At the launch of the book Science and Innovation for Development on 19 January, co-author Sir Gordon Conway said: “It doesn’t matter where the technology comes from, it matters that it is appropriate.”
Too often international development researchers, policy makers and practitioners get caught up in the source of a technology, and use this as the metric for whether it will be successful.
Continue reading What is an appropriate technology?
The second decade of the last century was an important decade for food research with the setting up of six research institutes focusing on specific sectors such as dairying (National Institute for Research in Dairying) plant breeding (Welsh Plant Breeding Institute) and human nutrition (Rowett Research Institute).
The second decade of this century is witnessing a resurgence of interest in food research, but this time with a difference. Today, the research objectives are not so much about maximising production of food, but producing nutritious food while minimising negative impacts on the environment, including limiting greenhouse-gas emissions.
Continue reading The past, the future, and partnerships
Through our understanding of how plants secure their own nutritional requirements, we can provide new solutions for sustainable food production for the world’s growing population.
Plants must secure high levels of nitrogen, and in conventional agriculture nitrogen is added at high concentrations in the form of inorganic fertilisers. Artificial nitrogenous fertilisers can increase yield by as much as 50% and the global farming system, and hence our own food supply, is now dependent on them. We would face very severe food shortages if nitrogen fertilisers were to become unavailable.
Continue reading Getting to the root of food security