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Global seed industry urged to innovate to address global challenges

May 24th, 2017 / ISAAA, US

The global seed industry was urged to “respond and adapt to global challenges to ensure it continues to thrive and not just to survive” by International Seed Federation (ISF) President, Jean-Cristophe Gouache, during the World Seed Congress opening on May 22, 2017 in Budapest, Hungary. Mr. Gouache added that the …

Scientists to release biotech maize, cotton varieties in Kenya

May 24th, 2017 / News Ghana

Kenyan scientists have used modern biotechnology to develop two crop varieties that are expected to be released in the country soon.
Simon Gichuki of the Kenya Agricultural, Livestock Research Organization’s (KALRO) Biotechnology Research Institute (BioRI) said that the maize and cotton varieties are already awaiting the National Performance Trials before they …

‘Cool Agriculture’ will attract African youth

May 24th, 2017 / Joyonline

Former President Mahama says Africa needs its educated youth who can understand the principles of increased agricultural productivity to participate in the sector.
He said the bane of African agriculture is the disinterest of the educated young people in the sector, bemoaning the perception by most that agriculture is back breaking, …

Nigeria: starting a cocoa farm this season

May 23rd, 2017 / AllAfrica.com

Cocoa, according to the Cocoa Research Institute of Nigeria (CRIN), was introduced by the Portuguese into the Gulf of Guinea from where it got to Nigeria around the last quarter of the 19th Century. The introduced variety was the Amelonado.
This variety later became unique to West Africa, hence the name …

Ethiopia: maize seed adoption programme surpasses goal

May 23rd, 2017 / AllAfrica.com

The Advanced Maize Seed Adoption Program (AMSAP), a public-private partnership (PPP) between the US Agency for International Development (USAID), DuPont, and the Government of Ethiopia, surpassed its goal by 150pc to boost the production of maize among smallholder farmers in Ethiopia.
The programme aimed to help 100,000 smallholder farmers in 16 …

Twice the tomatoes on the vine, thanks to a bit of genetic tweaking

May 23rd, 2017 / Science, US

Plant geneticists have figured out how to almost double the production of garden tomatoes. Though most of us care mainly about how big or tasty our corn or tomatoes are, breeders also care about how these plants grow, as the branching patterns of stems can greatly affect the number of …

When you set out to grow robusta coffee

May 22nd, 2017 / Daily Monitor, Uganda

B4FA Fellow Michael Ssali writes:
One of the most important steps for anybody setting out to grow Robusta coffee is to select good quality plantlets. Robusta coffee is a perennial crop from which a farmer can expect income for an entire lifetime. It is important therefore to plant coffee varieties that …

Government action needed on climate resiliency and food security in West Africa

May 22nd, 2017 / Mongabay, US

While some leaders in Washington are barely getting their toes wet to address global climate change, researchers at the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA) have dived in head-first. A new study published in Global Environmental Change modeled potential future scenarios for climate change and food security in West …

Can CRISPR feed the world?

May 22nd, 2017 / Phys.org

As the world’s population rises, scientists want to edit the genes of potatoes and wheat to help them fight plant diseases that cause famine.
By 2040, there will be 9 billion people in the world. “That’s like adding another China onto today’s global population,” said Professor Sophien Kamoun of the Sainsbury …

Rice plant engineered with a ‘tunable’ immune system could fight multiple diseases at once

May 22nd, 2017 / Science, US

Farmers are constantly spraying pesticides on their crops to combat an array of viral, bacterial, and fungal invaders. Scientists have been trying to get around these chemicals for years by genetically engineering hardy plants resilient to the array of diseases caused by microbial beasties. Most attempts so far confer protection …