In the 1st new K4D lead article “Harnessing the potential of indigenous rice lines: an issue of food sovereignty”, Narottam Dey, Department of Biotechnology, Visva-Bharati, Santiniketan, India, calls for renewed interest and focus on indigenous rice lines to counter genetic erosion. He argues that the widespread use of high-yielding rice varieties has led to the premature abandonment of many indigenous lines and proposes the establishment of a databank to support future research and development.
In the 2nd new K4D lead article on “How realistic is the prospect of low-carbon rice production? Lessons from China”, Sheng Zhou and Xiangfu Song, Eco-environmental Protection Research Institute, Shanghai Academy of Agricultural Sciences (SAAS), China showcase some realistic methods for reducing methane emissions in rice production. These include irrigation management, the use of suitable rice cultivars (e.g. drought-resistant rice) and combinations of different fertilization regimes. Knowledge of the soil microbe communities associated with the leading rice cultivars is essential.
In the 3rd new K4D lead article “Building a new generation of agricultural scientists in Africa: networking universities – capturing economies of scale”, Adipala Ekwamu, Malcolm Blackie and Joyce Lewinger Moock, focus on the experiences of the Regional Universities Forum for Capacity Building in Africa (RUFORUM), to support innovative curriculum design, and advocate for transformation of tertiary agricultural science, training and research. Currently, Africa records the lowest numbers of PhDs per 1000 inhabitants and ∼2%) to global knowledge resources. Collaboration among universities in a region and linking them to international initiatives can contribute to collective learning, improving quality standards and closing the knowledge gaps.
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Judith Ann Francis
Senior Programme Coordinator, Science and Technology Policy, CTA