As B4FA went to press this week, the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released a report issuing a stark warning: that the world’s governments have only 12 years to implement changes to energy, food and transport systems that will prevent more than a 1.5 ºC rise in global temperatures. Failing to do so, says the IPCC report, will result in environmental catastrophe including the spread of vector-borne diseases, the extinction of corals, extreme heat and poverty around the globe. A 2 ºC rise in temperature would also mean loss of land suitable for crops and the insects that pollinate them.
Meanwhile, the African Development Bank (AfDB) has called on global partners to invest in Africa to make progress toward food security on the continent, itself pledging US$24bn in African agriculture over the next 10 years. AfDB president Akinwuni Adesina, speaking at an agriculture conference at Purdue University, Indianapolis, also noted that Africa needs to harness the available technologies to raise productivity and incomes for farmers while lowering food prices for consumers – including implementing water-efficient maize and improved, higher-yielding rice and cassava varieties. These changes are particularly urgent given the devastation caused by climate change, he said.
In more uplifting news, scientists from the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), have announced a breakthrough: they’ve identified 13 banana varieties that are resistant to bacterial banana wilt disease by screening the entire banana collection at IITA, Uganda. They’ve also identified several diploid varieties derived from Musa acuminata – another wild banana. Until now, it was believed that only one wild-seeded banana – M. balbisiana – was not susceptible to banana wilt. These discoveries should allow scientists to develop disease-resistant varieties in the future.
We’re pleased to present stories from several B4FA Fellows this week, including Samuel Hinneh (“Improved cowpea in the offing for Ghanaian smallholders”); Michael Ssali (“Pesticides – what we ought to know“); Christopher Bendana (“Ugandan scientists reach out to farmers to promote agricultural innovations“); and Lominda Afedraru (“Uganda: Scientists hatch plans to increase maize production by 30 per cent“).
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The UN’s 1.5°C special climate report at a glance
Uganda: Scientists hatch plans to increase maize production by 30 per cent
Daily Monitor, by B4FA Fellow Lominda Afedraru
Ugandan scientists reach out to farmers to promote agricultural innovations
Alliance for Science, by B4FA Fellow Christopher Bendana
Uganda: Pesticides – what we ought to know
Daily Monitor, by B4FA Fellow Michael Ssali
Study in Ethiopia links healthy soils to more nutritious cereals
Ghana ready to introduce GMOs —Biosafety Authority
IRRI opens regional office in Africa
Zinc-biofortified wheat reduces childhood illness
Video: Meet the gene-edited cows that could revolutionize beef production
Genetic Literacy Project
Tree to treat: the sweet journey of chocolate
Feed the Future
Climate-Smart Agriculture key to support long-term growth of Near East and North Africa countries UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and Islamic Development Bank gather countries to discuss future of agriculture in the region
Maputo at 15 and the future of Africa’s food security
Equip farmers with information to step up food security
Making the case to the world to invest in Africa
Africa looking to strategic partnerships to boost food security
Alliance for Science
There is an urgent need for a drastic change in the food and agriculture system in sub-Saharan Africa if the region is to achieve the sustainable development goal on hunger, plant breeding Professor Eric Danquah says
Pests and diseases
Africa sets sights on tackling foodborne disease burden
Food Safety News
A study to maintain food security in Uganda
The GM debate
Fighting back against GMO pseudoscience
Opportunities and resources
Call for proposals: Tools and technologies for broad-scale pest and disease surveillance of crop plants in low-income countries (Round 22). Deadline: 14 November