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December 13th, 2018 / B4FA.org

This week, the World Resources Institute (WRI) published a new report, Creating a Sustainable Food Future, that states the world must prepare to feed the planet’s growing population sustainably, reducing agricultural land and greenhouse gas emissions, and suggests that genetically modified organisms and gene editing may be useful tools in achieving this goal. According to a summary of the report by ISAAA, population is set to rise to 10 billion people worldwide by 2050, while food demand is projected to rise by 50 per cent.

The report offers several approaches to feeding the world sustainably, including reducing food loss and waste, changing diets to consume less beef and lamb, reducing population growth, increasing harvests on the same land area, stopping deforestation, restoring peatlands, improving aquaculture and better management of wild fisheries, and use of innovative technologies and farming methods to lower agricultural greenhouse gas emissions. To read WRI’s recap of the report, visit “How to sustainably feed 10 billion people by 2050, in 21 charts“, and to read the original report in full, visit WRI.

Meanwhile, Nigeria has announced that the country is ready to adopt Bt cowpea in order to protect crops from maruca pod borer. Country Coordinator for the Open Forum on Agricultural Biotechnology in Africa Rose Gidado stated in an interview that Bt cowpea has been duly trialled and deemed to be safe. “Work on Bt cowpea has been completed and confining trials have been carried out. Due process was followed for the past nine years,” she said. “Data has been generated, multi-location trials and farm trials by some selected farmers have also been observed.”

Gidado also observed that farmers trialling Bt cowpeas recorded a huge difference in insect resistance and higher yields over two years compared to local varieties. “Once you plant beans and it gets to the stage of flowering, the maruca at its lava stage feed on the flowers and seed formation, causing great loss to farmers. The farmers suffer loss, they lose up to 80 per cent of their yield,” said Gigado. Bt cowpea is also said to be more resistant to heat and drought, mature earlier and require fewer pesticides than conventional cowpea.

B4FA Fellow Michael Ssali writes this week about what to expect now that Uganda has finally passed its biosafety bill, now called the Genetic Engineering Regulatory Bill 2018. “Through genetic engineering, Ugandan scientists under NARO have found some solutions to pests and diseases affecting such crops as Irish potatoes, bananas, maize, cotton and cassava, but, due to absence of a regulatory law, it has not been possible to pass on the improved crop varieties to farmers for planting,” he writes.

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Headlines

World Resources Institute report says GMOs and gene editing can help improve crop breeding to boost yields to feed the world
ISAAA

Creating a Sustainable Food Future
World Resources Institute

How to sustainably feed 10 billion people by 2050, in 21 charts
World Resources Institute

Nigeria ready to adopt biotechnology in cowpea production
The Eagle Online

AgBio news

Uganda: Expectations from the genetic bill
Daily Monitor, by B4FA Fellow Michael Ssali

Rwanda: Farmer grows Irish potatoes without using soil
AllAfrica

Government eyeing GM options but facing resistance, says scientist
Hindustan Times

Japan may boost gene-edited foods development
Kyodo News

Civil society group Alliance for Science Ghana is appealing to President Akufo-Addo to help ensure passage of the Plant Breeders’ Right Bill into law
MyJoy Online

GMO crops may help keep arsenic out of India’s food supply
Genetic Literacy Project

Can we grow more food on less land? We’ll have to, a new study finds
The New York Times

Sustainable hybrid seed sector key to Africa’s Green Revolution
Standard Media

Why do some plants live fast and die young?
Science Daily

GMO corn doubles crop yields in Paraguay, report shows
Genetic Literacy Project

Talking Biotech: Tough questions about genetic engineering—a listener interviews Dr. Kevin Folta
Genetic Literacy Project

Precautionary principle impedes innovation, says ag expert
Alliance for Science

‘Switching off’ genes could speed efforts to breed disease-resistant plants
Genetic Literacy Project

Education may be key ingredient in CRISPR technology adoption
Delta Farm Press

Bringing research down to earth
Evidence Matters

Best practices

Think Agronomy: Maximising The Performance of Urea
Cropnuts

Uganda: Mixed farming serving farmer in retirement
Daily Monitor

Using sack mounds to grow vegetables
Access Agriculture

Biodiversity

UN conference sets agenda for biodiversity research
SciDevNet

Sparing vs sharing: The great debate over how to protect nature
Yale Environment 360

Climate change and environment

How poverty is causing deforestation across Africa
Chatham House

Report slams global failure to curb emissions
SciDevNet

Q&A: FAcing up to African agriculture’s climate change challenge
Devex

Development

Watch our fireside chat with Nteranya Sanginga, Director General IITA CGIAR as he talks about how smallholder farmers can be empowered to double their productivity
AGRF Forum

Researchers stress importance of small-scale farming to make Africa food secure
ReliefWeb

UN specialised agency IFAD joins 79-nation ACP to rescue African agriculture
In-Depth News

Diageo serves up fresh African supply chain sustainability efforts
Business Green

Russia’s PhosAgro donates $1.2 million to improve sustainable soil management in Africa…
ReliefWeb

Ugandan scientist makes multipurpose tractor for poor farmers
Mamopanel

Transforming the African agribusiness sector: tech, transparency hold key to inclusive growth
Africa

Invest in Africa’s youth before migration to Europe doubles, says UN official
The Guardian

Nigeria can earn N4trn on seed yam annually
Daily Trust

Public private partnership: Oando, NAOC JV boost agriculture in Niger Delta
Daily Post

Watch CGIAR Science Leaders discuss climate, nutrition, big data & more
CGIAR

Energy and innovation

GODAN to underline the significance of open data in agricultural sector
African Farming

Transforming the African agribusiness sector with tech
IT News Africa

Food security & nutrition

FAO, lawmakers call for stronger political commitment and funding to end Hunger in Eastern Africa
ReliefWeb

Gov’t commits to the realisation of food, nutrition security for Gambians
The Point

UNICEF advocates improved investment in nutrition
NTA

Experts draw up roadmap for tackling food safety, poor nutrition
IPP Media

Dangote Foundation, AfDB, Big Win Philanthropy in ambitious plan to improve child nutrition, fight stunting
World Stage Group

Soil pollution threatens food security in Nigeria – Prof. Raji
Daily Trust

Pests and diseases

An unexpected culprit might have caused France’s mass honey bee die-off in the 1990s
IFL Science

World’s first honey bee vaccine seeks to save dying pollinators
Bloomberg

Galvanizing the momentum for community actions against the Fall armyworm
ReliefWeb

UK supercomputer gives African farmers early warning of pests and blights
The Telegraph

The GM debate

Genetically modified food fears are misguided, according to Nobel laureates
Inquisitr

How do our beliefs about food safety impact our views of science?
Genetic Literacy Project

Talking Biotech: How do we get consumers to think like scientists?
Genetic Literacy Project

CRISPR-edited wine grapes could cut pesticide use in Europe, but regulatory hurdles remain
Genetic Literacy Project

Opportunities and resources

Strengthening Rural-Urban Linkages in Africa to achieve food security
European Commission

East Africa Food Security Alert: December 7, 2018
ReliefWeb

Preparing for Future Products of Biotechnology
National Academy of Science

A Review of the Citrus Greening Research and Development Efforts Supported by the Citrus Research and Development Foundation
National Academy of Science

The Africa Solidarity Trust Fund for Food Security
FAO

Funding announcement today from UKRI News ‘GCRF Collective Programme’: an international development research programme to bring together a range of researchers from across the UK and developing countries
UK Research and Innovation