Bambara groundnut goes online

by Luigi Guarino on July 26, 2014

A workshop on Bambara groundnut (Vigna subterranea L) was co-hosted by the Crop Research Institute of Ghana and the Crops for the Future Research Centre (CFFRC) last September in Accra. One of the recommendations was to re-establish an on-line forum for the crop. We’ve now heard from Sean Mayes of CFFRC that “(t)he first phase of this is now complete.”

The current material on the site is really illustrative and we would welcome contributions from far and wide. Please make sure that you own the copyright on anything you would like posted, but we would welcome anything from papers to Bambara groundnut researcher profiles, news, current research etc.

The aim of the site is to link together people working in similar areas so that the individual efforts on Bambara research can begin to add up to something greater. This will benefit everyone involved and help to provide hard scientific evidence of how Bambara can realistically contribute to food security and income generation. Integrating research from genomics through to socio-economic policy is a key aim for underutilised species which often suffer from a range of problems across the entire value chain, so we would welcome input and contribution from all disciplines.

The list of contacts we have is currently limited to those who have contacted us, so please feel free to forward the site address to colleagues and other you feel would be interested. If you would prefer to be removed from the list, please let Razlin know (Razlin (dot) Azman (at) If you could also send any contributions/questions/concerns to Razlin as she will be the main person responsible for updating and maintaining the site on a day-to-day basis.

Simply as a starting point, a number of international researchers have offered to act as a steering committee for the site to get things off the ground. However, we are hosting the site on behalf of the Bambara groundnut community, so would also welcome suggestions and offers to help develop the site as a focal point for Bambara groundnut research.

Feel free to use the comments here also to leave suggestions. We’ll make sure they reach their destination.

Incidentally, speaking of neglected crops, can’t resist posting this photo I took yesterday in a Nairobi supermarket.



Global rice genebank just fine

by Luigi Guarino on July 25, 2014

Just a quick note to say that Typhoon Rammasun caused some damage at IRRI, but apparently nothing major. The genebank is ok, but the screenhouse used to keep some wild rice plants will clearly have to be repaired. I’m assured that’s going to be a high priority.



Correction to our post on BCS

by Luigi Guarino on July 21, 2014

Lastus Kuniata, Head of Research and Development at Ramu Agri Industries Ltd in Papua New Guinea, quite rightly corrected our piece on Bogia Coconut Syndrome, both here and on Pestnet:

“The same phytoplasma is suspected to affect other palm crops, such as oil palm and betel nut” this statement by Luigi to suspect BCS in oil palm is not true. This should read “sago palms and confirmed in betelnuts”.

Sorry about that.



The latest on the Bogia Coconut Syndrome

18 July 2014

The main reason for my quick trip to Papua New Guinea last week was to get up to date on Bogia Coconut Syndrome (BCS). Readers with a long(ish) memory may remember that we blogged about this some time back. Quick recap. BCS is a phytoplasma disease first reported about 20 years ago in Yaro Plantation, […]

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If life gives you potatoes…

17 July 2014

This from the Facebook page of the Consorcio Papas Andinas del Peru. The caption says: Pronto, en los mejores Supermercados de Lima, en una edición limitada, de las mejores papas de los Festivales 2012, 2013 y 2014. That means that these little boxes, featuring the best varieties from recent National Native Potato Festivals,1 will soon […]

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Yam secrets revealed

16 July 2014

I ran across an interesting article in The National newspaper last week in PNG, but I can’t find it online, so I’m posting a scan of it below. You should be able to read it ok if you click on it. It’s worth it. How can anything with the title “Secret Abelam yam initiation exposed” […]

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Surviving Typhoon Rammasun

16 July 2014

There’s sad news of much damage, and some loss of life, in the wake of Typhoon Rammasun as it travels across the Philippines. You may or may not be able to see this set of photos from Facebook (I don’t understand how permissions work on Facebook) showing some of the effects of the storm on […]

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Botany on the Beeb

16 July 2014

I’m sure we’re all excited about the new BBC series, “Plants: From Roots to Riches,” which begins on Radio 4 on Monday, 21 July. You can even subscribe to a podcast, so there’s really no excuse for missing any of it. We’ll try to provide regular recaps, replete with spoilers.

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Bananas galore

15 July 2014

Rosa would certainly have welcomed a great new1 catalogue of some 50 banana varieties from the Solomon Islands by Gabriel Sachter-Smith, put out by ProMusa. The varieties on the cover are Broken Heart, Ruhuvia Chichi and Ba’u Lalao. Oh, and there’s also a new wild subspecies from India. Footnotes:New to me anyway. It’s dated 2011 […]

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