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Online tool explores countries’ climate action plans

March 7th, 2017 / SciDev.net

A new interactive online tool that helps countries to access and compare their priorities and ambitions related to climate action plans has been developed.
The Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC) Explorer could contribute to the global climate action in the context of the UN climate negotiations, according to its developers.
The tool – …

The sorghum plant that could tackle blindness

March 7th, 2017 / Devex

Up to half a million children around the world are going blind every year due to a lack of Vitamin A in their diets. According to the World Health Organization, Vitamin A deficiency, — which afflicts 250 million children worldwide — is the leading cause of preventable blindness in children …

Farm thefts: a big hindrance to agricultural development

March 7th, 2017 / Daily Monitor, Uganda

B4FA Fellow, Michael Ssali, reports: Farm thefts have become a major challenge and it is easy to understand why. The rapid population growth means more mouths to feed. The population increase has resulted in land fragmentation and smaller, overworked, and unproductive land plots. Unpredictable climatic conditions have further made it …

Rice plants could be genetically tweaked to tame arsenic found in soil, reducing risk for humans

March 6th, 2017 / Genetic Literacy Project, US

Rooted in place, plants can’t run away from arsenic-tainted soil — but they’re far from helpless. Scientists have identified enzymes that help rice plant roots tame arsenic, converting it into a form that can be pushed back into the soil. That leaves less of the toxic element to spread into …

Product, not process! Explaining a basic concept in agricultural biotechnologies & food safety

March 6th, 2017 / Life Sciences, Society and Policy

Most life scientists have relentlessly recommended any evaluative approach of agri-food products to be based on examination of the phenotype, i.e. the actual characteristics of the food, feed and fiber varieties: the effects of any new cultivar (or micro-organism, animal) on our health are not dependent on the process(es), the …

Kenya GMO corn trials said to face obstacle over import ban

March 6th, 2017 / Bloomberg Makets

Kenya is withholding approval for field trials of genetically modified corn because some officials argue that a ban on GMO imports applies to controlled growing tests as well, according to a person familiar with the deliberations.
Talks involving representatives from the health and environment ministries and the National Biosafety Authority reached …

NEPAD: Need to focus on agriculture projects

March 3rd, 2017 / NAN, Nigeria

Stakeholders at the two-day workshop on the Skills Initiative for Africa programme have advised NEPAD to focus on addressing skill gap by implementing agriculture projects in the country.
The stakeholders gave the recommendation in a communiqué read by Dr Iyk Oji, Special Adviser to the National Coordinator of NEPAD Nigeria, Mrs …

Adding value: Cashing in on cassava

March 3rd, 2017 / CA Spore

A technology to turn fresh cassava peels into high quality animal feed products has been developed in Nigeria. Scientists have been able to reduce the drying time of abundant, low cost peels from 3 to 1 days, and in some cases to just 6 hours. The resulting dry cake is …

Project to introduce drought-resistant maize continues in Africa

March 3rd, 2017 / Crop Protection News

A long-term project to introduce and develop genetically modified drought-resistant maize to Africa has been billed a success by one of it drivers, the biotechnology giant Monsanto.
The Water Efficient Maize for Africa (WEMA) project, up and running since 2008, was created with “a goal to enhance food security in sub-Saharan …

NEWEST rice will lead to food sufficiency in Africa

March 3rd, 2017 / Leadership, Nigeria

The Executive Director of the African Agricultural Technology Foundation (AATF), Dr Denis Kyetere has said the nitrogen-use efficient, water-use efficient and salt tolerant rice (NEWEST) will lead to food sufficiency in Sub-Saharan Africa.
Speaking at the annual review and planning meeting held at the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), Ibadan, …