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Study shows how plants use ‘baits’ to trap pathogens

February 28th, 2018 / Earlham Institute, UK

A study published in Genome Biology shows how plants use ‘baits’ to recognize and trap disease-causing pathogens before infection can start.
Ksenia Krasileva and her team from Earlham Institute, together with researchers from The Sainsbury Laboratory, used phylogenetic analyses to identify how these ‘bait’ genes are distributed throughout different wild and …

Ghana CSIR affirms safety of GM crops

February 28th, 2018 / ISAAA, US

Genetically modified crops are safer than conventional ones as they go through very rigorous tests and processes over many years before they are released onto the market, a biosafety and environmentalist research scientist at the Crop Research Institute of Ghana’s Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) has said. Charles …

Scientists discover secret of how to triple number of sorghum grains

February 28th, 2018 / ISAAA, US

In new research reported by scientists at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory (CSHL), a simple genetic modification can triple the grain number of sorghum, a drought tolerant plant that is an important source of food, animal feed, and biofuel in many parts of the world. Led by CSHL Adjunct Associate Professor …

Decent jobs for rural youth key to Africa’s prosperity

February 27th, 2018 / Asian Independent, UK

Africa must, in coming decades, explore the entire food chain to create adequate jobs for young people, especially in rural areas, the head of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation said on Thursday.
“Countries need to promote a rural and structural transformation that fosters synergies between farm and non-farm activities …

New climate-smart technologies will boost agriculture and jobs in West Africa

February 27th, 2018 / UN Climate Action

A new programme is being launched to equip farmers in Africa with climate-smart agricultural tools and technologies.
The project is being rolled out by CORAF, a West African research institute, with the support of the World Bank.
It seeks to place innovative technologies in the hands of farmers to better protect them …

Why we should genetically modify coffee

February 26th, 2018 / RealClear Science

Remember the Gros Michel banana? If you’re under the age of seventy, you probably don’t. That’s because in the 1950s a fungal disease called Panama disease essentially wiped out commercial production of the Gros Michel. In just a few years, growers were forced to switch from the rich, creamy, and …

Africa could become a world agricultural leader in CRISPR and other new breeding techniques

February 26th, 2018 / Genetic Literacy Project, US

B4FA Fellow Lominda Afedraru writes:
It’s 8:30 East African Standard Time. I disembark from a van filled with science journalists from Kampala, Uganda and accompanied by stakeholders from Uganda National Farmers Federation at the National Agriculture Crops Resources Research Institute in Namulonge.
We are on a fact-finding trip about research and the …

Fighting plant pests

February 26th, 2018 / Daily Monitor, Uganda

B4FA Fellow Michael Ssali writes:
Pests are described as insects, bacteria, viruses, birds, and rodents that destroy crops by eating them or by infecting them with diseases.
They are often a nuisance which results in huge losses for the farmer. They can damage the crop when it is growing in the …

Namibia: San embrace permaculture for food security

February 23rd, 2018 / The Namibian

The San community living in the Nyae Nyae Conservancy and Community Forest has embarked on an initiative to pioneer new farming techniques in efforts to enhance food security.
The community, according to a media statement issued last week by the Nyae Nyae Development Foundation, has been expanding its agricultural activities to …

Chemical-free, low-cost crop storage bags that preserve food longer now commercially available

February 23rd, 2018 / Purdue University, US

The internationally recognized Purdue Improved Crop Storage (PICS) bag, a specially designed bag to prevent insect-caused post-harvest losses for farmers in developing countries, is now commercially available for farmers worldwide.
The PICS technology, which received funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, is a triple layer sealed plastic bag that …