Feature Story

As the name suggests, a crop wild relative (CWR) is a wild plant species related to a domesticated crop. For centuries crop wild relatives have provided farmers with the genetic material to improve the nutritional quality of crops, enhance productivity, and provide cultivated varieties with resistance to pests and diseases. Their value in increasing crop yields worldwide has been estimated at as much as US$ 115 billion per year. In addition, the conservation of crop wild relatives has become even more critical during a period of climate change.

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All life on Earth depends on water. For those who grow crops to live, however, it is especially important. 

After decades of war, Afghanistan’s economy, and the lives of many of its people depend on agriculture. In the countryside, agriculture, irrigation, and production support the basis of rural life.

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Without knowing about the weather and why it was changing, the people in the village of Jappineh in The Gambia’s Lower River Region would plant the same seeds in the same soil and hope for the best. When harvests increasingly failed, in an area where deforestation, raging bush fires, more severe river flooding and prolonged drought have degraded land and caused fertile topsoils to disappear, disappointed farmers becoming desperate to feed even their own families started giving up hope.

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This week a landmark report on climate change issued a wake-up call about both the huge challenges and the benefits of limiting global warming to 1.5° Celsius.

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Gladys, treasurer of the Tulina Esubi Tree Growers Association in Central Uganda, used to buy her bananas — a staple food of the region — from the market. Now she is producing all that her family needs and even keeping some aside for sale.

“I am no longer worried about my children’s future since I am part of the association. We are working and promoting our work very hard and have already seen it bearing fruit. I am also a member of the local credit association which helps me save some money regularly.”

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We can’t really talk about the planet’s most pressing environmental problems without talking about food systems. And by food systems, we also mean the agriculture that it takes to support them: farming, fisheries, forestry and the value chains that provide food and fiber for our daily lives. 

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When you bite into your next gourmet chocolate bar, take a second look at the packet to see its ingredients. Chances are that the Cocoa came from the Amazon of Ecuador. And if you are very lucky, you may have been consuming the fine aroma cocoa from the Napo region of Ecuador without even knowing it.

Ecuador’s Amazon has long piqued global interests for its high biological diversity. For the people of Ecuador, this biological diversity translates into livelihoods, food and medicine. Therefore, sustainable use of natural resources is essential for this country.

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Underlina Cavalcante dos Santos is a pineapple producer in Acre, Brazil, earning what she describes as a good, stable livelihood for her family in the community of Bonal.

Pineapple, a short-term cash crop with immediate benefits, is just one piece of this community’s thriving agroforestry system that also includes rubber trees, peach palm and other forest species in the restoration of 11,000 hectares of abandoned pastureland.

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As dawn breaks across the beach and the first rays of sunlight illuminate the turquoise waters of southern Viet Nam’s Ninh Hai coastline, fishermen are already hauling in their nets of shimmering, slithering silver fish. Here, in Nui Chua National Park, the sea is the backbone of the economy and the key source of sustenance for local families, many of whom have been fishermen for generations.

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How many people does it take to change a light bulb? So begins the old joke, but the more serious question for India’s Energy Efficiency Services Ltd was how many people need to switch to energy-efficient light bulbs in order to reduce the nation’s carbon footprint?

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