NEW Parasite publication online in Field Crops Research

We are glad to share with you yet another PARASITE project publication recently published in Field Crops Research. The manuscript is entitled: "Fertilisers differentially affect facultative and obligate parasitic weeds of rice and only occasionally improve yields in infested fields” and is co-authored by Dennis E. Tippe, Lammert Bastiaans, Aad van Ast, IbnouDieng, Mamadou Cissoko, Juma Kayekee, Derek W. Makokha and

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PhD opportunities with NRI and Rothamsted Research

NRI and Rothamsted Research are recruiting applicants for an exciting PhD project looking at ways to enhance the control of the parasitic weed Striga hermonthica in sorghum. For more information please contact Dr Jonne Rodenburg

Sucking the life out of its host: the Vampire weed

A team of researchers and students from NRI and Wageningen University, is investigating exactly how Rhamphicarpa fistulosa or as it’s more commonly known, Rice Vampireweed, gets its strength. Dr Jonne Rodenburg of NRI, says that ‘vampire’ is just one of the names this plant goes by: “actually a number of gruesome analogies have been used to describe this otherwise harmless-looking tropical plant,

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NEW PUBLICATION: Inefficiency of manual weeding in rainfed rice systems affected by parasitic weeds

Even after its official closure, the Parasite publications just keep on coming… Dr Simon Ncho and colleagues published a paper in Agricultural Economics entitled "Inefficiency of manual weeding in rainfed rice systems affected by parasitic weeds". More info below: Abstract Manual weeding is the predominant weed control practice and the most labor‐consuming activity in smallholder, rainfed rice systems in sub‐Saharan Africa.

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Parasite ruins African rice culture

At a first glance, Rhamphicarpa fistulosa might look innocent, but it turns rice plants into slaves. PhD candidate Stella Kabiri investigated the effects of this parasitic weed that damages the African rice production at an ever-increasing rate. It is nothing new that Rhamphicarpa fistulosa has been parasitising rice in many African countries, but Kabiri studied how this vampiric plant exhausts the rice

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PUBLICATION: Slavery in Plants: how the facultative hemi-parasitic plant Rhamphicarpa fistulosa can completely dominate its host

Abstract The rain-fed lowland rice weed Rhamphicarpa fistulosa (Rice Vampireweed) is a facultative root parasitic plant. Growth and reproduction of R. fistulosa benefit considerably from parasitism, but how this affects the host plant is not well established. We determined accumulation and partitioning of rice-parasite biomass in two pot experiments. First, rice (cv. IR64) was grown under eight R. fistulosa densities

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NEW PUBLICATION: Timing as parasitic weed control strategy in rice

PARASITE is happy to announce a new publication by our PhD researched Dennis Tippe and colleagues entitled: “Delayed or early sowing: Timing as parasitic weed control strategy in rice is species and ecosystem dependent”. Parasitic weeds are a severe problem in rain-fed rice production ecosystems in sub-Saharan Africa. In a recent paper, published in Field Crops Research (Volume 214, pages 14-24),

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Symposium and PhD defence Stella Kabiri

PhD defence Stella Kabiri On Friday 1 September 2017, Stella Kabiri will defend her PhD-thesis at 11.00 a.m. in the Aula of Wageningen University, Generaal Foulkesweg 1a in Wageningen, the Netherlands You are cordially invited to attend the public defence of the thesis entitled: "Ecology and Biology of Rhamphicarpa fistulosa, a New Parasitic Weed of Rain-fed Rice (Oryza sativa) in sub-Saharan

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NEW PUBLICATION: Farmers’ knowledge, use and preferences of parasitic weed management strategies in rain-fed rice production systems

The parasite project has yielded another publication, analysing farmers' knowledge, use and preferences of parasitic weed management strategies in rain-fed rice production systems in Tanzania. This study assessed farmers' awareness, use, preference and adoption criteria of parasitic weed management practices in rain-fed rice production environments in Tanzania. Surveys and workshops were organized in three affected rice growing areas in Morogoro-rural, Songea

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NEW PUBLICATION on the impact of parasitic weeds on rice farmers

Another PARASITE science paper has been published by Dr Simon N'cho and team. The paper shows how productivity and technical efficiency levels in rice production systems are severely constrained by biotic constraints such as parasitic weeds. This paper assesses the impact of infestation by parasitic weeds on rice farmers’ technical efficiency and examines the potential role of managerial factors in improving

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NEW PUBLICATION on Striga spp. in rice

Research on Striga spp. in rice shows genetic variation and host–parasite specificity of resistance and tolerance, underpinning the need for predictive breeding… In a new publication in New Phytologist, scientists of AfricaRice, the University of Sheffield and a host of students and co-workers show that Striga virulence varies across species (S. asiatica and S. hermonthica; see Photo 1) and ecotypes and that the extent of damage these

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Parasite poster during the Netherlands Annual Ecology Meeting (NAEM)

Between 14-15 February 2017, the Netherlands Annual Ecology Meeting (NAEM) was conducted. The meeting was held at  the Conference Centre De Wereld in Lunteren, the Netherlands. The 2017 meeting demarkated the 10th edition of the event and involved high-ranking internationally esteemed scientists. Dennis Tippe presented a poster titled: "Effect of sowing time on parasitic weeds in rain-fed rice production eco-systems”. Please find the

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New PARASITE publications and media

Although PARASITE has officially come to an end, the outputs keep on coming… One of the more recent outputs of the PARASITE-project on the estimated economic losses following parasite weed infestation in rice in Africa, authored by Jonne Rodenburg, Matty Demont, Sander Zwart and Lammert Bastiaans, entitled: "Parasite weed incidence and related economic losses in rice in Africa. Agriculture, Ecosystems

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PARASITE decision making tool RAAIS applied in Kazakhstan

Rapid Appraisal of Agricultural Innovation Systems (RAAIS) has been applied in a program on climate change adaptation in Southeast Kazakhstan. The authors reflect on the usefulness of the RAAIS approach and consider the overall effectiveness of the method as a research tool, practical issues in the implementation ofworkshops, definition of and selection of participant groups, as well as the questions of participation and

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NEW PUBLICATION: Parasitic weeds in rice cost African economies USD200M per year

A new paper entitled: ‘Parasitic weed incidence and related economic losses in rice in Africa’ by J. Rodenburg, M. Demont , S. Zwart and L. Bastiaans has just appeared in Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment 235 (306-317). The paper is one of the outputs of the PARASITE-project. The paper presents a method for estimating the economic impact of parasitic weeds in

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NEW PUBLICATION: Facultative parasitism of Rice Vampireweed

A new paper ‘Host influence on germination and reproduction of the facultative hemi-parasitic weed Rhamphicarpa fistulosa’ was published in Annals of Applied biology in which the germination ecology and parasitism of the facultative parasitic plant, Rhamphicarpa fistulosa (Rice Vampireweed) were investigated in comparison with the obligate parasitic plant Striga hermonthica (Purple Witchweed). We hypothesized that, being a wetland species, germination of

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New PARASITE publication on “rice yields under Rhamphicarpa fistulosa-infested field conditions”

This study reports on the existence of resistance and tolerance against Rhamphicarpa fistulosa as well as on yield levels and relative yield losses incurred under R. fistulosa infested field conditions among a range of adapted lowland rice varieties. The facultative parasitic weed Rhamphicarpa fistulosa, is a widespread problem in rain-fed rice production systems in Africa. Little is known about rice

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Uganda’s struggle with Striga… or is it Rhamphicarpa??

Last week we discovered the following YouTube message: “A parasitic weed has invaded and destroyed over 50 acres of Rice Plantations in Iganga Distinct leaving many farmers counting losses. The weeds identified as Striga have caused massive damage in a space of just two weeks in Buyanga Sub-county": https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wCxpFNQwVjc This video, produced for the Ugandan national television station NTV, shows rice

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New video on how African rice farmers can reduce Striga problems in their crop

New video on how African rice farmers can reduce Striga problems in their crop A farmer-to-farmer instruction video on the parasitic weed Striga and soil management in upland rice has been produced by the Africa Rice Center(AfricaRice) and its partners as part of the African Development Bank-funded project ‘Support to Agricultural Research for Development of Strategic Crops in Africa (SARD-SC). Striga is a

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Seminar on the PARASITE Project at FAO

On Monday 10th August 2015, Josey Kamanda gave a talk entitled "Preparing African Rice Farmers Against Parasitic Weeds in a Changing Environment (PARASITE): A Transdisciplinary Approach" at the FAO headquarters in Rome. The talk was part of a seminar series for FAO's Plant Production and Protection Division (AGP). Dr Gualbert Gbèhounou – a member of the PARASITE project, also attended the

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Farmers Field Day in Kyela, Tanzania on 13 June 2015

As part of the PhD project of Dennis Tippe, participatory field trials on acceptable technologies against the parasitic weeds of rice are being conducted in Kyela, Tanzania. It was a continuation of the technology evaluation and selection done by farmers on Striga asiatica and Rhamphicarpa fistulosa management during 2012, 2013 and 2014. Rice farmers from the two villages of Kilasilo

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PhD graduation Josey Kamanda

On Wednesday 8 July 2015, PARASITE postdoc Josey  Kamanda successfully defended his PhD work at the University of Hohenheim in Stuttgart, Germany. The thesis, supervised by Prof. Dr. Regina Birner, examined the dilemma faced by international agricultural research centres under the CGIAR in defining their functional boundaries. Josey graduated with the highest grade (1.0 – Sehr Gut [very good]). Summary

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Stella Kabiri awarded best-poster-award EWRS

During the recent EWRS (European Weed Research Society)-symposium on ‘Weed Management in Changing Environments’ held in SupAgro, Montpellier, France, from 23-26 June 2015, Stella Kabiri was awarded the prestigious best-poster-award. The title of her poster was: ‘Exploring the life-history strategy of the facultative root parasitic weed Rhamphicarpa fistulosa’. In her poster, co-authored by Aad van Ast, Jonne Rodenburg and Lammert

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New publication: Participatory appraisal of institutional and political constraints and opportunities for innovation to address parasitic weeds in rice

Our most recent paper is published with Crop Protection. The paper explores the institutional and political dimensions of parasitic weeds in rice in Tanzania and Benin. Key lessons learned include: Institutional and political dimensions of parasitic weed problems are underexposed Constraints are often embedded in broader crop protection and agricultural systems Examples include: access to credit, high quality inputs, information and training Stakeholder

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Lunch seminar Josey Kamanda

On Thursday 26 February 2015 he gave a lunch seminar at the Knowledge Technology and Innovation (KTI) Group. In his presentation, Josey talked about his PhD work as well as the PARASITE project. He gave a introduction on the challenges posed by parasitic weeds and how the Parasite programme aims to address them. He also spoke about the objectives of

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New publication: Rhamphicarpa; a parasitic weed threatening rice in Africa

Jonne Rodenburg and Lammert Bastiaans published a review paper entitled: “Rhamphicarpa fistulosa, a widespread facultative hemi-parasitic weed, threatening rice production in Africa” in Weed Research. Abstract Rhamphicarpa fistulosa is a facultative hemi-parasitic plant of the Orobanchaceae family, adapted to wet soils. Apart from tropical Australia, it is only found in sub-Saharan Africa, where it is considered a minor weed in cereal crops such

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PhD defence Simon N’cho

On Monday 1 December 2014 Simon N'cho defends his PhD-thesis entitled: "Socio-economic impacts and determinants of parasitic weed infestation in rainfed rice systems of sub-Saharan Africa". The defence starts at 16hr and will be held at the Auditorium, building number 362 at the Generaal Foulkesweg 1, 6703 BG in Wageningen. Summary Rice is the world’s most important food crop in terms of the area harvested

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New paper: Can Striga and Rhamphicarpa co-occur in rain-fed rice?

Stella Kabiri's first paper has been published in Weed Research. The paper describes how Striga asiatica and Rhamphicarpa fistulosa are parasitic weeds of rain-fed rice that are partly distributed in similar regions in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA).  Particularly in Tanzania, these two parasites are present in farmers’ fields in the same rice growing landscape. The paper demonstrates a non-overlapping ecological range between the habitats of these two weeds that is dependent

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New paper: NERICA rice cultivars and their resistance to Striga

Please find attached a new paper on parasitic weeds published in Field Crops Research. The online link is: http://authors.elsevier.com/sd/article/S0378429014002883 Summary The parasitic weeds Striga asiatica and Striga hermonthica cause high yield losses in rain-fed upland rice in Africa. Two resistance classes (pre- and post-attachment) and several resistant genotypes have been identified among NERICA (New Rice for Africa) cultivars under laboratory conditions (in vitro) previously. However, little

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Parasite PhD Team at 50 Years WOTRO

Parasite PhD students Stella Kabiri, Dennis Tippe and Simon N’cho joined in the celebration to mark the 50th anniversary of WOTRO Science for Global Development. The theme of the conference WOTRO 50 Years was – Forward Thinking. The conference took place on Wednesday 15 October in the Museum for Communication at The Hague. In particular, the conference focused on the

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MSc-thesis defence Luuk van Dijk

On 29 September 2014, Luuk van Dijk defended his MSc-thesis research entitled: "Influence of parasitic weeds on rice-weed competition". Luuk was supervised by Lammert Bastiaans and Aad van Ast. Niels Anten was the external examiner of the thesis. Luuk's presentation can be found here. Thesis abstract Over the last decades rice (Oryza spp) became more important as a staple food crop

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APPLY NOW for the Global Rice Science Scholarship

APPLY NOW for the Global Rice Science Scholarship If you are about to enroll in or conduct your PhD research, you could be part of a new generation of rice scientists with a Global Rice Science Scholarship (GRiSS). The GRiSS offers young scientists the chance to be experts in a scientific discipline relevant to agriculture and to have a broader

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Blog on Parasitic Weeds: “Unknown rice parasite threatens harvests in Africa”

Few agronomists are familiar with Rhamphicarpa fistulosa, a fragile weed with white flowers, from the broomrape family. Yet this root parasite is increasingly affecting rice cultivation in Africa. This has become clear from the initial results of the research programme PARASITE on parasitic weeds in rice in sub-Saharan Africa. The rice pest was described by the Beninese agronomist Gualbert Gbèhounou

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New publication: Determinants of parasitic weed infestation in rainfed lowland rice in Benin

Simon N'cho and his team have published a research article entitled: "Determinants of parasitic weed infestation in rainfed lowland rice in Benin" in Agricultural systems. This paper explores factors that affect the infestation of rainfed lowland rice fields by the parasitic weed Rhamphicarpa fistulosa and farmers’ ability to cope with the problem. A double hurdle model is used, which analyses

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Presentation Jonne Rodenburg at Tropenzentrum, University of Hohenheim

In the evening of Monday 7 July 2014, Jonne Rodenburg had a talk on “Multi-disciplinary and multi-stakeholder approaches in crop protection – the case of parasitic weeds in rainfed rice systems in Africa” as part of the seminar series “Tropenzentrum Invites” of the Centre for Agriculture in the Tropics and Subtropics, University of Hohenheim. Tropenzentrum – wants to promote development

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Impression of the 2nd Science Incubator Workshop on Weeds and Invasive Plants

Between 24-28 June 2014, Marc Schut participated in the 2nd Science Incubator Workshop on Weeds and Invasive Plants in Benasque, Spain. The objective of the workshop was to bring together both the youth and the experienced members of the weed research community to discuss the future of weed research. Ecologists, biologists, agronomists, economists and sociologists engaged in horizon scanning activities and developed

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Rhamphicarpa fistulosa datasheet

CABI has recently published a Rhamphicarpa fistulosa datasheet. The datasheet contains amongst others information on the taxonomy, geographical distribution and habitat of Rhamphicarpa. The datasheet has been developed by Jonne Rodenburg and can be found online: http://www.cabi.org/isc/datasheet/119715.

Update postdoc project (subproject 4)

The postdoc project is in its final phase. A conceptual paper has been written and published in Science and Public Policy. In the paper, we reflect on complex agricultural problems as having four key features: (1) complex problems have different dimensions and can therefore not be fully understood by analysing these dimensions separately (multi-dimensional), (2) complex problems are embedded in

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Parasite progress workshop 17 June 2014

On Tuesday 17 June 2014, the Parasite team met for a workshop in Wageningen, the Netherlands. The key objective of the workshop was to discuss (1) overall progress of the different subprojects (including completed activities and outputs), (2) present work in progress (ongoing activities/ paper(s) in preparation), and (3) the way forward (planning and to be developed outputs). The presentations

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Seminar Jonne Rodenburg at Hohenheim University in Stuttgart

On 7 July 2014, Jonne Rodenburg will give a presentation at Hohenheim University in Stuttgart as part of a seminar series entitled: "Tropenzentrum Invites".  The topic of his presentation will be "Integrated multi-disciplinary and multi-stakeholder approaches to an underestimated crop protection problem – the case of parasitic weeds in rainfed rice systems in Africa".

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