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How Africa can turn a food deficit to surplus

November 30th, 2016 / Financial Times, UK

By 2050, the world will need to feed 9bn people, 2bn more than we feed today. In order to meet this demand, global food production must increase by an estimated 70 per cent in the next 30 years. Africa — which contains 65 per cent of the world’s unexploited arable …

Common grass could help boost food security

November 30th, 2016 /

Australian researchers have discovered that the common Panic grasses could hold the secret to increasing the yields of cereal crops and help feed the world with increasing temperature extremes and a population of nearly 10 billion people by 2050.
The findings, published in Nature Plants, show the potential to improve crop …

Make silage from sweet potato vines

November 30th, 2016 / Daily Monitor, Uganda

B4FA Fellow, Michael Ssali writes: Uganda is the most important producer of sweet potatoes in Africa and only second to China globally. However the value of sweet potato vines as feed for animals is little understood by farmers.
Sweet potato is the third major food crop after cassava and bananas. While …

Protecting and developing African agriculture in the face of climate change

November 29th, 2016 / Bizcommunity, South Africa

The United Nations 2016 climate change conference (COP22), meeting in Marrakech, Morocco, presented an historic opportunity to refocus the global community’s attention on the need to help developing nations adapt to climate change. In no area could this be more pressing than Africa, where protecting food security and ending hunger …

Biotech: how bias fuels anti-GMO controversies

November 29th, 2016 / Leadership, Nigeria

Speaking at a sensitisation seminar on genetically modified organisms (GMOs) and agricultural biotechnology for staff of the Federal Ministry of Communication Technology yesterday in Abuja, the director-general of the National Biotechnology Development Agency (NABDA), Prof. Lucy Ogbadu, identified bias as a major sponsor of anti-GMO controversy in Nigeria, noting with …

Biofortification – the importance of iron

November 29th, 2016 / Claudia Canales, B4FA

This blog discusses the importance for health of iron in diets, and strategies for improving the nutritional status of target populations. Although not directly to do with plant genetics, it highlights many of the challenges facing plant scientists.

The common bean, Phaseolus vulgaris

Don’t spill your beans
The common bean, Phaseolus vulgaris, native to an area between …

Developing world achieves significant growth in biotechnology

November 28th, 2016 / IAAAS, US

A new report released by Beijing-based CAS-TWAS Centre of Excellence for Biotechnology says that the developing world is achieving significant growth in a broad cross-section of biotechnology fields, many of them directly tied to food production, health, and other dimensions of human well-being.
Biotechnology in Developing Countries: Growth and Competitiveness is …

Food security in the face of climate change: impossible without water

November 28th, 2016 /

Development agencies must use the momentum from COP22 to prioritise water infrastructure projects and help mitigate the effects of climate change and extreme weather events in Africa. See …

Now we can edit life itself, we need to ask how we should use such technology

November 28th, 2016 /

Imagine a world where mosquitoes no longer pass on the deadly malaria parasite, where invasive species such as cane toads are wiped out from Australia, and agri-chemical resistant pests revert back to their original susceptible state.
Scientists are currently energised about such prospects, thanks to advances in what’s known as gene …

How solar power is bringing food security to Africa

November 25th, 2016 / The Ecologist, UK

Solar is most commonly known for its potential to transform the world’s energy supply. Solar farms are popping up all over the place, and costs continue to plummet. Only this month the International Energy Agency released figures showing that last year, around the world, half a million solar panels were …