In the news...

How farmers can gain better farm knowledge

October 14th, 2019

B4FA Fellow Michael Ssali writes:

Good farmers should continuously seek new knowledge about their work. Farming is dynamic and agricultural practices keep changing. New markets for agricultural products often come with new conditions that have to be met. 

Time and again challenges crop up and a farmer will need guidance on how …

Why Nigeria should promote youth-driven, technology-supported agriculture for SDGs

October 11th, 2019

Agriculture has the potentialities to provide jobs for young people and help African countries to achieve sustainable development goals. 

Based on the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG12) that seeks to ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns, and SDG2 which seeks to end hunger, achieving food security and promote sustainable agriculture, youths in …

Can the gene editing technology known as CRISPR help reduce biodiversity loss worldwide?

October 11th, 2019

It’s been an alarming year for the world’s outlook on biodiversity. The Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) put the world on notice that around 1 million species are facing extinction. A study published in August concluded that it would take New Zealand 50 million years to recover the diversity …

Cost-effective technology can enrich poor fields, increase yields close to 50%

October 11th, 2019

Smallholder poverty in sub-Saharan Africa is often linked to sandy soils, which hold little water and are low in nutrients. A new technology may be able to enrich fields and farmers without massive investments in irrigation and fertilizer.

Many farmers across sub-Saharan Africa try to coax crops out of sandy soils that are …

‘Synthetic biology doesn’t have to be scary’: It could offer us new medicines, biofuels and everything in between

October 10th, 2019

Though hacking organisms and rearranging genomes may sound scary, there is definitely a Light Side to this narrative (a balance, if you will). From medicines to biofuels and everything in between, there is incredible potential for cleverly redesigned biology to help us take on some of our world’s most pressing …

Synthetic fertilizer pollution threatens our ecosystems. Are nitrogen-fixing microbes the answer?

October 10th, 2019

PODCAST.

Farmers need nitrogen fertilizer to maximize crop yields. Without it, our food supply would be nowhere near as abundant as it is today, and natural sources of usable nitrogen are quite limited. Fortunately, researchers devised a method known as the Haber-Bosch process, in the early 1900s to “fix” nitrogen into …

Study shows bees on the farm may be more valuable than pesticides

October 10th, 2019

For European rapeseed farmers, honey bees buzzing around fields may outweigh the benefits of using pesticides to fight insect damage, French researchers said.

A four-year survey in France found higher yields and profits for rapeseed fields where there’s an abundance of pollinating insects, according to a study by agricultural researcher INRA and the …

South African youth doesn’t like farming because it’s not sexy. True or false?

October 9th, 2019

Some agribusinesses and agriculturalists argue that vocational training institutions are not efficiently producing skills needed for agriculture today, and that might be part of the reason why some young people are not finding work in this sector.

It has become fashionable in conferences to say “let’s make agriculture sexy in order …

GMO wheat varieties boost crop yields 20-30% in field trial

October 9th, 2019

Studies conducted at the Australian Plant Phenomics Facility (APPF) showed experimental genetically modified (GM) wheat lines [have] the potential to significantly increase yields. These lines ‘overexpress’ three wild-type plant genes, either individually or in combination, and were developed to test whether targeting individual wheat genes could lead to improvements in yield.

In greenhouse studies conducted at …

Agricultural intensification key to spurring Ghana’s economic growth

October 9th, 2019

Ghana has been viewed as one of Africa’s political and economic success stories, from maintaining a multi-party democracy, peace and social cohesion to reducing poverty and growing its middle class. 

Yet, despite 30 years of continuous growth in per capita income and rapid urbanization, the country has not been able to …