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Investing in African agriculture: finding the best opportunities in 2017

February 5th, 2017 / AFK Insider, South Africa

Sub-Saharan Africa continues to face the challenges of lower commodity prices. It is not surprising that many governments are looking to agriculture as an emerging (or returning) priority to buoy economic growth. Our favorite countries for 2017 in the agriculture space are Ethiopia, Cameroon, Côte d’Ivoire and Mali. See …

ECA, FAO collaborate on sustainable agriculture in Africa

February 5th, 2017 / Footprint to Africa

The Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) and the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) have entered a partnership to enhance the development of sustainable agriculture and agribusiness; food and nutrition security; regional integration; and trade on the continent.
The two entities from the United Nations ecosystem will complement each other, FAO in …

After the devastating drought, armyworm could be our next agricultural disaster

February 5th, 2017 / Huffington Post, South Africa

The 2016/17 summer crop production season started on a slightly positive note for Southern Africa’s agricultural sector, after emerging from a devastating drought in the 2015/16 season. For South Africa, there are already promising indications that the country could retain its status as a net exporter of maize.
In the second …

Monoculture in cover crops is often better than polyculture

February 2nd, 2017 / Genetic Literacy Project, US

Research thus far has consistently found that cover crop polycultures are not necessarily better than cover crop monocultures. This is now reaffirmed by a large study, done in Pennsylvania, published this year (Finney et al. 2016). The study had 18 treatments replicated four times (these studies are a lot of …

Trees supplement income for rural farmers in Africa

February 2nd, 2017 /

Trees may be easy to spot on the plains of Africa but they are often overlooked as a source of income for farmers. A new study shows trees on farms may help reduce rural poverty and maintain biodiversity. The study used satellite images showing forest cover and nationally representative household-level …

Africa: guess how much water your daily food consumes

February 2nd, 2017 /

The facts are clear. So are the consequences. And the facts are that it takes between one and three tonnes of water to grow one kilogramme of cereal; that a kilogramme of beef takes up to 15 tonnes of water to produce; and that it is estimated that between 2,000 …

The smart way to help African farmers tackle climate change

February 1st, 2017 / Bizcomunity, South Africa

Agriculture is the most important sector of African economies, from the livelihoods it supports to the future jobs it can generate. The basic recipe for boosting performance is well known: more investment, better access to financial services, improved seeds, and a lot more fertiliser (appropriately applied).
What is less appreciated is …

‘GMOs will not replace conventional seeds’

February 1st, 2017 / Tribune, Nigeria

The Country Coordinator of the Open Forum for Agricultural Biotechnology (OFAB), Rose Gidado, in this interview says genetically modified seeds will not take over from the conventional seeds, and highlights some characteristics of GMOs and how they can help Nigeria in attaining food security. See …

A coffee renaissance is brewing, and thanks to genetics

February 1st, 2017 / Wired, US

Genes are the future of coffee. Not nitro cold brewing or beans pooped out by civets, but genes. And coffee’s gene-fueled future just drew nearer, now that scientists have sequenced the genome of the Coffea arabica coffee plant—the species that makes up the vast majority of global production—and made the …

Nigeria ranks low, S/Africa, Malawi highest, among African countries committed to ending hunger

January 31st, 2017 / The Vanguard, Nigeria

Nigeria ranks 37 in its commitment to ending hunger and malnutrition among its people, the Hunger and Nutrition Commitment Index – Africa (HANCI-Africa) has indicated. The rankings, produced by the Institute of Development Studies (UK) with the African Union’s New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD), was released on the website …