- China and Pakistan to collaborate on ginger. Including exchange of germplasm, apparently.
- US doubles down on cover crops…
- …and pulses. No word on ginger.
- How Campbell doubled down on tomato breeding.
- Mapping farmland changes in Egypt. From space. Still waiting for that genetic erosion early warning system though…
- Our World in Data does global food. Genetic erosion next? Yeah, just dreaming here.
- Cool free book on Plant Food Processing Tools at Early Neolithic Göbekli Tepe.
- Digitizing a million herbarium specimens in Australia. How many crop wild relatives, I wonder?
- A coconut museum, but on Facebook. And a sort of museum of the plants themselves in India
- How to talk about mezcal using all the right words.
- A paean to the mango.
- Agriculture should be more “probiotic.” Mezcal, coconuts and mangoes would probably help.
- It kind of already is in the Andes.
I’m just back from a few weeks’ break in Kenya, where the big news was that over the holidays KFC ran out out chips (French fries). It was not a question of inadequate production, though. There are plenty of potatoes in Kenya.
The problem, apparently, was that potential local suppliers had not gone through KFC’s quality assurance process that makes sure “our food is safe for consumption by our customers”, the company’s East Africa chief executive Jacques Theunissen told the Standard newspaper.
So KFC ended up importing potatoes from Egypt, and ran into supply chain snarl-ups.
Makes you think. What’s the point of fancy breeding projects to boost local production, including by the likes of the International Potato Centre, based on decades of research, and using genetic resources painstakingly collected all over the Andes over many years, if in the end local growers get screwed over standards they don’t even know about?
Anyway, let me say a few words about what exactly it is I linked to above about potato collecting, because it really is worth having a look at.
Professor Jack Hawkes was a world-renowned potato and genetic resources expert who spent much of his professional life at the University of Birmingham. He made his first trip to South America in 1939 to collect wild and cultivated species of potato. And on this expedition and others that followed he made several 16 mm films, which have recently been converted to digital format, and become available to view more widely for the first time.
Dr Mike Jackson, no slouch at collecting potatoes himself, put the website together with help from Dr Abigail Amey, who wrote the narrative to accompany the films.
Happy new year.
- Food security through seed saving in the African diaspora.
- Food security through breadfruit in Hawaii.
- Food security through the dietary diversity of women.
- Food security through preserving fruits and veggies in Azerbaijan.
- Food security through tomato wild relatives.
- Food security through Native American farming practices.
- Food security through agroecology.
- Two guides to making good presentations. For what it’s worth, here’s my take: fewer words.
- The latest on taro leaf blight in Samoa, from an Indigenous perspective. Not a presentation in sight.
- Agroforestry in the Solomon Islands involves 132 species. Probably including taro.
- The case for agroecology from the Global Alliance for the Future of Food. You could also see the above.
- Or, we could tweak photosynthesis.
- The crucial role of genome-wide genetic variation in conservation. Don’t fetishise functional variation.
- The Ancient Varieties of Mountain Maize: The Inheritance of the Pointed Character and Its Effect on the Natural Drying Process. Case in point?
- Diversification for enhanced food systems resilience. Do fetishise diversification.
- Restoring fertility in yeast hybrids: Breeding and quantitative genetics of beneficial traits. Well, that’s one way to diversify. Mules next?
- Predictive genotype-phenotype relations using genetic diversity in African yam bean (Sphenostylis stenocarpa (Hochst. ex. A. Rich) Harms). From 93 IITA accessions to a handful of good ones for the fetishes of seed and/or tuber yield.
- Genetic resources management, seed production constraints and trade performance of orphan crops in Southern Africa: A case of Cowpea. Could maybe fetishise cowpea a little more?
- Urbanization and agrobiodiversity: Leveraging a key nexus for sustainable development. What’s the opposite of fetishising? Demonising? Ok, don’t demonise urbanisation then. Gosh I hope I’m using these words correctly…
- Edaphoclimatic Descriptors of Wild Tomato Species (Solanum Sect. Lycopersicon) and Closely Related Species (Solanum Sect. Juglandifolia and Sect. Lycopersicoides) in South America. We may be in danger of fetishising ecogeography.
- Banana seed genetic resources for food security: Status, constraints, and future priorities. Half of banana wild relatives are not in genebanks at all. Not that we want to fetishise crop wild relatives, but that seems a lot.
- Regulating Seeds—A Challenging Task. How do we avoid fetishising neither formal nor informal seed systems?
- The phytosanitary risks posed by seeds for sowing trade networks. The case for robust phytosanitary measures in global forage seed trade networks. No need to fetishise them though.
- The value of agrobiodiversity: an analysis of consumers preference for tomatoes. Consumers fetishise heirloom tomatoes to the tune of an additional €0.90 per kilo.
- Dynamic guardianship of potato landraces by Andean communities and the genebank of the International Potato Center. Communities don’t fetishise rematriated landraces, but that doesn’t matter.
- Facing the Harsh Reality of Access and Benefit Sharing (ABS) Legislation. The dangers of fetishising ABS. Or is it demonising?