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Researchers in the US and Senegal are studying why young people leave peanut farming behind and move to the city, an important question for the future of farming in Senegal’s Groundnut Basin. University of Georgia PhD student Pierre Diatta and Virginia Tech’s Brad Mills (far left and left), will present early findings of the study, along with UGA agricultural economist Genti Kostandini (far right), in a webinar next week. The team is working with Katim Toure, a collaborator at ENSA (École Nationale Supérieure d'Agriculture) in Senegal. CAES News
Ag economists offer webinar on why young people leave the farm in Senegal
All over the world, farmers are aging and young people are moving to more urban areas for economic opportunities. Leaders wonder what factors push young people to abandon agriculture and whether technology or other tools can make farming a more attractive option for the next generation. Next week, researchers from the University of Georgia and Virginia Tech will present early findings from research exploring those questions in Senegal, where a team surveyed more than 1,000 peanut-growing households to explore challenges among peanut producers and learn the main reasons why young people turn away from agriculture.
Esther Achola is a PhD student at Makerere University in Uganda working with the Peanut Innovation Lab on a project to find the genetic source of resistance to groundnut rosette disease, a viral disease that can destroy peanut crops in sub-Saharan Africa. CAES News
Student Profile: Using genetics to fight disease, Achola helps farmers
Scientists have discovered that some varieties of peanut have natural defenses against a devastating disease that completely stunts the growth of other varieties. Now, they are homing in on where those resistant peanuts store that defense – where in its genome the disease-fighting weapon lies – so that they can tap into that resistance and give subsistence farmers a way to grow a more bountiful crop with less risk. Esther Achola has her eye on that prize.
Baffoe-Bonnie, an assistant professor of agricultural economics and agribusiness at Alcorn State, has joined the Peanut Innovation Lab at the University of Georgia heading a project on technology uptake in Ghana. CAES News
New project brings MSI into peanut lab portfolio
The Peanut Innovation Lab is adding another project to its portfolio, one that will help farmers in Ghana to see how improved farming practices can improve their bottom line. The project – Modern peanut technology adoption and smallholder farmers’ welfare – is led by Anthony Baffoe-Bonnie, an assistant professor at Alcorn State University in Lorman, Mississippi.
CAES News
Despite travel restrictions, students contribute to international research project
U.S. college students interested in a future in international development could only ponder the possibilities from afar this summer, as the ongoing global pandemic kept most from any sort of study or work abroad. That limitation applied to students participating in a National Science Foundation Research Experiences for Undergrads program at the University of Vermont, too, a program designed to prepare them for graduate school or professional work in international development, applied economics, sociology, demography or public policy.
Henry Ssendagire, a master's student at Makerere University in Uganda, is working on a project with the Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Peanut at UGA to find the alternative hosts for a devastating peanut disease, Groundnut Rosette Virus. CAES News
Student Profile: For Ssendagire, fighting viruses isn’t just about medicine
Henry Ssendagire was supposed to become a medical doctor. At least, that was his mother’s dream. She may have to settle for a doctor of virology. Ssendagire, who grew up in a poor neighborhood in Kampala, Uganda, found himself studying horticulture on a government scholarship. Today, his research may help farmers control one of the most troublesome plant diseases that ruins groundnut yields and threatens food security.
Kaitlin Fischer, a PhD student in rural sociology at Pennsylvania State University working on a Peanut Innovation Lab project has won a Fulbright Scholarship to travel to Ghana and study peanut value chain interventions. CAES News
IL grad student awarded Fulbright to study peanut value chain interventions in Ghana
Women around the world play an important role in producing peanut, but how those nuts get to market is a complicated and critical part of the value chain. Kaitlin Fischer, a graduate student working with the Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Peanut, has been awarded a Fulbright Scholarship to compare interventions to see how two types of commercialization schemes impact peanut farmers, especially women.
Scientists working collaboratively in global research projects have grown accustomed to meeting on Zoom. As the ability to travel safely becomes a reality, the Innovation Lab will hold on to some of the communication habits and tools that proved useful. CAES News
From pandemic pivot to meeting mainstay, lab incorporates the best of digital technology
The innovation lab held its second annual research meeting in a digital format in June, incorporating many of the lessons learned over the past year about how to make the most out of technology for long-distance meetings. To make the most of the ability to meet online, the management entity and many project teams in the Peanut Innovation Lab have shifted the way they get together.
Groundnut Academy logo CAES News
Of course: Peanut IL launches new digital learning platform
Students are on a break in many parts of the world, but learning can happen at any time on a new platform created by the Peanut Innovation Lab. Called the “Groundnut Academy,” the digital learning platform is a place to learn about all things groundnut, beginning with the plant itself. As courses are added, learners can explore the nutrition of the nut, safe post-harvest practices and topics related to groundnut research.
Professor David Bertioli and senior research scientist Soraya Leal-Bertioli work together with peanut plants in their greenhouses at the Center for Applied Genetic Technologies. CAES News
New peanut has a wild past and domesticated present
The wild relatives of modern peanut plants have the ability to withstand disease in ways that modern peanut plants can’t. The genetic diversity of these wild relatives means that they can shrug off the diseases that kill farmers’ peanut crops, but they also produce tiny nuts that are difficult to harvest because they burrow deep in the soil.