“The warnings of impending doom are real but the timeframe is very much up for debate”

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Bananas are eaten the world over but could they really become extinct if a strain of Panama disease takes hold?

Did you know that more than 100 billion bananas are eaten every year in the world, making them the fourth most popular agricultural product? You might also be surprised to learn that Uganda has the highest average per capita consumption in the world, where residents eat an average of 226kgs of bananas per person per year.

In short, bananas are big business – a $35billion global industry as a rough estimate. But all that could come to a crashing halt if the headline in the British Daily Mail newspaper, predicting the fruit’s extinction, is to be believed. The fears are that a strain of Panama disease could wipe out the humble banana putting the food security of millions in Developing World countries that depend upon it for nutrition at risk.

CABI’s very own ‘banana man’ Dr Rob Reeder sheds expert light on the debate and argues that while the diseases is a concern it won’t spell the end of our beloved fruit just yet! Rob explains more…

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Climate-smart pest management holds the key to future global food security

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Forest-agriculture mosaic system in Amani in the Tanga Region of Tanzania – credit René Eschen (CABI).

CABI scientists Luca Heeb, Dr Emma Jenner and Dr Matthew Cock, have issued a stark reminder to the world – we must embrace climate-smart pest management (CSPM) if we are to ensure the food security of a global population predicted to reach 10 billion by 2050.

In the paper ‘Climate-smart pest management: building resilience of farms and landscapes to changing pest threats’, published in the Journal of Pest Science, Heeb et al highlight that climate change is having a significant impact upon the biology, distribution and outbreak potential of crops pests around the world.

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CABI helps Pakistan Museum of Natural History showcase scourge of noxious parthenium weed

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CABI in Pakistan is helping the Pakistan Museum of Natural History (PMNH) showcase the scourge of the noxious parthenium weed, otherwise known locally at ‘Gajar Booti’, to members of the public visiting its Bio Gallery exhibit.

Parthenium is regarded as one of the major threats to native species, environment and ecosystems in more than 48 countries around the world – including Pakistan where it is also considered as a risk to human health, biodiversity, agriculture, livestock, and food security.

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Guest blog: ‘Keeping in mind the real use of our research’

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Irrigating rice fields in Sirajganj, Bangladesh. Photo: Haseeb Md. Irfanullah.

In this guest blog, Dr Haseeb Md. Irfanullah discusses the findings of a recent workshop he was a rapporteur of in Bangladesh on the potential impact on policy and practice of agricultural research in the country.

A research system is basically made up of four components: accessing, conducting, communicating, and utilizing research. While we often talk about the first three, use of our research in policy and practice is less frequently discussed in developing countries. Discussions at a recent workshop in Bangladesh about recent agricultural and biological science research projects revealed opportunities to make connections between research and its usage.

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Taking action on invasives and youth unemployment in Zambia

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Tibonge Mfune sampling fall armyworm larvae to survey for natural enemies in Zambia.

Youth unemployment is a significant economic and social burden for Zambia. So too is the impact of invasive species on agricultural production and the natural environment.

Are these mutually exclusive challenges, or can youth unemployment and tackling agricultural challenges, such as invasive species, be effectively positioned together to deliver jobs, food security and sustainable agriculture?

 

 

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Meet the ‘sorcerer’ and her ‘apprentice’ – just two of CABI’s trailblazing female scientists

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Suzy Wood and Dr Carol Ellison are just two female scientists at CABI playing their part towards the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

To mark the UN’s International Day of Women and Girls in Science today (11 February 2019), we take a look at how two generations of female scientists are coming together to tackle non-native invasive weeds and help reduce environmental degradation

Meet the ‘sorcerer’ and her ‘apprentice’ Dr Carol Ellison, a plant pathologist at CABI, and Project Scientist and PhD student Suzy Wood who since 2011 has been learning her trade as an entomologist at CABI’s UK laboratories in Egham, Surrey.

Though Carol and Suzy practice different strands of biology, their fields of study do overlap when it comes to invasive weeds and their biological control and management.

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“The future for women (in science) is ours to conquer”

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Photo courtesy of Moving Minds Media: Catherine Mloza Banda says the motivation to work in science came from her father who is a Professor in Agronomy

To mark the forthcoming UN International Day of Women and Girls in Science (11 February 2019), we speak to some of CABI’s women working in science. In this blog Catherine Mloza Banda, a Development Communications Specialist – Invasive Species Management, reveals the motivation and inspiration behind her career in science communications and says ‘the future for women (in science) is ours to conquer’. 

What motivated you to work in science and development?

I was motivated to work in science because of my father, who is a Professor in Agronomy. I grew up in an agricultural college, which somehow shaped my ambitions to work in science. I enrolled for a degree in Crop Science. Midway, I realized I had a burning passion for media and communications. So I decided to pursue a career in agricultural communication.

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