When a Hollywood star came to CABI

 

IMG_20180524_112103
Left: Harry Evans, CABI, Right: Kal Penn, Hollywood actor and presenter

The online market place goliath, and newly emerging leader in film and TV programme production, Amazon, visited CABI’s centre in Egham, UK to shoot footage for a new Amazon Prime Original series called This Giant Beast that is the Global Economy.

The globe-spanning docuseries brings the smart, stylized storytelling of Adam McKay’s The Big Short to a quirky and compelling exploration of the global economy.

With comedian and actor Will Ferrell as Executive Producer the eight part docuseries takes a deep dive into the murky, worrying and, at times, funny side of our interconnected world. During the third episode dedicated to the rubber industry, CABI’s expertise on rubber leaf blight is featured to explain how a little fungus could possibly bring down the global economy.

Continue reading

Can a ‘diet’ of digital data really help feed the world?

data map

Last week (29 January 2019) CABI was awarded a $1.49 million grant from the Gates Foundation to work with them to help increase food security in India and Ethiopia through better access to data on soil health, agronomy and fertilizers.  In this blog Communications Manager Wayne Coles looks at whether or not the use of digital data in agriculture can have a real impact on our need to feed the world….

The facts are clear; if we’re to stand any chance of feeding a global population of around 9.1 billion by 2050 we must make better use of ‘digital data’ to unlock the potential of more than 570 million smallholder farmers around the world.

The complexity of Africa’s growing food problem, which is exacerbated by social and climatic factors, should not be underestimated. Its population, for example, will exceed 42 million a year over the next three decades while a rise in extreme weather events will wreak havoc on farming communities already grappling with threats to crop yields from a range of agricultural pests and diseases.

Continue reading

Fertilizer Optimization Tool helps return son to teacher training school

IMG_20181109_150504
FOT pays off for Charles Wafula who is now able to help his son continue teacher training

By Monica Kansiime, Scientist Seed Systems, based at CABI in Nairobi, Kenya

In a previous blog post I outlined how the Fertilizer Optimization Tool (FOT) is paying dividends for farmers – helping them, in some cases, to report a seven-fold increase in their yields.

Charles Wafula is a farmer and resident of Buhehe in Uganda who is just one example of how FOT is helping to increase his fortunes and benefit his family – in particular he is now able to pay his son’s fees so he can continue to train as a school teacher.

Approaching Mr Wafula’s home, you get a feeling of a committed farmer. I find him sitting in his compound with various sized fruit trees providing shade and a cool ambiance. He doesn’t not take long after a brief introduction to tell me his success story of utilising FOT.

Continue reading

Empowering more women in the fight against fruit flies in Pakistan

PRMP females

More women in the Gilgit Baltistan (GB) region of Pakistan are benefiting from a Phytosanitary Risk Management Programme (PRMP) aimed at using a range of biological controls to fight the fruit fly pest which can impact heavily on rice and horticultural crops.

PRMP, which is funded by USAID via United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), was initiated in GB in 2016 with the purpose of implementing the biological control of fruit flies in the region. A Biological Control Laboratory was established to develop mass rearing technologies to facilitate the augmentative releases of the Biological Control Agents (BCA) of fruit flies Dirhinus giffardi and Diachasmimorpha longicaudata. So far, around 400,000 BCAs of fruit flies have been released in the region to control the pest.

PRMP graph1

Pakistan’s agriculture sector plays a central role in the economy of the country as it contributes 18.9 percent to the GDP. Almost 42.3 percent of its population is directly involved in this sector of which 73.8 percent employment is held by women.

Continue reading

CABI on cotton (part 2): The famous farmer and The compost king

CABI on Cotton part 2 Shahbaz 2

In part one of ‘CABI on cotton’ we heard about 100 Pakistan cotton farmers, as part of CABI’s Better Cotton Initiative (BCI), attending a seminar on integrated pest management. In part two, we hear a couple of success stories from farmers on how taking part in BCI is helping them produce better cotton.

Continue reading

CABI on cotton (part 1): Farmer seminar on pest management

CABI on Cotton part 1
Meeting of cotton farmers in progress

Cotton. How many of us come into daily contact (literally) with this wondrous natural fiber? Used in a huge array of materials, from the obvious clothing and cotton wool buds, to the less obvious products like cottonseed oils used to make soap, margarine, emulsifiers, cosmetics, pharmaceuticals, rubber and plastics, the cotton plant is woven into the fabric of our lives.

Continue reading

‘Digging deep’ to strengthen the potato value chain in Pakistan

8.1
Potato is a major crop in Pakistan with the potential to grow in an expanding market

CABI in Pakistan, under its ACIAR-funded ‘Strengthening Vegetable Value Chain in Pakistan’ (SVVCP) project, is committed to improving the value chain of vegetables for smallholder farmers so they can improve their livelihoods. Dr Babar E. Bajwa, Project Leader, reports on the progress being made so far…

Potato is a major crop in Pakistan with great potential to grow. It presents both the prospect of revenue increase for producers as well as opportunities as a source of foreign reserve by increasing exports. Importantly, Pakistan’s potato industry is self-sufficient to supply for the needs of domestic household consumption.

Continue reading