Worldwide, over 500 million smallholder farmers provide food for two-thirds of the earth’s growing population. Achieving a zero hunger world by 2030 depends on increasing the productivity of these smallholder farmers – but their crops face a significant threat. Yearly, an estimated 40% of crops grown worldwide are lost to pests. If we could reduce crop losses by just 1%, we could potentially feed millions more people. The lack of access to timely, appropriate and actionable extension advice makes it a fundamental challenge for farmers to get the right information at the right time to reduce crop losses.
Invasion by the alien plant Madagascar rubbervine is endangering native flora and fauna in northeastern Brazil. In the Caatinga area, the endemic Carnaúba palm, with its highly valued wax, has come under threat. CABI, in collaboration with Brazilian counterparts, is seeking to evaluate the rust Maravalia cryptostegia as a potential biocontrol agent for Madagascar rubbervine. The same rust has been used in Australia to successfully control another invasive alien rubbervine species.
Floating pennywort is an invasive aquatic plant that can over-run water bodies in the UK, and is threatening habitats, native plants, fish and insects. Also a problem across much of Europe, this plant has rapid growth and can regenerate from small fragments. Management is mainly limited to mechanical clearance which is expensive and often ineffective. Through comprehensive host range testing, this project aims to identify the safest and most effective biocontrol agent to keep the plant in check.
Cocoa is an important source of income across Southeast Asia. To maintain access to markets, and sustain farmers livelihoods and national GDP, all food safety and international SPS (sanitary and phytosanitary) standards must be met. This project is building SPS capacity in the region, to ensure production and trade meets legislation on pesticide residues and other harmful substances. Best practices will be promoted throughout the value chain – from production to export – to improve quality.