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A rice revolution for Africa?

August 31st, 2016 / IOL Business News, South Africa

The first hybrid rice varieties developed in sub-Saharan Africa are yielding up to four times more than other improved varieties, say scientists, who are using web-based tools to identify the right climate conditions to maximise harvests. The 15 hybrids, bred in Kenya and Tanzania, are also tolerant to diseases and …

Importing food ‘harming’ Africa – UN

August 31st, 2016 / New Times, Rwanda

Despite agriculture employing more than 80 per cent of the African population, the continent generates only 10 per cent of global agricultural output. Yet another shocking reality is that Africa still spends $35 billion a year on importing food, despite having a quarter of the world’s arable land, according to …

How to ensure Africa’s irrigation boom benefits everyone

August 31st, 2016 / GFAR, Italy

Napandaela is a 63-year-old woman living in small village in northeastern Tanzania. Speaking of competition over water among villagers, she says: “In the face of water scarcity, upstream users and powerful individuals take as much water as they can and leave little for others.” Napandaela, a former chairperson of the …

SEND-Ghana demands more agric investment

August 30th, 2016 / SEND, Ghana

According to SEND-Ghana, and NGO, its research on investment in smallholder agriculture revealed the need for AU to revise the minimum threshold to push for additional direct investments to support the sector. See …

Satellites and high-tech solutions help African farmers face historic drought:

August 30th, 2016 / Your is.com, Belgium

African and European researchers are employing high-tech water management research methods to help low-tech South African smallholders improve food security. Additionally, extremely high levels of Microcystin toxicity and uranium contamination in important river systems spark calls for extra research on bioaccumulation through the human food chain. See …

20 Years Of Innovation: Reflecting on successes and challenges of biotech crops

August 30th, 2016 / Forbes Magazine, US

In 1996, farmers planted the first commercial biotech crop. The global uptake of plant biotechnology by farmers since has made it the fastest-adopted technology in the history of agriculture. Farmers who have the choice to use the technology have chosen it on an unprecedented level because of its benefits. See …

The agriculture sector can woo today’s youth

August 26th, 2016 / Microlinks, US

When it comes to youth, the development sector seems to have accepted the idea that agriculture isn’t sexy. As part of research being conducted by the Leveraging Economic Opportunities (LEO) Activity around the extent to which USAID’s Feed the Future Initiative is engaging youth in agricultural value chains, researchers spoke …

CRISPR inspires new tricks to edit genes

August 26th, 2016 / Science News, US

CRISPR can quickly and efficiently manipulate virtually any gene in any plant or animal. In the four years since CRISPR has been around, researchers have used it to fix genetic diseases in animals, combat viruses, sterilize mosquitoes and prepare pig organs for human transplants. Most experts think that’s just the …

How Breeding Improved Local Bean Varieties Accelerates Food and Nutritional Security in Zambia

August 26th, 2016 / Agrilinks, US

Efforts have been made by the national Zambian legume program to introduce improved, higher yielding varieties which were developed at the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT). Unfortunately, adoption of these varieties is low because the seed types are not generally preferred by Zambian consumers (like my mom). As …

Why scientists are losing the fight to communicate science to the public

August 25th, 2016 / The Guardian, UK

A video did the rounds a couple of years ago, of some self-styled “skeptic” disagreeing – robustly, shall we say – with an anti-vaxxer. The speaker was roundly cheered by everyone sharing the video – he sure put that idiot in their place!
Scientists love to argue. Cutting through bullshit and …