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Celebrate International Women’s Day

International Women’s Day (March 8) is a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women.

Hawa Sulley (right) comes from the village called Dagomba is using PMIL Ghana Value Chain project technology to increase yield and decrease aflatoxin in her peanut crop.

The day also marks a call to action for accelerating gender parity. Women farmers across the global are responsible for the peanut harvest. But women also conduct field research, work in seed multiplication projects, process peanut products and lead cutting-edge research in the laboratory. Celebrate International Women’s Day with a look at the many roles women play in using peanuts to make the world a more food secure place.

See photos of women working with peanuts around the world.

Check out this Agrilinks resource page featuring tools to help you recognize the role women play in agriculture.


IIED explores intersection of food demand, de-forestation in Africa

The International Institute for Environment and Development has released a policy briefing detailing the trade-offs necessary to feed a growing population in Sub- Saharan Africa, while conserving forest and biodiversity.

Africa is home to 25 percent of the world’s remaining rainforests, but lost an estimated 15.6 million hectares of forest between 2010 and 2015, according to IIED. With the population of Sub-Saharan Africa projected to double in the next 35 years, imports, reducing food waste and increasing crop yields will only make up part of the increased food demand.

The briefing argues that competition and trade-offs between ending hunger and conserving forests need to be recognized, better understood, and, where necessary, proactively negotiated.

A series of infographics were produced last year to highlight key findings from the research and can be viewed on IIED’s Flickr site.

Check out what’s new at Peanut Base

The new newsletter is out for Peanut Base, the Peanut Genomics Initiative’s collection of online resources for the peanut research community.

Peanut Base is touting:

  • The PeanutBase 2017 survey. Feedback will help Peanut Base improve the site.
  • New markers and the Arachis SNP chip: 15,746 SNPs from the new Arachis SNP chip (Pandey, et al., 2017) which were verified to be polymorphic in hypogaea are now available at PeanutBase as a track on both genome browsers, as individual records, and for download via the GBrowse track (see GBrowse FAQ for more details).
  • Transcript atlas and gene expression browser: Check out the A. hypogaea transcriptome data from Clevenger et al. 2016. This Arachis Gene Atlas contains read counts from 22 Arachis hypogaea tissues. The PeanutBase gene model pages show gene expression using the “electronic fluorescent pictograph” (eFP) browser. This shows where (and when) in the peanut plant each gene is expressed.

Peanut Base is funded through the Peanut Foundation with additional support from USDA.

Feed the Future plans webinar on women, cross-border trading

On this year’s International Women’s Day, Feed the Future’s communications team, Agrilinks, will host “Women Without Borders: Gender and Informal Cross-Border Trade,” a live event in Washington, D.C. that you can stream online. The webinar will be March 8 from 9:30 to 11 a.m. EST. Links to register, both to participate in-person or for the webinar, can be found on the event page.

Around 70 to 80 percent of informal cross-border traders (ICBT) in the southern Africa region are women. Although this trade can empower them economically, it can also make them extremely vulnerable to harassment and gender-based violence from corrupt border agents. These women also experience high taxation and trade regulations, unsanitary working conditions, and limited access to credit facilities and information on market opportunities.

The seminar will discuss the obstacles many of these women encounter. Presenters will evaluate research and recommendations on how to improve conditions for these women to ultimately promote gender equality and economic empowerment.

Deadline extended for postharvest innovation award

The organizers of the inaugural All Africa Postharvest Technologies and Innovations Challenge extended the deadline for entries to today (24 February) to give researchers and innovators more time to participate.

The challenge is part of the All Africa Postharvest Congress and Exhibition which being hosted from the 28 to 31 March 2017 by the University of Nairobi in partnership with a consortium of Kenyan universities, Research and Development Organizations, the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries in conjunction and the World Food Preservation Center. The challenge will be judged by a panel of judges from across Africa; the top 20 postharvest technologies and innovations will be profiled during the Congress and on its online platforms.

The top 10 innovators will receive a shared cash award amounting to $35,000 and get a chance to showcase their ideas to leading investors attending the Congress. The overall goal is to identify technologies and innovations that can address the challenges faced by farmers and other value chain actors in postharvest management across a range of food value chains.

The postharvest conference will be held at the Safari Park Hotel in Nairobi.

Read more about the awards or submit an entry here.


Photo contest shows success of work toward food security

Feed the Future has picked the winners of its most recent photo contest, and they are worth a look.

More than 100 entries showed Feed the Future in action – from Nepal to Kenya to Guatemala – with partners in universities, nonprofits, NGOs and the U.S. Government.

The images tell the story of what it looks like when development works: farmers connect to markets, women and young people have opportunities to build a better future, children get a better start on life with better nutrition, entrepreneurs find support to launch new ventures, research and innovation lead to marketable solutions, and economies and global stability grow.

Check out this year’s top photos. (This is the winning entry, submitted by USAID’s Business Literacy Program, showing a farmer in Nepal heading to a collection center to sell her fresh harvest of vegetables.)

Check out this new video about proper drying of groundnuts

A new video about aflatoxin — where it comes from, how it spreads and how to discourage it — is available through AccessAgriculture. The video combines interviews with local farmers, indigenous music and engaging landscape scenes, as a narrator gives practical advice about drying and storing groundnuts.

The video, which was funded through the McKnight Foundation’s Collaborative Crop Research Program and produced by Agro-Insight, explains that groundnuts are nutritious and sell for a good price, but can develop mold. Fighting that mold and the aflatoxin it produces is important in the field, but even more so during drying and storage.