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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The right tools for the job: enabling breeding programs to be gender-responsive

Dec 12, 2018

Over the past few decades, gender initiatives across CGIAR have created broad awareness among scientists about the need to consider the impact of new agricultural technologies on both men and women. However, even with this heightened awareness, breeding programs typically ask questions about the gender impact of a new plant variety or animal breed only […]

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Understanding cassava seed networks to curb disease spread in Southeast Asia

Dec 10, 2018

If you have a garden, you probably buy seeds from the store, or maybe even swap some varieties with your friends or relatives. Exchanging seed can be a very simple act. But how is it accomplished when billions of plants are involved, and exchanges take place at the national or international scale? A new publication […]

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Next generation technologies: Tackling climate change in agriculture

Dec 4, 2018

Recent reports that greenhouse gases in the atmosphere have reached record high levels and that the world is currently on track to overshoot the targets of the Paris Agreement heighten the importance of developing technologies to help farmers adapt to climate change. This is especially urgent for the poorest and most vulnerable farmers, who already […]

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Monitoring, Evaluation & Learning platform wins silver award in Berlin

Dec 3, 2018

The Monitoring, Evaluation & Learning online platform (MEL), used by eight CGIAR Research Programs (CRPs) and Centers, has won the silver prize at the 2018 Enterprise Business Collaboration Award in Berlin in the category of ‘Best Collaboration Infrastructure’. Presented during a ceremony on 19 November, the award positions MEL and its development team as among […]

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Disease-resistant potato and banana give hope to farmers

Nov 29, 2018

Late blight remains one of the most devastating diseases for potato worldwide, costing farmers an estimated USD3 – 10 billion per year globally. Traditional breeding for resistant varieties takes years, and resistance can break down as the pathogen mutates when it encounters resistance genes, leaving farmers no options than using fungicides up to 15 times […]

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RTB Annual Meeting 2018: “Staying the best”

Nov 26, 2018

The annual meeting for the CGIAR Research Program on Roots, Tubers and Bananas (RTB) took place from October 25-28 in Palmira and Cali, Colombia, hosted by the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT). The meeting, followed the 18th Triennial Symposium of the International Society for Tropical Root Crops, which also featured much RTB research, brought together […]

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Breeding improved cassava varieties that women and men want

Nov 20, 2018

Understanding gender differences in trait preferences for cassava can accelerate adoption as this knowledge is incorporated into breeding programs. Cassava is the daily bread of Nigeria, but it is hardly ever simply boiled and eaten. Nigerian cassava is processed into products like gari (toasted cassava starch granules), which are made in villages and trucked to cities across […]

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Pest distribution and risk atlas for Africa includes potato and sweetpotato pests

Nov 13, 2018

Insect pests cause major yield losses in agricultural crops. Climate change is expected to exacerbate this impact, with warming temperatures affecting insect populations, range expansion and outbreaks. To inform the development of integrated pest management strategies, the International Potato Center (CIP) launched an online Pest Distribution and Risk Atlas for Africa in early 2017. This […]

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New case studies are powerful examples of gender-responsive plant and animal breeding

Nov 10, 2018

Adoption and impact of new crop varieties and animal breeds depend on the tangible benefits these provide for the women and men involved in their production, consumption, processing and marketing. It is therefore important for breeders to understand and respond to the needs, priorities, and constraints that women and men assign to crop and animal […]

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Vitamin A-rich bananas offer new hope to address micronutrient deficiency

Nov 6, 2018

Researchers in East Africa are introducing banana varieties from across the world to address severe vitamin A deficiency. Taste tests help to identify and fast track new varieties that consumers prefer. Vitamin A deficiency is high in the East African countries of Uganda, Tanzania, Burundi, Rwanda, DRC and Kenya, ranging from 39% to 64%. Vitamin […]

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Assessing progress towards sustainable intensification

Nov 1, 2018

Sustainability might well be the biggest buzz word of our era. The term is fancied, used, misused, framed and distorted by scientists, the private sector, donors and policy makers alike. In the last decade or so, the concept of ‘sustainable intensification’ (SI) has gained momentum and has been put forward as a promising way to […]

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DNA fingerprinting shows high adoption of improved cassava varieties in Nigeria

Oct 29, 2018

DNA fingerprinting has improved the accuracy of adoption studies and revealed that 66% of surveyed cassava farmers in Nigeria are cultivating improved varieties. Improved cassava varieties can boost yields, helping rural African farm families to become food secure and overcome poverty. A study published in 2017 by the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) and […]

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