Knowledge for a sustainable world

The mention of food safety in wet markets probably conjures up memories of the emergence of COVID-19 for most of us. But besides COVID-19, there are good reasons for our trepidation. 

We are all trying to make healthier food choices especially with the rise in cases of obesity and other diet-related health complications. With the recently introduced government policy requiring larger food outlets to publish the number of calories in their meals on their menus, these choices have become increasingly challenging.

The Malabo Montpellier Panel’s report ‘BRIDGING THE GAP: Policy Innovations to Put Women at the Center of Food System Transformation in Africa’, was launched at the 12th Malabo Montpellier Forum, which took place online on 8 June 2023. Professor Sheryl Hendriks, Director of the Natural Resources Institute (NRI) and member of the Panel, presented the report.

A key challenge to eradicating onchocerciasis is a shortage of disease surveillance skills. Onchocerciasis, commonly known as river blindness, is a neglected tropical disease (NTD) caused by the parasitic worm Onchocerca volvulus. The parasites are transmitted by repeated bites of blackflies belonging to the biological group Simulium. Africa carries the bulk of the disease burden with over 99% of infected people residing in 31 African countries. To address this skills gap, a team from NRI conducted a training course from 19-23 June 2023 at the University of Energy and Natural Resources (UENR) in Sunyani, Ghana.

Modern agriculture is heavily reliant on pesticides to meet the food, feed and fibre demands of a rising global population. Pesticide use has dramatically increased worldwide; however, increasing concern about their safety and sustainability is driving growing demand for alternatives to synthetic pesticides.

NRI’s Dr. Noushin Emami has recently been awarded the Flormanska prize 2023 by the Swedish Royal Academy of Sciences (KVA). She was recognised "for using creativity and great breadth in approach to have identified chemical substances that affect the behaviour of mosquitoes and their ability to spread vector-borne parasites to humans".

The Baroness Bennett of Manor Castle hosted a reception for the Action for Animal Health (A4AH) coalition for key political and veterinary figures at the House of Commons on Tuesday 4 July, to mark the formal launch of a new report.

NRI was abuzz as the Natural Resources Institute Postgraduate Society (NRIPS), a student-led group, held its 7th annual symposium. Forty-two students at various stages of their PhD studies joined their supervisors, research peers and other university members of staff in a lively knowledge sharing and networking event in the Jellicoe building on 9 June 2023. Prof Andrew Westby, Pro-Vice Chancellor, Research and Knowledge Exchange, University of Greenwich, London was also in attendance.

Insects play crucial roles for UK food security, including pollination and pest or weed control. However, there has been increasing published evidence of insect declines in the UK and globally over the past decade, with significant implications for food security.

NRI is delighted to congratulate Prof. Delia Grace who has been appointed to the High-Level Panel of experts on Food Security and Nutrition (HLPE-FSN) of the Committee on World Food Security (CFS). The HLPE is the United Nations body for assessing the science related to world food security and nutrition. It is the science-policy interface of the CFS and provides independent, comprehensive and evidence-based analysis and advice at the request of CFS.

The Lagos Chapter of the Nigerian Institute of Food Science and Technology (NIFST) celebrated their 9th Regional Food Science and Technology Summit: Repositioning Nigerian Food for Global Market Accessibility from 5-8 June 2023, at the NECA House Events Centre, in Ikeja, Nigeria.

Agroecology is gaining momentum as a widely advocated model for sustainable food systems transformation, especially in the developing world. This is because it embraces diverse sources of knowledge, promotes ecosystem health and provides economically sustainable livelihoods for famers.