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Scientists breeding new disease-resistant soybeans to crack down on parasitic nematode

January 22nd, 2019 / Genetic Literacy Project, US

Soybean cyst nematode (SCN) [a common soybean pest] has overcome the main source of genetic resistance – PI 88788 – that accounts for 95% of resistance in SCN-resistant soybean varieties. Research scientists….have been developing new sources of genetic resistance and new SCN resistance management strategies.

Ultimately, the goal is to identify …

Drying groundnuts in ventilated stacks

January 21st, 2019 / Access Agriculture

Many farmers lose most of their crop due to poor drying techniques, shelling methods and poor storage. The ventilated stack method lets the sun hit the leaves allowing the groundnuts to dry slowly and properly.  The hole in the middle lets in air and a bit of sunlight for the …

Seed companies urged to educate farmers

January 21st, 2019 / The Chronicle, Zimbabwe

SEED companies and donors should educate farmers on seed varieties to ensure they grow the right crop suitable for their respective farming regions, an expert has said.

In an interview, Federation of Farmers’ Unions (FFU) president Mr Wonder Chabikwa said the majority of farmers were not formally trained at agriculture training …

Speed up seed policies harmonisation

January 21st, 2019 / SciDev.net

Delayed harmonisation of policies for encouraging the transfer of seeds across East and Southern Africa is hampering trade and increased agricultural growth, experts say.

The goal to harmonise seed trade resulted from having different policies across countries, thus impeding transfer technology to promote agriculture in the region. Harmonised seed policies ensure that countries with similar agricultural production …

How investment in irrigation is paying off for Ethiopia’s economy

January 18th, 2019 / MENAFN

After rapid economic growth averaging 10% every year between 2004 and 2014, Ethiopia has emerged as an engine of development in Africa. 

And there are no signs that ambitions for further growth are fading. This is clear from the government’s blueprint to achieve middle-income status – or gross national income of …

Wild coffee species threatened by climate change and deforestation

January 18th, 2019 / Nature, UK

Most of the world’s wild coffee species have a high chance of going extinct in the next several decades due to more frequent and lengthy droughts, loss of forests and the spread of deadly pests, according to a study1 published on 16 January in Science Advances. 

The findings signal a potential threat to …

Bigger data, smaller farms: the role of big data in sustainable intensification

January 18th, 2019 / Foodtank

Farming, like any business, has a bottom line. At the end of the season, a farmer has to be able to account for the farm’s costs, subtract from the revenue, and determine whether or not the farm is profitable. Due to the number of variables involved in farming, however, calculating …

Why South Africa and Sudan lead the continent in GMO crops

January 17th, 2019 / Alliance for Science, US

Why are South Africa and Sudan ahead of every other country on the continent when it comes to biotech? The answer is simple. The nations realized early on that they needed to embrace new technologies to develop faster maturing and better yielding disease-resistant and drought-tolerant crop varieties to counter a …

New plant-focused diet would ‘transform’ planet’s future, say scientists

January 17th, 2019

The first science-based diet that tackles both the poor food eaten by billions of people and averts global environmental catastrophe has been devised. It requires huge cuts in red meat-eating in western countries and radical changes across the world.

The “planetary health diet” was created by an international commissionseeking to draw up …

At least 60% of wild coffee species face extinction triggered by climate change and disease

January 17th, 2019 / Independent, UK

Two decades of research have revealed that 60 per cent of the world’s coffeespecies face extinction due to the combined threats of deforestation, disease and climate change.

The wild strain of arabica, the most widely consumed coffee on the planet, is among those now recognised as endangered, raising concerns about its long-term survival.

These results are worrying …