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Use of CRISPR systems in plant genome editing: toward new opportunities in agriculture

November 21st, 2017 / Emerging Topics in Life Sciences, UK

Initially discovered in bacteria and archaea, CRISPR–Cas9 is an adaptive immune system found in prokaryotes. In 2012, scientists found a way to use it as a genome editing tool. In 2013, its application in plants was successfully achieved. This breakthrough has opened up many new opportunities for researchers, including the …

African seed body backs use of genetically engineered seeds

November 21st, 2017 / Xinhua, China

A continental seed body on Friday supported the coexistence of genetically modified (GMO) seeds and conventional ones.
The Secretary General of African Seed Trade Association (AFSTA) Justin Rakotoarisaona said farmers stand to benefit greatly once they embrace modern agricultural tools.
“The use of improved GMO seeds is poised to make inroads into …

Why reducing post-harvest losses is a priority for Africa

November 21st, 2017 / The Conversation, UK

The the Food and Agriculture Organisation estimates that one third of the food produced globally for human consumption is lost or wasted along the supply chain. Losses are even higher in Africa, and have a negative effect on food security, nutrition and economic stability. Jane Ambuko, a Senior Lecturer and …

Intercropping formula promises food security in Sahel Africa

November 20th, 2017 / Science Daily

Two crops or one? Sometimes, growing two crops simultaneously on the same piece of land — called intercropping — can benefit farmers. But it needs careful planning and resource management.
In some parts of Africa, farmers intercrop sorghum — a grain — and peanuts. But they face a major information gap. …

GM banana shows promise against deadly fungus strain

November 20th, 2017 / Science, US

A field trial in Australia has shown that genetically modified banana trees can resist the deadly fungus that causes Panama disease, which has devastated banana crops in Asia, Africa, and Australia and is a major threat for banana growers in the Americas. The transgenic plants might reach some farmers in …

Six steps to speed up climate-smart breeding in roots, tubers and bananas

November 20th, 2017 / CGIAR Roots, Tubers and Bananas

Research centers and their partners have made good progress toward harnessing the potential of roots, tubers and bananas to improve food security, nutrition and smallholder incomes, but scientists are concerned that impacts of climate change could undercut many of those gains in the coming years.
In response to this threat, a …

High-tech tracker to battle ancient wheat plague

November 16th, 2017 / AllAfrica

“People can walk through an infected field, unknowingly pick up a few spores on their clothes, then get on a plane and accidentally take the disease to other countries or continents”
The tracking technology used to halt the deadly Ebola and Zika viruses could now be turned against wheat rust as …

Increasing groundnut safety and value in Ghana

November 16th, 2017 / Agrilinks

An underrecognized aspect of postharvest loss is contamination of crops with fungal toxins. Aflatoxins, a class of such toxins, cause serious health problems, including liver cancer, and are suspected of contributing to stunting in children. Due to ecological, climatic and agronomic factors, aflatoxin contamination is especially common in sub-Saharan Africa. …

African youth go digital to keep climate-smart farming alive

November 16th, 2017 / Climate Home

Mobile applications and online forums help young Africans make a living from farming amid changing weather, delegates hear on the sidelines of climate talks in Bonn.
African campaigners are promoting digital tools to keep young people involved in farming and prevent migration, delegates heard on the sidelines of climate talks in …

FAO launches new Climate-Smart Agriculture web platform

November 15th, 2017 / Reliefweb

To help steer our food systems in a sustainable direction, FAO has produced a new sourcebook for how to implement “climate-smart” approaches to agriculture, launched today at the Agriculture Action Day on the sidelines of the COP23 climate summit in Bonn.
“Hunger, poverty, and climate can be tackled together through approaches …