Featured: Seed innovation

Susan Bragdon is not so sure about that OECD study about innovation in a consolidating seed sector:

Even if we were to miraculously all agree that these big guys are innovative that does not mean they are behaving in ways that promote or at least do not hurt the public welfare. Corporate concentration allows an exertion of power vertically up and down supply chains and not just in this sector. And unfortunately, powerful, concentrated corporate power increasingly set the rules of the game affecting any kind of true democratic accountability. And it is not just agriculture

Indeed.

And extra points for spotting the link to the post on extension :)

Featured: NZ sweetpotatoes

Ashley Gould doesn’t think much of a story about Yen’s sweetpotato collection in New Zealand that I linked to a few years back.

“Feel good” but essentially untrue… Disinformation and confusion dominated this story from 1988.

Good to have these things debunked. I should have researched the story better.

Featured: Hawaiian taro

Penny thinks traditional varieties are underrated:

Where Hawaii’s research stations and taro farmers practice good soil husbandry, timely harvests and plant stock culling practices, traditional taro varieties thrive. An old Hawaiian saying – nana i ke kumu; look to the source.

This was in reply to a Brainfood snippet on a recent paper by Vincent Lebot and colleagues: “Adapting clonally propagated crops to climatic changes: a global approach for taro (Colocasia esculenta (L.) Schott).”

Results indicated that hybrids tolerant to taro leaf blight (TLB, Phytophthora colocasiae Raciborski), developed by Hawaii, Papua New Guinea and Samoa breeding programmes outperformed local cultivars in most locations.

Jerry Konanui

Some bad news from Penny:

It is with great sadness that I convey the news that Jerry Konanui, of the giant kalo, cultural practitioner, traditional Hawaiian kalo and ‘awa cultivar expert, friend and colleague has passed. Jerry was a shining example of an indigenous scientist who bridged both research and traditional practice effortlessly and was highly respected in Hawaii and elsewhere for his work. He was instrumental in reviving interest in Hawaiian crop biodiversity in the Islands and I was honored to have spent almost two decades working on cultivar recovery and identification with he and his wife. His verification work led to the re-establishment of improved collections among botanical gardens and agriculture stations in Hawaii. Jerry shared his knowledge with great aloha and humor over the years, captivating and inspiring hundreds of students and farmers to plant and rediscover the unique and fragrant flavors of Hawaiian taro and ‘awa. Aloha ‘oe Jerry! You will be sorely missed.

huge taro

Aloha ‘oe Jerry!