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Global food system is broken, say world’s science academies

November 30th, 2018 / The Guardian, UK

The global food system is broken, leaving billions of people either underfed or overweight and driving the planet towards climate catastrophe, according to 130 national academies of science and medicine across the world.
Providing a healthy, affordable, and environmentally friendly diet for all people will require a radical transformation of the …

Small-holder farmers need access to financing across the agricultural value chain

November 30th, 2018 / FarmBiz Africa

Access to adequate financing is often identified as one of the key inhibitors to achieving long-term sustainability for Africa’s agricultural practitioners, particularly small-holder and subsistence-level farmers who typically must resort to borrowing from community members or pooling resources in order to make ends meet.
While 55 percent of Africa’s population is …

New biocontainment strategy controls spread of escaped GMOs

November 30th, 2018 / Phys.org

Hiroshima University (HU) researchers successfully developed a biocontainment strategy for genetically modified organisms, or GMOs. Their new method prevents genetically modified cyanobacteria from surviving outside of their test environment, enabling ways to more safely research the effects of GMOs. Their results were published in ACS Synthetic Biology.
The applications of bioengineered …

President Kenyatta ties revival of textile sector to GM cotton

November 30th, 2018 / Sunrise, Uganda

Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta has instructed key government ministries to identify mechanisms for reviving the nation’s cotton production, which could include growing the genetically modified Bt cotton.
The announcement follows the government’s approval last summer of an environmental assessment that authorized the national performance trials that are required prior to commercial …

Why did Tanzania just pull the plug on its GMO crop trials?

November 29th, 2018 / Genetic Literacy Project, US

When the Tanzanian government announced Friday [November 23] they were ending field trials of genetically engineered crops in the country and calling for the destruction of the crops, the country’s research community was aghast, with a local paper reporting:
‘Members of the research community were in shock that the government did …

5 things you need to know about the UN Emissions Gap Report

November 29th, 2018 / World Resources Institute, US

Each year, the UN’s Emissions Gap Report takes stock of where global greenhouse gas emissions are headed versus where they need to be if we are to avoid the worst climate impacts. This is our “emissions gap,” and it’s contributing to many of the escalating heat waves, droughts and extreme …

Closer to harvest? The status of the Golden Rice project

November 29th, 2018 / Flip Science, Philippines

A variety of Oryza sativa (rice) genetically engineered using recombinant DNA technology, Golden Rice contains beta carotene, an antioxidant which the body converts into Vitamin A. This gives the rice grain the yellow-orange or gold color that inspired its name.
However, the Golden Rice project is still on its way to …

How radio changes maize farmers’ lives

November 28th, 2018 / The Citizen, Tanzania

Maize production in various areas of Tanga has more than doubled during the past year as farmers adopt modern farming practices, thanks to joint promotional initiatives by the government and other stakeholders.
One of such stakeholders is Farm Radio International (FRI), a non-profit organisation that works to deliver effective programmes to …

How mobile phones are helping farmers grow bigger harvests

November 28th, 2018 / Gates Notes

Philanthropist Bill Gates writes:
Whenever I travel to rural parts of the world, the farmers I meet talk about one thing that holds them back: they can’t save their money.
They don’t mean they spend more than they earn. They mean that, literally, they don’t have a safe place to put their …

Food security: Africa should be the answer

November 28th, 2018 / NEWS24, South Africa

Africa is the only continent suited to commercial agriculture with underutilised land. Neither Europe nor North America has “spare” land available. It is therefore up to us to do more with what we have.
When it comes to exploring science and technology in the interest of increased productivity and yield, farmers …