Global
John Bowman (Ph.D. Plant Pathology ’84) recently received the “Outstanding International Horticulturalist” award from the American Society of Horticultural Science. This award recognized Bowman’s lifetime of achievement in international horticulture. He currently serves as a program area leader in the United States Agency for International Development’s (USAID) Office of Agricultural Research and Policy.
Published in News
Technology will play a key role in conquering global food insecurity, and Canadian agri-tech developer JRS VirtualStudio Inc. has teamed up with researchers at McGill University to develop a new mobile app that will help answer important questions about the diets of people living in marginalized communities worldwide.
Published in Research
It may surprise you to learn that wild potatoes grow like weeds in South America. While farmers in the United States battle weeds like pigweed and lamb’s quarters, farmers in the Andes Mountains have to keep weedy potatoes in check.
Published in Vegetables
In late fall 2019, phytosanitary certificates will be made available through My CFIA, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency's online portal. 
Published in News
A multinational team of researchers has identified countries where agriculture's increasing dependence on pollination, coupled with a lack of crop diversity, may threaten food security and economic stability.
Published in Research
The Canada Organic Trade Association (COTA) chairs the Data Task Force on the Organic Value Chain Roundtable, of which OCO is a participant. COTA has been working to expand data collection on imports and exports.
Published in News
Eating a cup of blueberries a day reduces risk factors for cardiovascular disease - according to new research led by the University of East Anglia, in collaboration with colleagues from Harvard and across the U.K.
Published in Research
In a greenhouse in Belgium, a small robot moves through rows of strawberries growing on trays suspended above the ground, using machine vision to locate ripe, flawless berries, then reaching up with a 3D-printed hand to gently pluck each berry and place it in a basket for sale. If it feels that a berry isn’t ready for harvest, the robot estimates the date it will be ready for it to return and pick it.
Published in Harvesting
ECOCERT and Soil Association Certification, the leading French and U.K. organic certification bodies, have announced a formal partnership.
Published in Organic production
Farmers end up throwing away about 10 per cent of their apple yield – mostly from apples that have fallen to the ground and no longer look pretty enough to end up in grocery stores. Other apples are tossed because they're too small, too big or have sun spots. Indeed, according to the U.N., an estimated 1.3 billion tons of produce is thrown in the trash each year, resulting in a loss of about $1 trillion.
Published in News
CABI scientists have made the first discovery of the Asian samurai wasp Trissolcus japonicus – a natural enemy that kills the eggs of the invasive fruit and nut pest brown marmorated stink bug (Halyomorpha halys) – in Europe.
Published in Research
Chinese buyers have developed a taste for Canadian cherries and Sutherland SA Produce in British Columbia looks to be in prime position to benefit from this.
Published in News
When you think of China, do you think of potatoes? Maybe not, but in the Loess Plateau region of northwestern China, potato is the main food crop.
Published in Research
BASF has opened a new state-of-the-art breeding center for cucumbers at its site in Nunhem, the Netherlands. At around 50 million Euro, it is the largest investment in the hundred-year history of the Nunhem vegetable seeds business.
Published in News
Women in agriculture around the world, whether in developing or developed countries, say widespread gender discrimination persists and poses obstacles to their ability to help feed the world, according to a new study from Corteva Agriscience, Agriculture Division of DowDuPont.

The study was released to coincide with the celebration of the International Day of Rural Women. Corteva Agriscience commissioned the 17-country study to underscore the importance of women in agriculture and to identify barriers to their full and successful participation. The study included 4,160 respondents living in both the developed and developing world on five different continents.

"We conducted this study to further understand the current status of women farmers around the world - from the largest farms in the most advanced economies to the smallest subsistence farms in the developing world - and to create a baseline from which we can measure progress going forward," said Krysta Harden, vice president external affairs and chief sustainability officer of Corteva Agriscience.

Identifying barriers to success 
The survey's findings reveal that although women are overwhelmingly proud to be in agriculture, they perceive gender discrimination as widespread, ranging from 78 per cent in India to 52 per cent in the United States. Only half say they are equally successful as their male counterparts; 42 per cent say they have the same opportunities as their male counterparts, and only 38 per cent say they are empowered to make decisions about how income is used in farming and agriculture.

Almost 40 per cent of the respondents reported lower income than men and less access to financing. High on the list of concerns were financial stability, the welfare of their families and achieving a work/life balance.

Many said they need more training to take advantage of the agricultural technology that has become essential for financial success and environmental stewardship. This desire for training emerged as the most commonly cited need among the respondents for removing gender inequality obstacles. The numbers significantly exceeded 50 percent for all 17 countries, with Brazil, Nigeria, Kenya, Mexico and South Africa leading the way.

Removing the obstacles
The majority of women reported progress toward gender equality, but 72 per cent said it would take one to three decades or more to achieve full equality. Five key actions, according to the respondents, were identified to remove obstacles to equality:
  • More training in technology (cited by 80 per cent)
  • More academic education (cited by 79 per cent)
  • More support – legal and otherwise – to help women in agriculture who experience gender discrimination (cited by 76 per cent)
  • Raise the public's awareness of the success women are achieving in agriculture (cited by 75 per cent)
  • Raise the public's awareness of gender discrimination in agriculture (cited by 74 per cent)
"While we know women make up almost half of the world's farmers, this study validates challenges continue to persist, holding back not only the women in agriculture but also the people who depend on them: their families, their communities, and the societies. Identifying the existence of these challenges is the first step in removing obstacles for rural women farmers to achieve their full potential," Harden said.
Published in Research
Wageningen University & Research uses computer models to develop sustainable management strategies in the control of potato late blight, caused by Phytophthora infestans.

At the moment, large amounts of fungicides are used to control the disease. Organic farmers face an additional challenge because they are not allowed to use these chemicals. From an environmental point of view, these chemicals are also very polluting and therefore sustainable late blight management strategies are needed.

In Ph.D research study, computer models have been used to investigate how the disease spreads in an agricultural landscape and to analyze the effect of growing resistant varieties.

In Francine Pacilly's Ph.D. research, computer models have been used to investigate how the disease spreads in an agricultural landscape and to analyze the effect of growing resistant varieties.

These models show that an increase in the number of potato fields with resistant varieties increases the risk that aggressive strains of the pathogen emerge and spread.

This risk decreases if more than 50 per cent of the acreage of potato fields consists of resistant varieties. So, many resistant potatoes are not yet available so alertness is required. Various strategies are available to limit the consequences of a breakthrough, for example the spatial allocation of crops in combination with the use of small amounts of fungicides to limit the environmental impact.

In addition, growing resistant varieties with multiple resistance genes reduces the risk of susceptibility to the potato disease. It is expected that these type of varieties will enter the market soon.

Last year workshops with farmers were organized to increase awareness about the risk of resistance breakdown. In these workshops, the computer model was used to present several model scenarios to conventional and organic farmers. These workshops were very useful for showing farmers how the disease spreads in a landscape over time and space and for showing the effects in the long term.

After the workshop farmers agreed that resistance management is important to increase the durability of resistant varieties and that collaborative action is needed. The workshops were useful to bring farmers together and to discuss strategies in the control of late blight to reduce the impact of the disease.

In order to develop sustainable strategies it is important to consider all factors that influence late blight control such as the disease, the crop and control strategies of farmers. This research is part of the Complex Adaptive Systems program of Wageningen University where the goal is to identify these factors and to analyze how they influence each other. Potato late blight as one system brings a future without chemical control closer.
Published in Diseases
Research at the James Hutton Institute has led to the discovery of genetic variations which can help protect potato crop yields at high temperature, potentially providing potato breeders with a valuable tool in their quest to create varieties resilient to heat stress and suited to the requirements of growers, industry and retailers.
Published in Vegetables
The Honourable Lawrence MacAulay, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, along with Member of Parliament for Kelowna-Lake Country, Stephen Fuhr, recently announced that the Government of Canada has secured market access for British Columbia fresh cherries to Japan. In 2017, Japan imported over $62.7 million (CAD) of fresh cherries from around the world.

Building on Canada's efforts to deepen its trade relationships and commitment to creating new export opportunities, this market access marks a key deliverable from the Minister's recent trade mission to Japan in March 2018. This is one of many opportunities that will help Canada to reach the target of $75 billion in annual agri-food exports by 2025.

Once the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) enters into force, Canadian agriculture and agri-food exports will benefit from preferential access to key Asian markets, including Japan.

Through the CPTPP, Japan's tariffs of 8.5 per cent on fresh cherries will be eliminated over five years from entry into force.

"The Government of Canada is pleased to announce the new market access for British Columbia fresh cherries to Japan. Our Government is committed to seeking market access opportunities across the globe to strengthen our bilateral trade relationships, put more money in the pockets of Canadian farmers, and grow the middle class in Canada,” MacAulay said.

Fresh cherry exports to Japan could be worth up to $8 million annually, according to industry experts. The increased access will advance the competitiveness of, and create new opportunities for, the fresh cherry sector.

"The BC Cherry Association is extremely pleased that efforts from government and industry have secured access to the Japanese market for Canadian cherries. Our growers and industry partners look forward to building long-lasting relationships with Japanese customers and cannot wait to see cherries branded with the maple leaf in stores across Japan," said Sukhpaul Bal, president, B.C. Cherry Association.
Published in Federal
Some relationships can be complicated. Take the one between sweet potato crops and soil nitrogen, for example.
Published in Vegetables
BASF recently closed the acquisition of Bayer’s global vegetable seeds business, mainly operating under the brand Nunhems.

The transaction adds a well-recognized brand with a very successful business track record to BASF’s portfolio.

The acquired vegetable seeds business comprises 24 crops and about 2,600 varieties. It also includes well-established, strong research and development and breeding systems with over 100 unique breeding programs in more than 15 crops.

The addition of the vegetable seeds business enhances BASF’s global offer to farmers. It strengthens BASF’s seed platform and complements the recently expanded Agricultural Solutions portfolio, which includes seeds and traits, chemical and biological crop protection, soil management, plant health, pest control and digital farming.

This closing completes BASF’s acquisition of a significant range of businesses and assets with combined 2017 sales of €2.2 billion, which Bayer offered to divest in the context of its takeover of Monsanto. The all-cash purchase price amounts to a total of €7.6 billion, subject to certain adjustments at closing.
Published in Companies
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