increases in pests and diseases. The Technology Advantage event, part of the larger Agriculture Advantage 2.0 event series at COP24, explored opportunities to tap into next generation technologies to rise to the challenge of transforming […]

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