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Quest to map Africa’s soil microbiome begins

November 11th, 2016 / Nature, UK

One thousand ziplocked bags of soil from ten countries will form the basis of the first large-scale survey of the microbial life hidden underground in sub-Saharan Africa. The leaders of the African soil microbiology project hope that the data will one day help to drive better agricultural practices and to …

Fact-checking the New York Times on GM crop yields – science responds

November 11th, 2016 / Information Technology & Innovation Foundation, US

On October 29, The New York Times ran a story titled “Doubts About the Promised Bounty of Genetically Modified Crops,” by reporter Danny Hakim. The response from scientists and farmers around the world was immediate and emphatic: The claims advanced in the article are wrong in just about every way …

Why small grains continue to resist winner takes all commercialisation

November 10th, 2016 / NewsDay, Zimbabwe

From Mali to Zimbabwe and South Africa to Southern Sudan, small grains remain an integral part of mainstream local food systems.
There are many reasons why small grains continue to pack a huge socio-economic punch in many countries.
To revisit and stimulate a frank discussion on the power of small grains, eMKambo …

No GMOs, more greenhouse gas

November 10th, 2016 / AgriNews, US

A global ban on genetically modified crops would raise food prices and add the equivalent of nearly a billion tons of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere, a study by researchers from Purdue University shows.
Using a model to assess the economic and environmental value of GMO crops, agricultural economists found that …

USAID has launched a five-year sustainable Shea initiative for seven West African states

November 10th, 2016 / Youtube.com

B4FA Fellow Noah Nash reports: USAID Ghana in partnership with the Global Shea Alliance has launched a five-year sustainable Shea initiative for seven West African countries. The initiative will see to the implementation of promotional and improved sustainable production activities to enhance the Shea industry in West Africa. See …

Scientists identify molecular conductors that help plants respond to drought

November 9th, 2016 / ISAAA, US

A new study conducted at the Salk Institute found molecular conductors that help plants respond to stress such as drought and salinity. The study suggests that during environmental stresses, a small group of proteins acts as conductors to manage the complex responses of plants to stress. See …

Biotech crops impact economy positively

November 9th, 2016 / Bizcommunity, South Africa

The Department of Science and Technology Director General, Dr Phil Mjwara, says biotechnology or genetically modified (GM) crops have had a positive economic impact on South Africa.
“It is estimated that the economic gains from biotech crops for South Africa for the period 1998 to 2013 was $1.6bn and $313m for …

Developing country universities beginning to develop GM crops

November 8th, 2016 / Genetic Literacy Project, US

… It is interesting that large developing countries, like China, India, Brazil and Argentina, and others of less magnitude, like Bangladesh, Philippines and socialist Cuba, as well as 14 African countries, are investing heavily in the development of GM crops with public funds through public agencies or state-companies to solve …

Morocco launches action plan to fight devastating climate change

November 8th, 2016 / The Guardian, UK

Morocco is using the COP22 conference to formally launch its “Adaptation of African Agriculture” (AAA) initiative. As food security becomes increasingly challenged by erratic weather patterns, the initiative proposes measures such as improved soil management, water and irrigation management and better weather forecasting and insurance programmes for farmers affected by …

What the New York Times missed with its big GMO story

November 8th, 2016 / Grist, US

… GMOs really aren’t all associated with industrial farming. The disease-resistant papaya is a wonderful innovation. The insect-resistant eggplant seems to be reducing pesticide use in Bangladesh. This banana, this cassava, and this rice could all truly improve the lives of small farmers if those new crops make it over …