Seed in the spotlight / Scanning for heat tolerance / COVID-19

March / April 2020

Grow vegetables!

Simple methods anyone can use anywhere to produce nutritious food.


Scanning the core

A closer look at a special collection of Capsicum could reveal important crop characteristics not visible to the human eye. New instruments make it possible.

Build diverse food systems for post-COVID-19 world

The crisis underlines three important points: the importance of science and innovation; the vulnerability of billions of people at the bottom of the pyramid; and the need for more diversified, nutritious, and resilient food systems.

Above the Circle

Another shipment of precious WorldVeg vegetable seed made the long trek beyond the Arctic Circle for safekeeping in the Global Seed Vault. DG Marco Wopereis was the courier. 

Asia-Pacific seed trade reeling from COVID-19 lockdown

Severe restrictions on the movements of people and goods imposed in recent weeks are having widespread negative effects on the seed industry in the Asia-Pacific region with international seed trade particularly affected, a survey of seed companies finds. 

Diets in a time of coronavirus: Don’t let vegetables fall off the plate

Vegetables are a key source of essential nutrition and play a crucial role in healthy diets. Jody Harris, the World Vegetable Center's Lead Specialist for Food Systems, explains that vegetable production, trade and consumption are particularly affected by COVID-19 because of their highly seasonal nature, high labor needs, perishability, and the need for good storage and distribution logistics—with significant implications for nutrition security.


Cui et al. 2020. Whole-genome sequencing provides insights into the genetic diversity and domestication of bitter gourd (Momordica spp.) HORTICULTURE RESEARCH. 7:85.

Romera-Branchat, M., Severing, E., Pocard, C., Ohr, H., Vincent, C., Née, G., Martinez-Gallegos, R., Jang, S.Andrés, F., Madrigal, P., Coupland, G.* (2020) Functional divergence of the Arabidopsis florigen-interacting bZIP transcription factors FD and FDP. CELL REPORTS 31(9): 107717. 

Guimapi, R.A.; Srinivasan, R.; Tonnang, H.E.; Sotelo-Cardona, P.; Mohamed, S.A. 2020. Exploring the mechanisms of the spatiotemporal invasion of Tuta absoluta in Asia. AGRICULTURE. 10(4):124.   PDF

van Zonneveld, M.; Turmel, M.-S.; Hellin, J. 2020. Decision-making to diversify farm systems for climate change adaptation. FRONTIERS IN SUSTAINABLE FOOD SYSTEMS. 4:32.   PDF

van Zonneveld M, Rakha M, Tan SY,  Chou YY,  Chang CH,  Yen JY,  Schafleitner R, Nair R, Naito K, Solberg SØ. 2020. Mapping patterns of abiotic and biotic stress resilience uncovers conservation gaps and breeding potential of Vigna wild relatives. SCIENTIFIC REPORTS. 10:2111. PDF

Khoury, C.K.; Carver, D.; Barchenger, D.W.; Barboza, G.E.; van Zonneveld, M.; Jarret, R.; Bohs, L.; Kantar, M.; Uchanski, M.; Mercer, K.; Nabhan, G.P.; Bosland, P.W.; Greene, S.L. 2019. Modelled distributions and conservation status of the wild relatives of chile peppers (Capsicum L.). DIVERSITY AND DISTRIBUTIONS. online. PDF

Shrestha RM, Schreinemachers P, Nyangmi MG, Sah M, Phuong J, Manandhar S, Yang RY. 2020. Home-grown school feeding: assessment of a pilot program in Nepal. BMC PUBLIC HEALTH. 20:28.   PDF

Visit HARVEST, the WorldVeg digital document archive:



  • 2020 Global Nutrition Report The 2020 Global Nutrition Report looks beyond global and national patterns, revealing significant inequalities in nutrition outcomes within countries and populations. Based on the best-available data, in-depth analysis and expert opinion rooted in evidence, the report identifies critical actions to achieve nutrition equity.

  • 2019 Annual Report: Take a look at our R&D activities in the 2019 Annual Report and you’ll discover that WorldVeg’s commitment to healthier lives and more resilient livelihoods has never been stronger!
  • Vegetables and Climate Change: Pathways to Resilience. For the past five decades, the World Vegetable Center has conducted research to improve vegetable varieties and production systems adapted to the high temperatures and weather extremes in tropical and sub-tropical regions with significant achievements and impact. This position paper explains how WorldVeg is well positioned to expand its research portfolio to develop climate change adaptation and mitigation options along the vegetable value chain.

  • International vegetable breeding: A strategy to create development impact at scale. This document reflects the current thinking within the World Vegetable Center on how our breeding research can contribute to realizing the potential of vegetables for healthier lives and more resilient livelihoods.

  • Tapping the economic and nutritional power of vegetables: Vegetables are increasingly recognized as essential for food and nutrition security. Vegetable consumption must be nurtured through a combination of supply-side interventions and behavioral change communication emphasizing the importance of eating vegetables for good nutrition and health.


Africa Vegetable Breeding Consortium Annual Workshop

new dates! 8-10 September 2020
Cotonou, Benin

Micronutrient Forum

new dates! 8-12 November 2020
Bangkok, Thailand

Power on Your Plate: An All-Africa Summit on Diversifying Food Systems with African Traditional Vegetables to Increase Health, Nutrition and Wealth

new dates! 25-28 January 2021
Arusha, Tanzania

4th All Africa Horticultural Congress

29 March – 1 April 2021
Dakar, Senegal

Second International Congress of Biological Control (ICBC2)

26-30 April 2021
Davos, Switzerland

World Processing Tomato Congress

new dates! 7-11 March 2022
San Juan, Argentina

POWER ON YOUR PLATE: An All-Africa Summit on Diversifying Food Systems with African Traditional Vegetables to Increase Health, Nutrition and Wealth

New dates!

25-28 January 2021
Arusha, Tanzania



Derek Barchenger, Kathy Chen, Jody Harris, Regine Kamga, Seok-beom-Kang, George Kuo, Vanna Liu, Maureen Mecozzi, Ralph Roothaert, Roland Schafleitner, Pepijn Schreinemachers, Marco Wopereis


Support for World Vegetable Center activities provided by project donors and the following strategic long-term donors:

  • Republic of China (ROC)
  • UK aid
  • United States Agency for International Development (USAID)
  • Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR)
  • India
  • Germany
  • Thailand
  • Philippines
  • Korea
  • Japan


We desperately need to focus on the operation of food systems because we know that the quality and quantity of the food we eat is the number one risk factor in the prevention of general mortality and morbidity. — Lawrence Haddad et al.,The COVID-19 Crisis and Food Systems: addressing threats, creating opportunities

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