A number of interesting developments we wanted to share with you.
Funding: 'Sustaining Health – second call for entries now open'
The deadline for Concept Notes is 25 July 2014.
Event: 'Agriculture and Climate Change – Adapting Crops to Increased Uncertainty'
15 - 17 February 2015, NH Grand Krasnapolsky Hotel, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.
Abstract submission deadline: 17 October 2014
Cameroon: understanding the range of perspectives that influence food security policy
In this article, Adam Sneyd, political scientist at the University of Guelph, Canada, argues that Cameroon could achieve a more sustainable and equitable food system if greater policy attention were directed toward understanding the range of perspectives that compete to influence food security policy. Assessing the 'footprint' of new interests in this area, Sneyd's analysis suggests that food security policy in Cameroon could be more responsive to the ways new sources of finance, direct investment and trade affect differential impacts on the local availability, accessibility and adequacy of food. For example, a more participatory policy regime would reflect contrasting opinions and enhance policy on each dimension of food security. The author concludes that decision-makers will need to assess local perspectives on the potential multidimensional food security footprint of financial deals, direct investments or trade relations in order to secure the sustainability of the sector.
Read Sneyd’s Policy brief: http://www.relufa.org/documents/SneydPolicyBriefCMRFoodEmergingEconomies.pdf
Bio-availability of iron, zinc, and pro-vitamin A carotenoids in bio-fortified staple crops
This review of recent studies of bio-fortified crops, led by Michael R. La Frano at UC Davis, assesses the micronutrient bio-availability of bio-fortified staple crops and derives lessons that may help direct plant breeding to understand the potential efficacy of food-based nutrition interventions. Although breeding to reduce the amounts of antinutrients and the heat treatment of food processing are common-place processes that generally increase the bio-availability of micronutrients, the researchers note that antinutrients still possess important benefits. Nevertheless, bio-fortified foods with relatively higher micronutrient density have higher total absorption rates than non-biofortified varieties. From a policy point of view, this study presents evidence that supports the focus on efforts to breed plants with increased micronutrient concentrations in order to decrease the influence of inhibitors and to offset losses from processing.
(Nutrition Reviews, 01/04/2014)
EC launches pilot to open up publicly funded research data
Valuable information produced by researchers in many EU-funded projects will be shared freely as a result of a Pilot on Open Research Data in Horizon 2020. Researchers in projects participating in the pilot are asked to make the underlying data needed to validate the results presented in scientific publications and other scientific information available for use by other researchers, innovative industries and citizens. The Pilot on Open Research Data in Horizon 2020 does for scientific information what the Open Data Strategy does for public sector information: it improves and maximises access to and re-use of research data generated by projects for the benefit of society and the economy.
(European Commission, 16/12/2013)
Integrated coastal management: lessons in capacity building and good governance
This issue published by START International (Global Change System for Analysis, Research and Training) explores prevailing knowledge on the policy nexus between coastal management and coastal adaptation, with special emphasis on the Integrated Coastal Zone Management (ICZM) framework in promoting the health of marine and coastal ecological systems. ICZM provides a framework for sustainably managing the coast by supporting spatial and sectoral integration and coordination of activities in the coastal space.
(START International, 19/02/2014)
Reaping benefits from post-harvest science in the South Pacific
Professor Steven Underhill of the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR) describes how research in the South Pacific is being tailored to boost Fiji fruit and vegetable exports. His impression of postharvest handling systems in the South Pacific was that of a sub-optimal system which lacks reliable infrastructure and technology. For example, packaging is inappropriate for transporting produce any distance (i.e. old boxes and sacks are used), packing facilities are limited, trucks overloaded with produce travel along rough roads, and refrigeration is non-existent. Given these apparent postharvest limitations, Underhill believes improvements to postharvest practices present big opportunities to benefit local farmers. Historically, postharvest efforts have centred on introducing a concept of 'post-harvest best practice' from outside the region. Over the past decade, this approach has led to the construction of packing sheds and improved packaging with cool storage, and general post-harvest training for farmer groups. However, Underhill feels much more could still be done to tailor solutions to the local context and maximise benefits for smallholder farmers. Understanding local needs and analysing the post-harvest supply chains should be top priorities for post-harvest science.
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