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Beyond the poverty of poverty reduction: the case of cotton

December 15th, 2015 / African Arguments, UK

Africa’s cotton producers still seek a better trade deal. But as the WTO Ministerial meeting convenes in Nairobi, the poverty hurdles are much higher than just trade barriers. But to move beyond the poverty of poverty reduction, decision-makers will need to embrace broader and deeper understandings of Africa’s cotton and …

G-33 demands outcome on special safeguards

December 15th, 2015 / Livemint.com

With an agreement on a special safeguard mechanism (SSM) that they want unlikely at the World Trade Organization (WTO)’s 10th ministerial conference starting on Tuesday in Nairobi, a group of developing countries including India has demanded an outcome on special safeguards (SSGs), amending a provision that already exists in Article …

Africa closer to a cure for banana disease

December 15th, 2015 / Inter Press Service

Scientists at the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) headquartered in Ibadan, Nigeria in partnership with the National Agriculture Research Organisation (NARO) in Uganda are close to a breakthrough after more than eight years researching solutions to BXW.In one Ugandan dialect, ‘kiwotoka’, describes the steamed look of banana plants affected …

Irish potatoes help combat effect of climate change in Ethiopia

December 14th, 2015 / Irish Times, Ireland

One success story among many that we have had here is the introduction of the humble Irish potato to drought-stricken and hungry areas of the highlands of Ethiopia. In an attempt to find a substitute for local varieties, we introduced the Belete variety which produced extremely high yields of 56.6 …

Five things you need to know about the Paris climate deal

December 14th, 2015 / The Conversation, UK

The UN climate talks in Paris have ended with an agreement between 195 countries to tackle global warming. The climate deal is at once both historic, important – and inadequate. From whether it is enough to avoid dangerous climate change to unexpected wins for vulnerable nations, here are five things …

A new breed of edits

December 14th, 2015 / Nature, UK

Genome editing allows much smaller changes to be made to DNA compared with conventional genetic engineering. In terms of agriculture, this might win over public and regulator opinion. Genome editing offers both subtlety and speed, wherever in the genome a researcher wants to target. The speed comes from the technologies’ …

Will banana crisis force more rational consideration of GMOs?

December 14th, 2015 / Genetic Literacy Project, US

The new strain of Panama Disease, known as Tropical Race 4, has already spread from Southeast Asia across the rest of the continent, as well as to Africa, the Middle East and Australia. Whenever it makes what researchers say is an inevitable jump to Latin America, it will devastate commercial …

Soil project seeks to soak up excess carbon

December 14th, 2015 / AllAfrica.com

France is leading a worldwide push to increase the amount of carbon locked in soils through better farming practices. Supporters of an initiative launched at the COP 21 summit say this would limit global warming by removing carbon from the atmosphere, while also increasing the range and amount of food …

WHO reveals scale of foodborne disease

December 14th, 2015 / SciDev.net

Africa and Asia have the highest health burden from foodborne diseases of any region, according to the WHO’s first ever estimates of the global impact of such diseases. Eating food contaminated by bacteria, viruses, parasites, toxins and chemicals kills around 420,000 people a year around the world, including 125,000 children …

Adaptation is key if Africa is to tackle climate change

December 10th, 2015 / The Conversation

The current and projected severe impacts of climate change in Africa make adaptation an urgent priority. While reducing greenhouse gas emissions is a vital task, adaptation to the impacts of climate change is needed now as well as the next few decades. But adaptation faces many challenges: institutional, technical, political, …