Feed the Future Peanut Innovation Lab

A blog about leading science in peanut and food security.

Applications sought for STAARS fellowship program

Cornell University’s Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management is accepting proposals for the 2019 STAARS Fellowship Program.

The Structural Transformation of African Agriculture and Rural Spaces (STAARS) Fellows program is a collaboration between Cornell University and the African Development Bank (AfDB) to advance in-depth, rigorous, policy-oriented research on productivity and income growth, asset accumulation, rural employment and risk management in African agriculture and rural spaces. (more…)

Presentation stresses nuts as part of healthy diet

A new report presented at the 15th Annual Worlds of Healthy Flavors (WOHF) event shows how peanuts can be an important component of a healthy diet. Walter Willett, a Harvard professor of nutrition and epidemiology, demonstrated through the EAT-Lancet Report that peanuts can be an important component of a healthy diet.

Willett’s presentation was sponsored by the National Peanut Board (NPB), pointed to the scientific consensus that half of a plate of a healthy diet consists of fruits, vegetables and nuts, including peanuts. (more…)

New weed control book addresses peanut production systems

 Experts who worked together in the Peanut Innovation Lab precursor, the Peanut & Mycotoxin Innovation Lab, recently co-authored a book chapter on weed control in peanut.

Weed control book

“Weed Control Sustainability: Hazards and Risks in Cropping Systems Worldwide” contains a chapter on peanuts.

Weed scientists at North Carolina State University, the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research’s Crops Research Institute and the University of Development Studies in Ghana wrote “Sustainable Weed Management in Peanut,” a chapter in CRC Press’ book “Weed Control Sustainability: Hazards and Risks in Cropping Systems Worldwide.”

The chapter discusses the impact weeds have on peanut production and how producers work to minimize the negative effect on yield, using examples from several countries including the Feed the Future target country Ghana.

Drs. Grace Bolfrey-Arku, Israel Dzomeku and David Jordan were actively involved in the work of the Innovation Lab and, along with lead author Dr. Ramon Leon, have created an important resource for scientists and producers who are interested in managing weeds in peanut. (more…)

USAID lauded for innovation

The 2018 Results for America report gives the US Agency for International Development (USAID) a score of 10/10 for  Innovation. USAID is the only 10 for this category among 10 federal agencies included in the study.

The Feed the Future Innovation Labs are highlighted in the report under Innovation.

Results for America releases a scorecard each year, the Invest in What Works Federal Standard of Excellence, which measures how federal agencies are using evidence and data to get better results. The new Federal Standard highlights how nine federal agencies – which oversee more than $220 billion in federal investments a year – are building the infrastructure necessary to be able to use data, evidence, and evaluation in budget, policy, and management decisions.

Training program addresses gender response in plant breeding work

The GREAT program (Gender-Responsive Researchers Equipped for Agricultural Transformation) is accepting applications an upcoming course focused on gender-responsive plant breeding. Researchers are encouraged to apply in interdisciplinary teams of two or three, combining biophysical and social scientists.

The team may focus on any crop, so long as the work involves applied crop breeding research for development projects in sub-Saharan Africa. No previous gender training is necessary, and limited scholarship funding is available.

GREAT courses are intensive, cohort-based trainings for small interdisciplinary teams of researchers from leading agricultural research institutions across sub-Saharan Africa. Through applied training in gender-responsive research theory and methods, participants will be able to elevate the impact of your research, while building their professional networks. (more…)

Feed the Future tells 2018 stories through video

Feed the future has put out an interesting update of the highlights of 2018, complete with stories, photos and video to tell the story of the work done this past year.

There is more work to do to attain global food security. An estimated 800 million people across the world who go to bed hungry each night.

But 23 million more people are living above the poverty line where Feed the Future works. Check out the interactive report.


Journal article covers peanut production, constraints in Malawi and Zambia

In a new paper published by the American Phytopathological Society, ICRISAT’s Sam Njoroge makes a critical review of peanut production in Malawi and Zambia, along with a look ahead at the options for improving quality, quantity and marketing of peanut in the region.

Peanut yield has increased over the past two decades – from 240 to 595 kg/hectare in Malawi and 307 to 454 kg/hectare in Zambia, according to FAO numbers Njoroge cites. But constraints still keep that productivity well below the 2,000 kg/hectare potential and aflatoxin contamination keeps producers from participating in European or South African markets, Njoroge explains.

Njoroge holds a PhD in plant pathology from Clemson University and has worked as an associate scientist on peanut pathology for ICRISAT based in Malawi since 2010. He served as a collaborating partner with the Feed the Future Peanut & Mycotoxin Innovation Lab (PMIL), as well.

A Critical Review of Aflatoxin Contamination of Peanuts in Malawi and Zambia: The Past, Present, and Future is available here.