In the news...

March 3rd, 2015

Where and how can we grow more food for a growing population? IFPRI has published a map of the world’s cropland, showing how intensely the land is farmed, as well as the size of farms. The maps may help develop land sustainably by making farms more efficient, and help avoid deforestation. A new P3 (Plant Production and Protection) Centre of Excellence for Translational Plant and Soil Biology) has recently been opened at the University of Sheffield to help provide answers as to how we can improve food security around the world – with a focus on soil research. Meanwhile, an ISAAA infographic lays out the numbers of approved GM crops around the world, as of 2014.

In global biotech news, Australian researchers have developed a salt-tolerant wheat by crossing modern wheat with an ancient species; a new hybrid maize has been launched in Pakistan that promises to improve crop yields; and in the American state of Missouri, a biotech firm is developing a weed called pennycress in the hope that it will someday become a cash crop – producing oil and animal fodder on now-empty winter fields.

From Africa, B4FA Fellow Noah Nash sends in a video about boosting investor interest in rain-fed rice production in Ghana, while Michael Ssali writes in with two pieces from Uganda: “How to reduce losses on the way to the market” and a piece that asks, “Can farmers do without chemicals?” Finally, the IFPRI-produced report Atlas of African Agriculture Research & Development offers a wealth of data that promises to inform efforts to improve livelihoods. It highlights the ubiquitous role of smallholder agriculture in Africa, factors shaping agricultural enterprises, the well-being of the poor, and much more.

Thank you for joining us, and please send your questions, comments, and story links at [email protected]. We look forward to hearing from you.

Biosciences & plant genetics around the world

The most detailed map of the world’s cropland shows where there’s room to feed everyone
Fast Company

ISAAA infographic: Global status of GMO crops
Genetic Literacy

New P3 agri-tech centre launched to tackle global plant and soil challenges
Sheffield University

Report: Response of GM maize (DKC6575) under drought
PLOS

Salt-tolerant wheat can grow in difficult soil, ensure food security in changing climate
Genetic Literacy

Ethnobotany makes a comeback as a holistic, interdisciplinary way of understanding the human relationship to plants
Nature

Biotech could blunt predicted devastation of climate change
Genetic Literacy

Lester Brown: ‘Vast dust bowls threaten tens of millions with hunger’
Guardian UK

Are shrooms the new pesticide?
Genetic Literacy

Biotech firm develops pennycress as the next cash crop
Seattle Times

New hybrid maize launched in Pakistan
Nation PK

Pan-Africa

“Atlas of African agriculture research & development”
IFPRI

Beans could help fill continent’s fertiliser gap
AllAfrica

To bring Green Revolution to Africa, countries must develop new technologies
All Africa

70 top African women agricultural scientists from 11 countries chosen
African Brains

Ebola-ravaged rural communities in Guinea to benefit from new food security initiatives
Star Africa

Africa: Privatizing land and seeds
AllAfrica

Battle to feed the world pits small farmers against big agriculture | Mark Anderson
Guardian UK

The fertile roots of Rwanda’s green revolution | Agnes Kalibata and Amit Roy
Guardian UK

Ghana

Video: Ghana Commercial Agriculture Project conf boosts investor interest in rain-fed rice production
by B4FA Fellow Noah Nash

USAID trains Ghanaian women groups on rice farming technologies
African Farming

Nigeria

Gombe rice farmers commend govt’s support for dry season farming
All Africa

Desertification – Kebbi farmers decry poor yields
AllAfrica

Tanzania

Tanzania looks to boost coffee output in 2015
African Farming

Solar seaweed drying transforms lives of Zanzibar’s seaweed farmers
AllAfrica

Uganda

How to reduce losses on the way to the market
Daily Monitor, by B4FA Fellow Michael Ssali

Can farmers do without chemicals?
Daily Monitor, by B4FA Fellow Michael Ssali

Featured image: Farmer immunising chickens. Photo: B4FA Fellow Michael Ssali, from the original story.