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Why microbes are key to solving Africa’s food security crisis

February 6th, 2017 / The Conversation, UK

Microbial-based solutions for agriculture are among some of the new innovations making waves in the sector in the developed world. The market for these products is valued at $2.3 billion globally). Biome Makers raised $2.2 million in seed funding in 2016 alone.
Microbes are tiny microscopic organisms such as bacteria and …

Ghanaian agriculture students welcome ‘Champions for Change’ initiative

February 6th, 2017 / Ghana News Agency

Agricultural science students’ from Ghanaian universities have welcomed Africa Lead’s
– Champions for Change initiative – that trains youth leaders to champion innovations in the agricultural sector for increased food production and improved livelihoods.
The students were drawn from a number of tertiary institutions in the country including: University of Cape Coast …

Too much or not enough rain, we must manage soils and rainwater better

February 6th, 2017 / The Herald

Agro-ecologist, Franz Ulrich Fischer, who has experience working in southern Africa, told The Herald Business that several factors including population growth, changes in land use and deforestation had worsened the impact of extreme events, but damage could be curtailed.
“A key to addressing droughts and floods is looking closer to the …

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 …