How do we feed the world in the face of global population growth, changing demographics and climate change?

This post is written by Prof Andy Salter While the implications of, and solutions to, climate change, were discussed at COP27, two major global demographic landmarks were reached. The global population reached 8 billion and the population of India now matches that of China. These figures highlight the multifactorial challenges we face in ensuring adequate …

Improving the drought tolerance of pearl millet

Today at COP27 the focus of discussions is on water. Ensuring agricultural crops are resilient to drought, especially in the face of climate change is a huge undertaking but extremely important. Our researchers are investigating ways to make pearl millet more drought tolerant and ensure nutrient uptake.  Pearl millet is a key crop that contributes significantly …

How should uncertainty in spatial information be communicated?

This post is written by Dr Christopher Chagumaira with contributions from Prof Murray Lark.  Many and varied people have to make decisions about environmental management, be they farmers, policy-makers or managers, and spatial information about environmental variables (e.g., soil properties) is essential for this task. Within the Future Food Beacon, the GeoNutrition project is concerned …

Soils and decarbonisation: What future for agriculture?

It is decarbonization day at COP27 today. One of the ways to reduce carbon is capturing it in the soil. Soils are hugely important for our futures here on this planet. But how do soils capture carbon? And how can we develop agricultural practices that better support carbon sequestration in soils? In this post, Malcolm …

(Re)thinking a different future: sociological perspectives of climate change

It is time to employ some radical thinking on the future of our food systems, write Lexi Earl, Anne Touboulic and Lucy McCarthy The imperative to rethink our food systems to avoid further long-term damage to our climate has never been more pertinent. Yet much of the thinking on the future of food systems is …

Small Islands and Developing States, food systems and climate change

The food systems of Small Islands and Developing States are particularly susceptible to climate change. They therefore require different strategies and thinking on this challenge, argue Ee Von Goh,  Chiew Foan Chin, Christina Vimala Supramaniam, Andrew Clarke, and Pau Loke Show. Small island developing states (SIDS) are disproportionately affected by climate change. SIDS are considered …

Improving farmer livelihoods through better cocoa bean fermentation

We can support small farmers by using science to understand cocoa bean fermentation, ensuring more consistent beans, and better incomes, write David Salt, David Gopaulchan, and Gabriel Castrillo Cocoa is a significant global commodity, generating income, export revenues, and employment for producing countries. Cocoa is grown across the equatorial belt, by some six million smallholder …

Supporting small scale farmers in developing countries

Diversifying agriculture away from limited cereal crops is important for surviving and building resilience to climate change. It also enables small scale farmers to build socio-economic flexibility, and food and nutritional security, argue Sean Mayes and Festo Massawe. Our current reliance on three major cereal crops for 60% of plant-based calories worldwide is risky. Climate …

Surviving drought: The root of the problem in Bambara groundnut

We must pay attention to those parts of plants we cannot see, to fully understand why some plants withstand environmental stress, like drought, better than others, says Kumbirai Ivyne Mateva. Imagine walking out into a crop field. What do you notice? Perhaps you see lush green vegetation swaying ever so majestically in the breeze (Figure 1). …

The nutritional quality of crops and the impact of climate change

Today at COP26, discussions are focused around public empowerment and education in climate action. Galvanising public action is difficult but not impossible. Grace Kangara explains how promoting locally available organic nutrient resources to farmers is key to both improving soils and improving the nutritional quality of crops, ensuring the availability of micronutrient-dense foods at the …