Knowledge for a sustainable world

NRI Director, Prof. Sheryl Hendriks is co-author of an influential new report that establishes a baseline for tracking the performance of food systems across the world. The report highlights the urgent need for improvements in global food systems and potential for shared learning.

Kefilwe Roba Moalosi is a Nutrition and Food Safety specialist at the African Union Development Agency (AUDA-NEPAD), a technical and development agency of the African Union. She completed the MSc Food Safety and Quality Management at NRI in 2009. Kefilwe took five minutes out of her day to talk to us about her career, life at NRI and inspiration for her work.

Dr. Stephen Onakuse, President of Agrinatura, paid a visit to the Natural Resources Institute (NRI) on 24 November 2023. His visit was in recognition of the value of the work going on at NRI and a mutual interest in discussing strategies to reposition common research interests between NRI and Agrinatura. The ultimate aim is to advance their shared goal to drive positive impact globally. Agrinatura, the European Alliance on Agricultural Knowledge for Development, is an Alliance of 35 Universities and research centres from 16 European countries, working to support sustainable agricultural development.  

The world has reached a pivotal moment as threats from Earth system tipping points – and progress towards positive tipping points – both accelerate, according to a new report. NRI’s Dr. Uche Okpara, Senior Lecturer in Climate Change, State Fragility and Conflict was a contributing author to the report.

Parasitic plants depend fully or partly on other plants for their nutrition, growth and development. Parasitic plants can completely manipulate their host plants. Infected hosts show arrested development while enabling the parasitic plants they support to thrive. When parasitic plants invade agricultural fields, they become noxious weeds, causing considerable harm to farmers’ crops. Infestation by parasitic weeds can lead to serious crop losses, and sometimes, complete crop failures. There is a wide variety of parasitic weed species as well as crops they can parasitise. From food crops such as rice and beans to cash crops such as rubber and coffee, no crop is safe!

Umar Muhammad is currently in the third year of his PhD programme based in the Department of Agriculture, Health and Environment at the Natural Resources Institute (NRI). He took five minutes out his day to talk to us about his inspiring life journey and desire to make an impact.

Plastic is ubiquitous. Plastic production, consumption and subsequently waste/pollution is increasing at an alarming rate. Annual production of plastic has grown from under 2 million tonnes (Mt) in 1950 to 460 Mt in 2019 and is on track to triple by 2060. If current production and waste management trends continue, roughly 12,000 Mt of plastic waste will be in landfills or in the ocean by 2050. Plastic waste is entering the ocean at a rate of about 11 Mt tons a year, harming marine life and damaging habitats.

As the world marks World Science Day for Peace and Development (WSDPD), we are reminded of the role that science plays not just in broadening our understanding of the world but also its influence on society as we know it. In the face of rising interstate and civil war in many parts of the world, urgent solutions are needed to promote national and international solidarity, and sustainable development.

After a whirlwind first year, the second cohort of the UK Food Systems Centre for Doctoral Training (UKFS-CDT) gathered for a transformative retreat at Emerson College in East Sussex from 4-6 of October 2023. Guided by facilitator, Jo Gage, the retreat was an opportunity to reflect on the past year and plan the next steps of our research. It was also a chance for us to forge lasting bonds, propelling us to be reflexive researchers and future food systems decision-makers.

NRI hosted Members of Parliament (MPs) from the Ghanaian Parliament’s Committee on Food, Agriculture and Cocoa Affairs from 23-24 October. The four-member delegation was led by the committee chairperson, Hon. John Osei Frimpong accompanied by Hon. Godfred Seidu Jasaw, Hon. Eric Opoku and Hon. John Abbam Aboah Sanie.

Halloween is upon us, a night excitedly longed for by children across many countries. A night associated with traditions of carving ghoulish faces into pumpkins, which are then placed on doorsteps with their flickering candlelight inviting groups of giggling children adorned in spooky costumes and offering tricks or requesting edible treats from each doorstep they visit.

NRI joined over 3,000 delegates from more than 70 countries for the Africa Food Systems Summit (AGRF) 2023 in Dar-es-Salaam, Tanzania, from 4-8 September. The theme conference theme was ‘Recover, Regenerate, Act: Africa’s Solutions to Food Systems Transformation’.