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Earth observation to improve critical datasets for pest risk modelling

Rising temperatures have led to pests, diseases and weeds establishing in areas of the world that were previously uninhabitable. Furthermore, growth in global trade and new trade pathways increase the risk of accidental movement of pests. Earth Observation (EO) and climatic data can help by improving predictions about where potential agricultural pests and diseases may be a threat. Information produced by models can help decision makers understand and prepare for future risks. Working with a consortium of researchers, this project will use EO data to improve the data layers used in models that predict where pests can establish, including irrigation, areas under protected agriculture and climatic canopy conditions, demonstrating the improvements made to species distribution estimations for key pests and biological control agents.

Juno: Transforming Evidence for Agriculture, Food and Climate

To respond urgently in times of crises we need to be ready. Researchers need the know-how and tools to develop rapid evidence synthesis at short notice, and coordinated networks need to be able to translate, communicate, and share evidence at a moment’s notice so that policymakers can use that evidence. The Juno Evidence Alliance will be a cutting-edge global platform that empowers evidence-based policy in agriculture, food systems, and climate adaptation. By utilising artificial intelligence and proven research methodologies, the aim is to streamline the synthesis of diverse data sources, providing timely, relevant, and high-quality conclusions for governments, funders, and policymakers. With Juno, decision-makers can accelerate progress, reduce costs, coordinate messages, and shape a sustainable and resilient future for the benefit of all.

The European MICRObiome Biobanking (RI) Enabler

Microbiomes are communities of microorganisms that include bacteria, archaea, protists, fungi and microalgae, their structural elements, metabolites, signal molecules, mobile genetic elements and surrounding environmental conditions. They are essential for maintaining ecosystems and the health of plants, animals and humans. The EU-funded MICROBE project will cooperate with research infrastructures to create and develop methodologies and technologies to enable access to microbiome samples and associated data. The project objectives include technical solutions for microbiome preservation, propagation and functionality assessment, as well as data infrastructures. MICROBE will also address issues associated with standardization, ethical and legal requirements, and business opportunities.

Biocontrol of papaya mealybug in East Africa

Papaya mealybug invaded East Africa between 2015 to 2020. The pest causes 57%- 91% yield and £2,224/ha household economic losses annually and severely impacts the livelihoods of smallholder farmers. As a means of control, nearly 51% of farmers manage the pest using pesticides which harm insect biodiversity in addition to other non-target effects. Biological control is an ecologically friendlier approach that has controlled papaya mealybug elsewhere around the globe. This project aims to introduce Acerophagus papayae for classical biological control of papaya mealybug. Through this initiative, the project intends to improve the capacity of farmers and extension services to adopt climate-smart conservation biocontrol practices that interface with biodiversity conservation efforts and ultimately enhance food security.

CABI hosts delegation of top UK scientists and CGIAR

CABI recently brought together some of the world’s leading agricultural scientists and Professor Lindiwe Sibanda, Chair of CGIAR’s System Board, to discuss opportunities for greater collaboration between UK scientific institutions and CGIAR

CASA highlights investment gap limiting smallholder engagement in commercial markets