Knowledge for a sustainable world

Root, tuber and banana (RTB) crops are vital for food security and income generation for millions of people across sub-Saharan Africa. Breeders of RTB crops are continuously developing new varieties better adapted to pests and diseases, climate change, new markets and shifts in consumption. However, many of these varieties meet with significant problems of acceptability to men and women stakeholders in RTB value chains, hindering adoption and dissemination.

A devastating factory fire, a deadly building collapse or severe environmental damage highlight the consequences of irresponsible business. Though less widely reported, in many countries the exploitation of workers and human rights abuses occur on a daily basis, including non-payment of the minimum wage or poor working conditions.

A value chain, or the journey a commodity takes from production to consumer, involves a variety of activities performed by different operators, with the aim of delivering a valuable product to the market and eventually the consumer. Each link in the chain can pose a potential loss in value, or serve as an opportunity to ensure sustainable development for the people and natural environment involved.

Many people know cashew nuts as a favourite snack or ingredient, though unless you’ve seen them growing, you might be surprised to know that the ‘nut’ is actually a seed, which grows from the bottom of a curious ‘cashew-apple’.