Interesting news from Sudan, via Facebook:
The Plant Genetic Resources Unit of the Agricultural Research Corporation (ARC) of Sudan has been upgraded to a centre with the new name “Agricultural Plant Genetic Resources Conservation and Research Centre” according to the decision of the Director General, ARC on 20 Oct. 2014 following the approval by the Minister of Agriculture and Irrigation.
Something similar recently happened in Kenya, although it doesn’t yet seem to be reflected in that genebank’s web page. Is there something in the air in East Africa?
Anyway, congratulations to Dr Mohammed El-Tahir, the head of the genebank, and his colleagues in Wad Medani. Here he is, with the lady in charge of genebank documentation, back in 2005, when I was last there.
That’s from the “[s]plendid, viscerally engaging … groundbreaking exhibition” called Fiber: Sculpture 1960-Present, now on at the Institute of Contemporary Art in Boston. And it was pretty cool. But would it have killed them to include some pictures, or even live examples, of the plant (and animal) sources of the raw materials for objects such as this?
Well, maybe not the animal sources…
A blog post from the Chicago Council on Global Affairs a couple of days ago reminded me that we had blogged about GYGA — the Global Yield Gap and Water Productivity Atlas — a couple of years back. Just to remind us all
…the target of the Global Yield Gap Atlas (GYGA) is to provide best available estimates of the exploitable yield gap (Yg-E) — difference between current average farm yields and 80% of Yp and Yw. Water resources to support rainfed and irrigated agriculture also are limited, which means efficiency in converting water to food, water productivity (WP), is another key food security benchmark included in the Atlas.
I’ve had a quick look at the GYGA website, and it seems serviceable enough, though it has the drawbacks, often remarked on in these pages, that it is difficult to share the maps you make, and import your own data into them. Here I’d like to point out another potential issue, though. This is what you get when you look at the yield gap for “rainfed millet.” Because of the aforementioned drawbacks, a clunky screenshot is the best I can manage, I’m afraid.
Now, the stuff in West Africa is clearly pearl millet, but what about in East Africa? Is there really that much pearl millet in Uganda, say? This is what Genesys knows about the two millets in East Africa. And yes, it’s a clunky screen grab too, but if I had wanted to, I could have downloaded separate KML files for the two crops and opened them both in Google Earth and then exported a nice JPG.
Pink is pearl, yellow is finger. There’s a little bit of pearl millet in Uganda, but not all that much. The millet there is mainly finger millet. So, which is the millet in GYGA? Is it confusing the two?