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News

How to reduce food losses: improve postharvest management – Bellagio Statement released

Fungus bean N Palmer CIAT 750Postharvest management is about making sure that each link in a value chain is working optimally, as crops move from harvest to consumption. Unfortunately, that is not currently the case. It is estimated that fifteen percent of all the cereal grain harvested in sub-Saharan Africa is lost or wasted after harvest. This amounts to an annual loss of US$4 billion, or the annual caloric requirement of at least 48 million people – and this becomes even more shocking when combined with the postharvest losses of the more perishable root crops and fruits and vegetables. However, postharvest losses go far beyond quantity loss, encompassing what is lost in terms of nutrients, food safety hazards, and reduced prices, creating a significant impact on people’s lives and livelihoods. With 307 million people in sub-Saharan Africa already severely food insecure and the population projected to double by 2050 – the need to reduce postharvest losses and improve food security through better postharvest management has never been more urgent.

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International Women’s Day 2018: #TimeIsNow

March 2018 L Forsythe 750International Women’s Day commemorates the movement for women’s rights. It has been held on 8th March every year since 1913, with a growing number of events, activities and speeches in a growing number of countries. To celebrate this day, figures on the international stage and those working to advance women’s rights on the ground are profiled, photographed, filmed and publicised. Since the dawn of social media, we’ve had hashtags, posts, likes and follows, sharing the great strides in women’s rights that International Women’s Day has promoted. In 2018, the UN’s theme is ‘The Time is Now: Rural and urban activists transforming women’s lives’ while the theme of the International Women’s Day event is ‘Press for Progress’.

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‘Sunscreen’ for natural pesticides: new technology boosts biological alternative to chemicals

Armyworm KWilson 750Agricultural pests destroy around one third of all the crops we grow, costing billions and threatening food security. Chemical pesticides are becoming less attractive to farmers as a solution, as they can be damaging to humans and the environment, they’re costly, or they’re simply ineffective, as pests build up resistance to a growing number of chemicals. Official regulations mandating a reduction in chemical use, and consumer or farmer preference also mean that a viable alternative is urgently needed. NRI and partners working to develop more effective natural pesticides recently made a major breakthrough.

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NRI pays tribute to innovation expert, Calestous Juma

Calestous Juma World Economic Forum Jakob Polacsek 750NRI has just heard the news of the death of Calestous Juma in Boston last week. He had been unwell for some time but his death was still a shock to his many friends and colleagues. Professor Juma was a well-known international figure in academic and development circles, especially those concerned with technology development in sub-Saharan Africa.

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Inspiring NRI researcher celebrated in Greenwich Portraits

Frances Hawkes Portraits 750Dr Frances Hawkes, Research Fellow at NRI, is being featured in ‘Greenwich Portraits at Medway’ – the initiative launched by the university’s Alumni department that profiles and celebrates Greenwich University’s most influential and inspiring alumni through a series of striking photographs. Frances’ portrait, taken by photographer Diane Patrice, was unveiled at an event on the evening of 21st November at the university’s Medway campus, where the Vice Chancellor, Professor David Maguire, opened proceedings. “We are really excited to include Frances in our latest installation,” says Sarah Cretch, Head of Alumni and director of the Portraits project, “especially as her portrait highlights the world-changing work being carried out at Medway.”

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Chocolate lovers, read this: how climate change affects cocoa pollinators

Chocolate truffles 750The UK is one of the leading countries globally for chocolate consumption per head…but how many of us think about where that chocolate comes from? Chocolate is made from the beans of the cacao or cocoa tree, which only grows in tropical climates and so the crop is particularly vulnerable to climate change.

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NRI student tackling cassava disease wins top biotech sponsorship

Siji Kavil 750Siji Kavil, PhD student at NRI, is serious about cassava brown streak disease (CBSD). That’s because it’s a serious disease affecting cassava, the tropical root that is an important crop for food and nutrition security in many parts of the developing world. CBSD causes cassava roots to rot, displaying unsightly brown streaks and making them unfit for consumption or industrial use. During the past decade, CBSD has affected over 200 million smallholder farmers in east and central Africa, where it causes annual losses of over US $700 million. This is devastating for the farming families who rely on cassava for their daily food and income.

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NRI signs cooperation agreement with EMBRAPA, Brazilian Agricultural Research Corporation

Diversity cassava products 750Cassava, a root crop that is hugely important for food security across Africa, is believed to have originated in Brazil where it is known as ‘mandioca’. Over centuries, Brazilians have developed a complex culture and cuisine around its use with many novel foods and processes that are unknown in other countries.

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People. Planet. Food. Get involved: MScs at NRI

MSc Sustainable Environmental Management 750Think ‘climate change’ and you might not necessarily envisage your favourite food. But if you care about the food on your plate, then caring about climate change would be a smart move.

By studying at the Natural Resources Institute (NRI), you can work towards a world-changing career in food, environment, agriculture or sustainable development. You can discover how climate change impacts on our food supply, and help devise solutions to this and other global challenges – another smart move.

Part of the University of Greenwich, NRI has a range of programmes starting in September or January, providing a world of opportunity for those looking to enhance their career in the UK or overseas.

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Greenwich’s first Three Minute Thesis competition at Faculty of Engineering and Science

3MT 01 750PhD research at the Faculty of Engineering and Science is changing the world – but how? In essence, this was the question being answered by participants in the University of Greenwich’s first ever ‘Three Minute Thesis’ competition on 10th July 2017. Faculty doctoral students responded to the challenge by explaining their research creatively, in language appropriate to a non-specialist audience, in just 180 seconds. That’s years of study, work and roughly 80,000 words of a dissertation distilled down to its purest form. How did they do it?

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