Information Analysis

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500. A Better World-SDG 13

This is the 500th article in the Pick up section that we started on March 8, 2020. Today we are featuring “A Better World” published by the Human Development Forum, which features various education and innovation efforts around the world related to the Sustainable Development Goal on climate change (SDG 13). This publication also introduces the research agenda of the JIRCAS Environment Program on climate change focusing on the Asian Monsoon region.

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499. Dissemination and Use of Differential System Against Rice Blast

Blast disease, caused by a type of filamentous fungus (Pyricularia oryzae), occurs in all regions where rice is grown, from tropical to temperate zones. Blast disease is caused by the repeated use of a single rice cultivar over a wide area (monoculture), which results in a dominant race of fungi capable of infecting that particular resistant cultivar, and is induced by low temperatures during the growing season, such as cold injury, and excessive application of fertilizer. Damage is increasingly being reported not only in temperate regions but also in tropical regions of Africa and Asia. Breeding rice cultivars that take advantage of genetic diversity and developing cultivation methods will be important for rice cultivation, especially in economically poor developing regions.
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498. Increasing Rice Production and Malaria Eradication Simultaneously Require Cooperation Between Agriculture and Health Sectors

Malaria, a disease transmitted by the bite of a mosquito carrying the malaria parasite, remains one of the most serious infectious diseases in the world. In many parts of Africa, malaria is the most common reason for visits to outpatient clinics and admissions to pediatric wards. On the other hand, rice is the fastest expanding crop in Africa, and with the projected increase in demand for rice, many African countries are looking to expand production. A study published in The Lancet Planetary Health conducted a meta-analysis of the relationship between rice cultivation and malaria transmission. The study concluded that cooperation between the agricultural and health sectors is necessary to simultaneously achieve the two development goals of increasing rice production and eradication of malaria.
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497. Unravelling Little-known Small-scale Marine Fishing in Cambodia

The year 2022 has been designated as the International Year of Artisanal Fisheries and Aquaculture. It is extremely important to understand the actual situation for the promotion of small-scale fishery and aquaculture workers. However, catch statistics, which serve as basic data for fisheries management, often provide sample data on a limited number of species caught by large-scale fisheries in developing countries, and the catch and operational status of small-scale surface fisheries are largely unknown. Since many small-scale marine fisheries in Cambodia are operated by fishers, Tokai University and JIRCAS analyzed the actual situation with the cooperation of the Cambodian government.
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496. UN International Day of Forests and the Forest Utilization in Tropical Islands

One week from now, on March 21, is the “International Day of Forests (IDF)”. This year's theme is "Forests and sustainable production and consumption”. Forests not only produce timber, but also serve socially beneficial functions such as water and soil conservation and climate change mitigation, and are important places of livelihood for local residents who produce non-timber forest products (NTFPs) such as fruits and mushrooms. At JIRCAS, we are conducting research on sustainable resource use in forested mountainous areas that can both sustain the livelihoods of small-scale farmers and improve water and soil conservation functions.
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495. Towards a Food System that Averts Future Pandemics

It has been two full years since the World Health Organization (WHO) declared COVID-19 pandemic in 2020. Pandemics are extremely costly, and prevention is more effective in reducing the incidence of the zoonotic diseases that cause them. Prevention of pandemics and zoonoses requires monitoring of the food system, which is the largest factor in biodiversity loss and land use change.

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494. PNAS: Ten Facts About Land Use Sustainability

In February 2022, PNAS published a paper summarizing the 10 facts about land use sustainability based on a review of literatures. The paper is based on the premise that land use is intertwined with sustainability in many ways, including biodiversity conservation, climate change, food security, poverty reduction, and sustainable energy.
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493. Millet Day

March 9th is “Millet Day”. Millet is a general term for minor cereal crops such as Japanese millet, foxtail millet, and pearl millet that produce small grains. Let's learn about millet in today's Pick Up.
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492. Accelerated Expansion of Cropland in the 21st Century

A paper published in the international journal Nature Food in January 2022, examines global cropland expansion using satellite data and shows that cropland has been expanding at an accelerating rate since the beginning of the 21st century. Half of the newly created cropland area is from natural vegetation and tree cover, contradicting SDG Goal 15 (Life on land), which aims to halt deforestation and degradation of natural habitats.
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491. Obesity and the Food System

March 4 was World Obesity Day. Overweight and obesity are conditions that pose a risk to health, and as of 2017, it is estimated that over 4 million people die each year from overweight or obesity. Once a problem seen only in high-income countries, in recent years it has been on the rise in low- and middle-income countries, especially in urban areas. There is a need to fundamentally rethink the food system regarding dietary habits that cause overweight and obesity.

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490. Vegetable Research ― Towards Improving Global Nutrition ―

Eating vegetables and obtaining nutrients and functional ingredients are important for a healthy life. Today’s article is an excerpt from the latest issue of “Koho JIRCAS” introducing our research activities to improve nutrition using vegetable genetic resources.
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489. Substance from Maize that Makes the Earth Healthy

In order to increase the yield of crops and livestock feed for supporting the growing population, it is necessary to apply nitrogen fertilizer into the soil. Unfortunately, only about 50% of what is administered is absorbed by the plants, and the rest is released from the farmland in the forms of polluted water and greenhouse gases. From the latest issue of the JIRCAS bulletin, we present an article on the search for substances from maize, that can make the earth healthier.
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488. Mismatch in Seasons and Life Cycle Patterns of Plants and Animals Due to Climate Change

The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) has been releasing Frontiers reports since 2016 that focus on emerging environmental challenges. In Frontiers 2022: Noise, Blazes and Mismatches, published on February 17, 2022, the following issues are addressed: the long-term physical and mental health impacts of urban noise pollution, the increasing frequency of wildfires and forest fires and the shifting rhythm of nature due to climate change. Today, we will focus on the mismatch between the life cycle patterns of plants and animals and the seasons.

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487. IPCC - The Need for Climate Resilient Development

In February 2022, Working Group II of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released its report “Climate Change 2022: Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability”, assessing the the impacts of climate change on ecosystems, biodiversity, and human communities at global and regional levels, analyzing vulnerabilities and the capacities and limits of the natural world and human societies to adapt to climate change, and proposing policy commitments and governance to promote adaptation, mitigation, and achievement of the SDGs towards climate resilient development.
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486. Distribution of Stalks for Seeds of a New Sugarcane Variety “Harunoogi” Bred by JIRCAS and NARO to Farmers

Sugarcane is an important crop for food and energy production in the world, producing about 80% of the world's sugar and 40% of the world's bioethanol. In Japan, it is cultivated as a main crop in the Nansei Islands and plays an important role in maintaining domestic self-sufficiency in sugar and the social and economic life of the island region. JIRCAS, in collaboration with the National Agriculture and Food Research Organization (NARO) has bred Japan's first sugar cane variety for sugar production, "Harunogi", using interspecific hybridization with wild sugarcane varieties. The distribution of stalks for seeds to farmers in the Kumage and Amami regions of Kagoshima Prefecture has began in February 2022, with the aim of spreading this new variety.
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485. Addressing the Global Challenge of Malnutrition ~ Contributions from the JIRCAS Information Program

JIRCAS publishes a Japanese bulletin called “Koho JIRCAS”, which introduces the activities of research staff. This article introduces an excerpt from the latest issue focusing on our efforts to address the global challenge of malnutrition. For more details, please refer to the “Koho JIRCAS” link.

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484. Role of Fisheries and Aquaculture in Sustainable Food System

For people around the world, seafood resources are essential to a healthy diet and are of vital cultural importance. Small-scale fisheries and aquaculture workers play a major role in providing fish, molluscs, crustaceans and aquatic plants. The United Nations has designated 2022 as the International Year of Artisanal Fisheries and Aquaculture (IYAFA 2022) to provide an opportunity to highlight the importance of small-scale artisanal fisheries and aquaculture for our food systems, livelihoods, culture and the environment.
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483. Soil Management Research as a Key to Agricultural Development in Africa

As TICAD 8 is coming up this year, Japan’s guidelines for African development will be discussed, but it is also interesting to note what other countries are doing. The EU's strategy report on Africa released in February listed green transition as one of the political priority areas, and emphasized the central role of a strong and sustainable agriculture based on sound soil management, and the need for in-depth knowledge of the agro-climatic and soil conditions in Africa to develop such an agricultural model.
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482. Overview of Food Security and Nutrition in Africa

The 8th Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD8) will be held in August 2022 in Tunisia. Agriculture, as a major industry, is essential for Africa's development and is also very important from the perspective of food security. This article introduces the key messages of the FAO report "Africa - Regional Overview of Food Security and Nutrition 2021" published last year and shares the current situation.
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481. Sustainable Rice Production: Adapt Production Systems to Changing Climatic Conditions and Reduce Environmental Impacts

As climate change accelerates at an unprecedented rate, each country and region needs to take measures to adapt to and mitigate climate change. This article summarizes some of the best practices that can be implemented to improve or maintain the productivity of rice cropping systems at risk from climate change as introduced in the FAO report "Crops and climate change impact briefs".