Knowledge for a sustainable world

Livestock emit 14.5% of global greenhouse gases (GHGs), including methane (CH4), nitrous oxide (N2O) and carbon dioxide (CO2). In response to the urgent need for a reduction in emissions and a transition to more sustainable diets, the uptake of livestock-free, alternative plant and algae proteins can play a key role.

Mosquitoes can be loud and annoying – and it is precisely this whiny tone that they use to find a mate. But from how far away can they hear each other and at what level of sensitivity?

The work of social scientists involves taking an in-depth look at the many, often interlinking aspects of how society works. In order to understand certain facets of social relationships in more detail, it is sometimes necessary to apply a specific ‘lens’ to highlight these, especially where they tend to be neglected. A ‘gendered lens’ allows us to examine gender bias, gendered power relations and resulting inequalities in economic and social relations and institutions.

Producing enough to feed their families is a back-breaking reality for millions in small-scale farming households across sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) and beyond. For example, cereal and legume grain producers have to store sufficient seed from the previous harvest, invest in land clearing, planting, manage pests and diseases, and control weeds using basic tools such as hoes and machetes.

Aphids – the tiny sap-sucking insects that are the scourge of many gardeners and growers – are the main insect vectors that carry and transmit barley yellow dwarf viruses (BYDV) the agents responsible for barley yellow dwarf disease. This is the most widespread viral disease of cereals affecting some of the world’s most economically important crops, including wheat, barley and maize.

Spotted wing drosophila (SWD) is a fruit fly that lays its eggs in ripening fruit. The larvae cause severe fruit damage and increases in production costs. This invasive pest was first detected in the UK in 2012 by NIAB EMR, a horticultural research organisation based in East Malling, Kent. Numbers have increased year-on-year and SWD has become the main pest of concern for UK growers of a wide range of horticultural crops, particularly strawberries, raspberries and cherries.

Food systems are complex networks of people and activities involved in the production, processing, distribution, preparation and consumption of food. There is an urgent need to transform food systems to achieve the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and promote sustainable diets that are nutritious, healthy and affordable, whilst also recognising the importance of food systems to economic growth and social wellbeing.

After harvesting, fresh cassava roots must be consumed or processed within 72 hours, or they become unsuitable for human consumption. For this reason, the roots are usually processed into dried products including flour and gari – a granular, fermented, roasted product – that can be used later as the basis for various dishes. Cassava processing involves numerous stages including peeling, grating, pressing, pulverising, drying, and milling, which in many places, are carried out by hand.

Maize streak virus (MSV) is transmitted by the insect leafhopper Cicadulina spp. In maize plants, MSV infection initially manifests as small, round, scattered spots on their leaves, which get larger as the plant grows until the spots resemble broken yellow streaks. Severe infection causes stunting, and plants can produce malformed cobs or no yield at all.

Dear friends, partners, students and colleagues of NRI,

2021 has turned out to be another challenging year – on a global, local and personal scale, most notably due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the climate crisis, the obstacles to achieving gender andAndrew Westby 750 social equality, and ongoing violence and conflict around the world. Yet in the face of such challenges, the NRI community has continued to work to find sustainable solutions that make a difference.

Malnutrition refers to deficiencies, excesses, or imbalances in a person’s intake of energy and/or nutrients, as defined by the World Health Organization. Undernutrition can be defined as an insufficient intake of energy and nutrients to meet an individual’s needs to maintain good health. This form of malnutrition includes underweight (low weight-for-age), wasting (low weight-for-height) and stunting (low height-for-age). Stunting is the result of chronic or recurrent undernutrition which holds children back from reaching their physical and cognitive potential. Globally in 2020, 149 million children under 5 were estimated to be stunted.

On farms, rodents consume and spoil animal feed, damage infrastructure and are a considerable threat to animal health and to achieving optimal health and wellbeing recognising the interconnections between people, animals, plants and their shared environment, an approach known as ‘One Health’. Rodents can cause direct stress to pigs and poultry but are mainly important as carriers of pathogens. In pigs, this includes serious diseases like Swine dysentery, Aujeszky's Disease, PCV2 (Porcine circovirus 2) and Encephalomyocarditis.