Wednesday, 2 July 2008


I thought I might write up a website or blog of the month, beginning today.

Bioversity International is a great website about improving lives through biodiversity research. It is very readable and is one of the best sites for learning about what is really affecting the lives of people in Africa, in particular, but also other third world peoples and how small solutions really can work to improve their lives.

Recently their website has been vastly improved and the address has changed to

From the website:
What we do: We undertake scientific research on the sustainable use of agricultural biodiversity - benefiting people in the developing world, being at the centre of our work.

Who we are: We are a non profit organization with offices in 20 countries and working on projects in over 100 countries with about 300 research partners.

We in the more affluent countries often look to huge solutions for what really are lots of small problems, all lumped together in our minds. But if we take a bit more time and really get to the nub of some of these problems we can see a theme running through them, like a polluted river. And this is called the river of money. Foreign companies can make money out of providing so-called assistance to struggling villagers by buying up their land cheaply and employing the people to work at growing massive crops of things that are then sold to us. It sounds logical and no doubt looks good on paper but where, then, do these villagers get their food? Transport is poor and unreliable, especially in the wet season, and yet they are made totally reliant on buying all their food from elsewhere now they have no land of their own. They are paid very little and often end up destitute. The solution is to help them get started growing their own food, like they used to and help them make some additional money by selling some or value-adding in some way so they are not dependant on foreigners for a decent life.

Wild Crop Relatives is just one of the off-shoots of this Bioversity website and has some great stories about saving some of the world's wonderful wild crop relatives for nutritional input and for biodiversity.

There is a whole section on bananas and it is fascinating!

In fact I am so excited about this new, upgraded website I am going to stop writing this and let you discover it for yourself so that I can go now and discover it too.......she is nearly 50 and still liable to enthusiasms....I love that line! If you are not liable to enthusiasms, come and read this stuff with me and share my enthusiasms!


Jumbleberry Jam said...

What an awesome organization!! Thanks for the link. I'll be following them.

Maggie said...

When will abuse of people and their land end.
The poorest of poor, work to feed the rich (and us) who are overfed, over everything.

Jeremy said...

Nice write-up. Just one teeny, weeny niggle. The name of the organisation is Bioversity Internatinal, not Biodiversity International. Would you mind changing that in you opening?


Kate said...

Sorry Jeremy! I had never noticed this before. All fixed.

Anonymous said...

This was a really good write up, and such an important issue! It's what's often called food sovereignty.

As important as it is for the people living in developing countries, it's just as important for us too because the foods they export are often of poor quality, have loads of air miles and energy in it, aren't necessarily the most nutritious and cheap products can hurt our local farmers too.

It's this big vicious circle that hurts us all.

By the way, thanks for all the great comments you've been leaving on my blog lately!

Kate said...

If you keep writing interesting stuff, Patrick, I find it impossible not to comment! And it is nice that you appreciate reading them.