July 26, 2021   •   News

Full Professor and Chair of the Animal Production Systems Group

Wageningen University & Research is recruiting a full professor to lead the chair group of Animal Production Systems (APS).

As head of the APS group, you will lead a vibrant team of researchers and lecturers. You will support our group’s research ambitions by further strengthening its position in national and international networks, by consolidating established research lines as well as developing new lines of research. You will actively contribute to the excellent reputation and position of WUR in higher education through your active role in our current education programme and in the ongoing development of courses at bachelor, master and PhD level.

You will provide an encouraging working and learning environment for academics at different career stages. Strengthening the acquisition of external funding for research and recruiting the best new people at all levels are key elements of the chair holder’s responsibility. In addition to that, it is key to further improve the group’s successes in generating scientific and societal impact, and lead the group in the further development of an internationally competitive research profile in which you embed your own lines of research that are complementary to APS’ current research topics.
You are a scientist with broad interest and expertise that will strengthen and extend the future education and research of APS. Furthermore, you have demonstrated the capacity needed to become an internationally recognized leader in this field and to build multi-stakeholder networks in systems research and agri-food sustainability.

The closing date of the vacancy is August 8, 2021. 

To read the full application and to submit your application download the job description below and visit the WUR vacancy website.

July 19, 2021   •   News

GRA researchers are invited to submit an abstract for the MAC-B session organised by GRA Partners AgMIP at the AGU Fall Meeting (13-17 December 2021, New Orleans, LA, US and online).

Session Title: GC026. Co-Benefits and Tradeoffs from Combined Mitigation and Adaptation in Agriculture 

Section: Global Environmental Change 

Session ID: 120744  

Link: https://agu.confex.com/agu/fm21/prelim.cgi/Session/120744

Deadline: Wednesday, 4 August 2021 at 23:59 EDT

Description: Research at the nexus of climate mitigation and climate adaptation in agriculture remains challenging owing to both data and modeling limitations, as well as the multi-scale analyses and stakeholder engagement required. Nevertheless, as climate change intensifies, there is an urgent need to close these research gaps and rigorously assess how simultaneously implementing agricultural adaptation and mitigation interventions could provide valuable co-benefits and/or create trade-offs for food security, environmental conservation, and other important societal challenges. This session invites research papers on agricultural mitigation and adaptation co-benefits and trade-offs, particularly those that introduce data and model tools and approaches needed for evaluation; feature regional projects and perspectives; and provide empirical bases to assess multiple dimensions of societal impacts (e.g., food security, labor and gender, biodiversity, etc.). We encourage submissions representing a variety of disciplines, and in particular cross-disciplinary perspectives on these issues.

Please do not hesitate to contact us with any questions ([email protected]).


Sonali McDermid, Cynthia Rosenzweig, Roberto Valdivia, and Erik Mencos

July 19, 2021   •   News

The June 2021 Croplands Research Group Newsletter is now available! In this edition you can find a link to the recent webinar recording on Full inversion tillage – to sequester soil carbon and reduce N2O losses in New Zealand, a project in Argentina to develop sustainable forestry, the FOODLEVERS project on organic and sustainable food systems in Europe and much more!

July 2, 2021   •   News

The 2021 meeting of the Integrative Research Group was held over four online sessions 24-25 June.

The meeting objective was to bring together members to discuss:

1. the contributions and progress countries are making on initiatives relevant to the work of the IRG networks/topics (country reports).

2. activities that networks are undertaking and identify opportunities for networks and countries (government, institutions and experts) to collaborate (network reports, project reports).

3. ideas for developing the IRG workplan and how our work can have the most impact (discussion).

The meeting was attended by participants from 22 countries and four partner organisations. Recordings of the online meeting and presentations from the sessions are now available for download.

June 21, 2021   •   News

On the 2nd and 3rd June 2021 the Inventories and Nationally Determined Contributions Network held two virtual meetings. The purpose of the meetings was to increase the visibility of international collaborative efforts with presentations by international research partners on inventory research and capability building initiatives, followed by a facilitated discussion. 

There were presentations from the AFOLU IPCC-TFI TSU, The US EPA, FAO-Enhanced Transparency Framework Network, GHGMI, ACIAR, NZAGRC and the Modeling and Inventory Development Subgroup of the Low Carbon Livestock Research Network. 

Collectively, the meetings were attended by nearly 60 participants from Africa, Europe, North American, ASEAN and LAC countries with diverse backgrounds in Inventory compilation, research and development and international collaboration.

Some key themes emerged during the discussion session in both meetings following the presentations. Firstly, international multi-partner collaboration will ensure we avoid any duplication of work. Participants discussed the importance of inventory frameworks such as institutional Arrangements and having a clear inventory structure both for personnel and data management. Identifying and addressing inventory capacity gaps is a focus for all research partners and avoiding outsourcing resources and ensuring regional institutions are supported to develop inventory capacity is crucial.

The meeting report, summary of each presentation and the meeting recordings are now available.

June 18, 2021   •   News

Focusing around “HoloRuminant: Ruminant microbiomes and sustainable production”, this funded scholarship is now accepting applications until the 9th of July. Applicants should have a primary degree or M.Sc. in an appropriate discipline, proficiency in the English language and be prepared for both laboratory and field work (as well as having a full EU driving license). Further information can be found on the flyer below:

June 16, 2021   •   News

The March edition of the CRG Newsletter has been published, and can be accessed through our library at https://globalresearchalliance.org/library/crg-newsletter-march-2021/.

June 3, 2021   •   News

The Global Research Alliance on Agricultural Greenhouse Gases (GRA) is pleased to announce Cuba as our newest member country. This now raises the total membership to 65 countries.

As a signatory to the UNFCCC and having ratified the Paris Agreement, Cuba has a strong focus on climate change. The recent GHG inventory in 2016 highlighted how Agriculture, Forest and Other Land Use account for about 20% of the country’s GHG emissions. It is from this background that Cuba has decided to join the GRA.

The 65 member countries now participating in the activities of the Global Research Alliance are: Argentina, Australia, Bangladesh, Belgium, Benin, Bolivia, Brazil, Cameroon, Canada, Chile, China, Colombia, Costa Rica, Côte d’Ivoire, Cuba, Democratic Republic of Congo, Denmark, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, eSwatini, Ethiopia, Finland, France, Germany, Ghana, Honduras, Indonesia, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Lithuania, Malaysia, Malawi, Mexico, Mongolia, Namibia, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Nigeria, Norway, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Samoa, Senegal, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sweden, Switzerland, Thailand, Tunisia, Turkey, Uganda, United Kingdom, United States of America, Uruguay, Vietnam, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

May 31, 2021   •   News

On 7 May 2021, the Ministry of Agriculture Sri Lanka/National Institute of Postharvest Management along with University of Peradeniya held a virtual workshop on “Exploring the opportunities and challenges in addressing food losses and waste in Sri Lanka and their climate change impacts”. The Workshop was supported by the New Zealand Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) in support of the objectives of the Global Research Alliance on Agricultural Greenhouse Gases.
Forty experts from academia, industry, and government agencies participated in the workshop (see Figure 1 for a breakdown of the participants). Speakers and participants discussed the progress of the on-going GRA-funded small project, “Strengthening Sri Lanka’s efforts to quantify and mitigate greenhouse gases related to postharvest losses” and explored ideas to develop a more extensive research programme to address food loss and waste issues in Sri Lanka and the broader aspects of climate change.

The Workshop found that the following issues need to be prioritised to address the food losses and waste issue in the country and the associated climate change impacts:
i. Robust data are crucial for estimating the greenhouse gases from the Sri Lanka’s agriculture sector and therefore to achieve the Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs). Immediate action is required for improving greenhouse gas inventories for the agriculture sector. This may cover activities such as collecting activity data, developing country-specific emission factors, and building a data-sharing platform;
ii. Visualisation and traceability of the fresh fruit and vegetable supply chains are key to identifying the economic, environmental, and social hotspots and to develop ways of addressing them;
iii. Coordinated efforts are critical to enhance productivity and address climate change. Most of the current initiatives are fragmented and they focus on particular elements of the fresh fruit and vegetable supply chains rather than at the system level; and
iv. Capacity building is key. To achieve the above, Sri Lanka requires support in establishing an effective capacity building process that would address current and emerging gaps and needs.

Details of the discussions

Dr Chanjief Chandrakumar from MPI opened the Workshop, emphasising the role of the GRA in achieving food security and mitigating climate change – “bringing countries together to find ways to grow more food without growing greenhouse gases”. He briefed on the continuing relationship with Sri Lanka – a GRA member since 2013, before moving into the details of the on-going GRA-funded small project, “Strengthening Sri Lanka’s efforts to quantify and mitigate greenhouse gases related to postharvest losses”. The collaborative project between the Ministry of Agriculture Sri Lanka/National Institute of Postharvest Management and University of Peradeniya project aims to quantify the postharvest losses in Sri Lankan banana supply chains and to estimate the associated greenhouse gases.

Mr Andrew Traveller, Deputy High Commissioner – New Zealand High Commission in Sri Lanka, addressed the workshop. In his speech, he highlighted the long-standing bilateral relationship between Sri Lanka and New Zealand. He further emphasised that mitigating agricultural greenhouse gases is a priority for both island nations and New Zealand is committed to strengthening Sri Lanka’s efforts through providing technical expertise and implementing research and capability building programmes. Some of the current initiatives include the twining program between the University of Peradeniya and Massey University to upgrade the veterinary curriculum to global standards, dairy excellence training for dairy advisers, and dry zone smallholder dairy expansion to boost milk yield.

Prof Ajantha de Silva, Secretary to the Ministry of Agriculture in Sri Lanka, highlighted the extreme effects of climate change and their impact on the sustainability of the Sri Lankan agriculture sector. He highlighted the timeliness of the work on mitigating banana postharvest losses and their greenhouse gases in Sri Lanka and acknowledged the support from the GRA and the New Zealand Government.

A poll was used to obtain the participants’ views on postharvest losses specifically, and on the issue of food loss and waste in Sri Lanka broadly. The poll revealed that the experts are aware of the severity of the issue and emphasise the importance of developing and implementing effective research programmes and policy measures.

In a breakout session, participants were split in two groups. Group 1, led by Prof Palitha Weerakkody, discussed postharvest losses and current practices to reduce them. Key messages include:

  • Some of the data gaps in the sour banana supply chain have been addressed through the on-going GRA funded small project. However, data gaps exist in supply chains for other banana varieties and other fresh fruit and vegetables.
  • The economic impacts of implementing mitigation options are unknown – an economic analysis is critical to understand this aspect. This is highly relevant for export-oriented fresh produce.
  • Existing studies, including this one, have not addressed the social aspects of the stakeholders in the fresh fruit and vegetable supply chains. Efforts are required to investigate the social aspects such as ergonomics.
  • Uptake of postharvest management practices is very slow in the country, despite a range of effective mitigation options already in existence.
  • Value addition to traditional banana supply chains has not been much explored. Market exists for banana-based foods and beverages globally, but a market analysis is necessary to understand the local context.
  • A life cycle thinking approach is critical in mitigating food losses and waste including postharvest losses – this requires addressing environmental impacts beyond climate change.
  • Waste management and alternative uses of wastes (e.g. for industrial purposes) would contribute towards establishing circular economic systems – closing nutrient, resource, and economic cycles.

Group 2, led by Dr Asela Kulatunga, discussed the approaches to estimate the greenhouse gases associated with the losses and the existing challenges. Key messages include:

  • Visibility and traceability of the fresh fruit and vegetable supply chains are essential in addressing food losses and waste. They will help in identifying the hotspots and undertaking relevant interventions. This is however not straightforward and requires additional resources to map and redesign the current supply chains.
  • Limitations in activity data and country-specific emission factors hinder the accurate estimation of greenhouse gases. Sri Lanka needs to prioritise improving their greenhouse gas inventories in order to achieve their NDCs. This may include compiling activity data, developing country-specific emission factors, using higher tier approaches for quantifying emissions, and establishing data sharing platforms;
  • Although effective interventions have been proposed in the past to address postharvest losses, they were mostly unsuccessful due to reasons such as affordability, time requirement, manpower requirement, and poor understanding/communication. Capacity building and behavioural change are crucial in this context.
  • Collaboration and coordination between different stakeholders are critical in addressing food losses and waste in Sri Lanka. This includes identifying opportunities to connect with relevant international and national initiatives/programmes, such as the #Nitrogen4NetZero initiative led by the UK and the Collaboration Initiative Food Loss and Waste led by Germany.

Finally, Dr Chandrakumar in closing remarks, summarised the key aspects discussed in the workshop and the opportunities for future collaboration.

Lessons learned and future activities needed

Food losses and waste is indeed an issue of great public concern in Sri Lanka. The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development reflects the increased awareness of this issue globally as well as nationally. Hence, more coordinated efforts are essential.
The ongoing GRA-funded small project has started to address some elements of the food losses and waste issue and the climate change impacts, by quantifying the banana postharvest losses and their associated greenhouse gases. However, wider efforts are critical to address this prominent issue.
Some of the identified key priorities include:

  • Improving greenhouse gas inventories for the agriculture sector;
  • Redesigning conventional fresh fruit and vegetable supply chains;
  • Adopting circular food system approaches to close the nutrient and resource cycles;
  • Establishing collaborations to develop effective mitigation solutions and policies; and
  • Building national capacity to address current and emerging gaps and needs.

As the next step, the researchers leading the current banana postharvest losses project and the workshop participants propose undertaking a meta-analysis/stocktake to identify the gaps related to different aspects of the Sri Lankan fresh fruit and vegetable supply chains. This could be done with the involvement of the workshop participants. Once the gaps and priorities are identified, a more extensive research and capacity building programme will be developed with several work packages led by relevant field experts.

May 11, 2021   •   News

As part of the EU’s Green Week 2021, the University of Santiago de Compostela is pleased to announce an online workshop centring around Agroforestry, Bioeconomy and Green Deal. It will consist of a workshop, presentations on the role of agroforesty in various EU countries and a round table discussion. This session is scheduled for the 19th of May at 10:00am CEST. Further information and the registration link can be found below the infographic:

April 30, 2021   •   News

The first external call of the European EJP-Soils initiative is now open; funding has been made available to enable researchers from GRA members to take part.  The call aims to foster holistic agricultural soil management practices – making a shift to diversify farming to include a variety of sustainable and environmental practices.

GRA funding can be sought for projects aligned to topics:

a) Understanding soil organic carbon sequestration (stabilisation, storage and persistence); and

c)    Site-specific or landscape-scale approaches to improve sustainability, resilience, health, and productivity of soils

GRA funding is not eligible for topic B.

Other funders of this call are from Argentina, Belgium, Canada, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Lithuania, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Russia and the United Kingdom.  Further funders may also be added.

Further information can be found here

April 28, 2021   •   News

As announced at the GRA Council Meeting 2021, a new co-lead for the farm to regional scale integration network was found: The agri benchmark network of the Thünen Institute of Farm Economics (Germany). Our core competence is the farm-level analysis with regards to crop and livestock production systems and their economics. For further insights please have a look at the attachment.

The new co-leads Claus Deblitz, Yelto Zimmer and Nina Grassnick warmly invite you to a 90-minutes virtual kick-off meeting on 25th or 28th of May 2021. The exact date and time will be decided by April 30th once we know who is interested and available.

We aim to discuss the following topics at the meeting:

1. Brief Introduction of participants

2. Short presentation of the agri benchmark network and its current activities regarding climate mitigation measures at the farm level

3. Round trip among participants about your interests and expectations regarding the farm to regional scale network of GRA. In particular, we would love to learn about your view on these questions:

(a)    Are you currently involved in research regarding farm-level strategies to mitigate GHG emissions?

(b)    If yes, what systems and options do you analyze?

(c)     Considering farm-level GHG mitigation strategies, what are in your opinion the most relevant topics for your country?

(d)    Are you aware of other institutions in your home countries that are interested in this kind of farm-level based research?

(e)    What are your expectations to us as the new leads of the network?

(f)      Are you using or do you know methods and databases for upscaling farm-level data to regional level?

4. Possible funding of the network’s work

If you are interested to join the kick-off meeting, please send an e-mail to [email protected] by April 30th indicating your preferred meeting date (25th or 28th of May).

We are looking forward to meeting you virtually in May!

The farm to regional scale network team