AAAE News Brief

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April 7, 2021 | No. 21

Progress in Food Systems Summit as more than 1,200 ideas are put forward to help meet the Sustainable Development Goals.

The UN Food Systems Summit has surfaced more than 1,200 ideas and propositions to transform food systems in just six months of public engagement. Since September, the Summit has hosted regular online meetings, public fora and surveys organised around five priority objectives for more equitable and sustainable food systems. More than 400 of the submissions during the preparatory process for the Summit, which takes place in September, came from farmer and producer groups, indigenous communities and civil society, while academics shared 200 of their ideas. READ MORE

source: UN
31st ICAE Conference: Paper submission deadline extended

The deadline for submission of papers and symposia for the 31st International Conference of Agricultural Economists has been extended to Thursday, April 15, 2021. All proposals already submitted for review remain eligible for selection. Revised versions of the Plenary papers are expected to be published in a special issue of IAAE's Agricultural Economics. READ MORE

source: IAAE
African agriculture is ready for a digital revolution

Africa’s food systems must be made more resilient to future shocks such as floods, droughts, and disease. Urgent and sustainable increases in food production are needed to reduce reliance on food imports and reduce poverty, and this is where digital services come into play. With mobile phone ownership in Sub-Saharan Africa alone is expected to reach half a billion this year, digital services offered via text messaging can reach even the most remote village. And at least one-fifth of these phones also have smart features, meaning they can connect to the internet. READ MORE 

How Africa can rebuild through agriculture

Given that agriculture accounts for at least 23 per cent of Africa’s GDP, policies and investments that strengthen resilient farming systems will be pivotal to growth post-pandemic. From the farm gate, our farmers are short-changed. We must help smallholder farmers access markets, credit and banking. We need to de-risk agriculture, supporting agribusiness with sound financial underpinnings. This means guaranteeing loans, particularly for young farmers who may not have financial backing. READ MORE 

source: The Star
International Livestock Research Institute scientists support Kenyan government to identify SARS-CoV-2 variants

In the Nairobi laboratories of the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI), the organization's scientists continue to contribute to the fight against COVID-19. Since mid-2020, ILRI – a CGIAR research centre -- has been supporting Kenya’s Ministry of Health to process COVID-19 tests. Now, following a request from the Kenyan government, the institute's labs, equipment and expert staff will be put to work sequencing the entire genome of SARS-CoV-2 circulating in Kenya -- the virus that causes COVID-19 -- and monitoring the different variants that emerge in Kenya's population or arrive from outside its borders. READ MORE

source: ILRI
Researchers identify optimal strategy to maximize genomic estimated breeding values

In the typical breeding stages, breeders evaluate parental lines to create new crosses, and advance these lines through preliminary and elite yield trials. In the process, thousands of lines are sown, grown and analyzed, requiring considerable resources. In the traditional CIMMYT maize breeding scheme, for example, breeders conduct five stages of testing to identify parental lines for the next breeding cycle and develop high yielding hybrids that meet farmers’ needs. READ MORE

source: CIMMYT
Crops bred to improve nutrition

Starting in 2003 under the IFPRI- and CIAT-managed Biofortification Challenge Program (soon after renamed HarvestPlus), multidisciplinary CGIAR research teams successfully “bridged the delta” between agriculture and nutrition through a strategy called biofortification, whereby added nutritional value is bred into familiar foods that people eat every day. The technology is now widely recognized as a practical, evidence-based approach to addressing micronutrient deficiency among smallholder farming families and other low-resource populations. READ MORE

source: CGIAR
Investing in agriculture is Africa’s best hope for bouncing back from Covid-19

Investing in agriculture is Africa’s best hope for bouncing back. The majority of Africans work in some form of agriculture and will continue to do so for years to come. And across Africa, growth in the agriculture sector is at least twice as effective at reducing poverty than growth in any other sector. Recent research from Ceres2030 shows that investing in evidence-based interventions in smallholder agriculture can help sustainably support Africa’s economic growth and recovery. I believe agriculture can provide Africa with a powerful springboard for pandemic recovery, but we have to stay focused on core principles and priorities. READ MORE

source: Telegraph
How climate change drove food insecurity in the 2007 Lesotho drought

Lesotho is one of the least developed countries in southern Africa and has a precarious food security balance. Almost all of its main staple food of maize is produced within a single climatic region of southern Africa – 30% domestically and 70% imported from neighbouring South Africa. In 2007, a severe drought in both Lesotho and South Africa upset this shaky situation triggering a dramatic drop in crop yields and a steep spike in food prices. READ MORE

source: WEF
Southern SARE Releases 2022 Research & Education Grant Call for Pre-Proposals

The Southern region of the Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) program has released its Call for Pre-proposals for the 2022 Research & Education Grants program. Applicants have a choice of whether they want to submit a systems research-based pre-proposal, or an education-based pre-proposal. Education-based grants are different than the Professional Development Program Grant — Southern SARE’s other education-based grant program. PDP grants are train-the-trainer grants designed for ag professionals to conduct sustainable ag education and outreach activities for the benefit of fellow colleagues.READ MORE

source: SARE
Cornell University is searching for a non-tenure track Associate or Full Professor of the Practice


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