CBC Radio Speaks to U of G Global Crop Expert

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Prof. Manish Raizada

Prof. Manish Raizada, Department of Plant Agriculture, spoke to CBC Radio’s Fresh Air program on the United Nations decision to declare 2020 as the International Year of Plant Health.

Raizada said he applauds the announcement and the attention it brings to the plight of farmers struggling to grow food amid the many challenges of climate change.

Environmental changes are causing chronic drought in global regions where so many undernourished people live, he said. They are also forcing the migration of insect and pest species into new areas, further challenging farmers.

Raizada said he’s optimistic about the future, noting several research projects and ideas that could offer solutions.

He studies low-cost technologies that reduce the need for synthetic nitrogen fertilizers and pesticides to grow crops, thus empowering farmers from North America to sub-Saharan Africa to be more self-sufficient.

He is currently researching how to infuse crop seeds with specific microbes that can convert nitrogen in the atmosphere into plant food, reducing the need for chemical nitrogen fertilizers.