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Cathy Watson

Cathy Watson is chief of programme development at the World Agroforestry Centre in Nairobi. Before joining ICRAF in November 2012, she founded and ran two NGOs in Uganda -- Straight Talk Foundation and Mvule Trust. She was made a senior Ashoka fellow for social entrepreneurship in 2006. She has also been a foreign correspondent, working for The Guardian and the BBC, among others. A graduate in biology and Latin American Studies from Princeton, she has over 30 years of work experience in Africa with a focus on trees, youth, HIV, families, and communication for social change. She holds a graduate certificate in agroforestry from the University of Missouri.

Dr Happiness Osebele, geneticist and mother of five, one of 29 senior plant breeders from around Africa attending the African Plant Breeding Academy in July 2016 at ICRAF. Photo: World Agroforestry Centre/Catharine Watson

How Happiness is breeding plants for Africa’s future

  Plant breeders are improving food plants and building a more food-secure future for Africa. One has been working at it all her life despite early challenges.   A plant breeder called Happiness spent 17 months trying to...

Forest people of DR Congo guide orphan crop research

Dr Benjamin Dowiya Nzawele, 42, arrived at the World Agroforestry Centre, also known as ICRAF, in Nairobi with an important brief from his national agricultural research institute: To “identify orphan crops not currently taken into account by INERA, their...

Profits, plates and plots: the link between farmers’ diets and their farms

Researchers have found that smallholders participating in a payments for ecosystem services (PES) scheme in Cidanau Watershed, Indonesia had more diverse diets than farmers who weren’t participating. Food security, however, is still an issue for the watershed so...

Research centres, banks, businesses, civil society and farmers join forces to fight future food shortages in Asia

The Asian Development Bank is working with the CGIAR, a global partnership for a food-secure future, as the key research partner in a broad coalition of partners to boost food production across the region.   We are faced...

Smallholder farmers in Malawi are growing fertilizer trees on their farms to improve food production

The adoption of fertilizer trees on farms is a simple and effective way to improve soil fertility, food productivity and therefore contribute to food security. Yet, there is still little empirical research that documents the impact of fertilizer...

From Sumba to Sulawesi: farmers learn from success

Ever wondered what farmers get out of talking with other farmers? Two projects in eastern Indonesia have brought farmers together to learn and inspire.   A group of farmers from the dry island of Sumba, Indonesia visited neighbouring...

Agroforests expanding across landscapes in Northwest Viet Nam

After five years, the proven benefits of agroforestry have inspired farmers to expand from plots to entire landscapes.   By Nguyen Anh Thu and Tran Ha My   A project in the harsh environment of Northwest Viet Nam,...

An agroforestry view on crop modelling

Global food and development policies are increasingly being supported by crop models, but current modelling approaches are unfit for this purpose. The models in use, many of which were developed in the 1970s and 1980s for high-input monoculture...

While raising crop yields, African thorn tree Faidherbia albida captures large amounts of carbon

A large, old Faidherbia albida tree with a metre-plus diameter stored the equivalent of the CO2 emitted by 8 cars over one year. These useful trees play an important role in carbon sequestration, a critical part of the...

ICRAF-Kenya hosts CGIAR site integration workshop

A two-day stakeholders’ consultation on CGIAR site integration in Kenya recognized the strides achieved so far and called for greater collaboration among CGIAR centres and stakeholders in the country. The consultation, held on 10-11 March 2016 at the...

Agroforestry offers sustainable alternative to worrying trend in Mekong region

A shift towards monoculture plantations and higher chemical use is of great concern to many in the Mekong region, particularly due to the impact this is having on food security and health. Farmers who have resisted monoculture cropping,...

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