Knowledge for a sustainable world

The Challenge

The tropical root crop, cassava, is a staple food that is critical to the lives and livelihoods of an estimated 450 million poor people in Africa. The crop is limited by many factors including perishability (typically 48hrs), toxicity associated with its cyanogen context, inadequate processing and lack of market opportunities.

The Challenge

Pine wood nematode (PWN) is the cause of pine wilt, a devastating disease of pine trees, which is often fatal to the tree. The disease is spread naturally by vector beetles of the Monochamus genus; the only vector identified conclusively in Europe is Monochamus galloprovincialis.

The Challenge

‘River blindness’ or onchocerciasis is a devastating disease affecting 37 million people globally, with rural communities the most at risk. The disease is transmitted by blackflies (Simulium spp.) that breed in fast-flowing rivers.

The Challenge

Farming is a risky business. In Africa, more than 500 million smallholder farmers – with an average farm size of 1–2 hectares – are at risk of high levels of losses prior to or after harvest due to variability in the weather and incidence of plant and livestock pests and diseases.