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Agriculture, a mountain of opportunity says UNEP Executive Director

March 29th, 2016 / UNEP, Kenya

Agriculture has emerged as one of the key sectors that highlight the integrated nature of this approach and how it can help drive many of the solutions for a healthy planet with healthy people. However, agriculture probably also highlights more than most the way in which our fates are inextricably …

El Niño threatens food security in Africa

March 28th, 2016 / Dipnote, US

The second worst El Niño episode in history has hit Africa with devastating force, causing extensive drought and flooding that are in turn causing or exacerbating widespread hunger. El Niño is a complex weather pattern that stems from variations in ocean temperatures; it is not necessarily related to global …

Science meets farming to reveal Africa’s best bean

March 28th, 2016 / SciDev.net, UK

Around 23 million tonnes of beans are grown globally for trade and local consumption every year. Across the world, millions of farmers depend on one or more of the 40,000 known bean varieties. But beans are a fragile crop. They need lots of water and stable temperatures to grow. A …

Southern Africa warned of severe food crisis

March 28th, 2016 / eNCA, South Africa

The Famine Early Warning System Network (FEWSNET) has warned of severe food insecurity across the Southern Africa region in 2016-2017 after two years of consecutive drought which have limited crop production. In a new special report entitled “Illustrating the extent and severity of the 2015-2016 drought,” FEWSNET said although temporary …

Seed banks overlook wild relatives of food crops

March 28th, 2016 / SciDec.net.UK

Wild relatives of vital food crops are at risk of going extinct but remain underrepresented in gene banks, scientists warn. There is an urgent need to collect and conserve relatives of plants such as rice, wheat, maize and potato to preserve their genetic diversity, says a paper published this week …

8 out of the 10 countries with worst access to safe water are in Africa

March 28th, 2016 / AfricanInsider, US

Worldwide, some 650 million people still do not have access to clean water, according to WaterAid. Government subsidized water sources often are reserved for wealthier communities, leaving the poorest to spend disproportionately. Almost half of those — 300 million plus — are in Africa. Yet Africa has possibly 20 times …

Modern peanut’s wild cousin, thought extinct, found in Andes

March 28th, 2016 / Scientific American, US

the The modern peanut (Arachis hypogaea) is the result of the hybridization of two older types of Andean peanut. It has 20 pairs of chromosomes—the total from both old species, which have 10 chromosomes each. Scientists always thought—a suspicion now confirmed—that the “parents” of this peanut were the variants Arachis …

Scientists aim to adapt wheat to a warmer climate with less water

March 26th, 2016 / CIMMYT, Mexico

Scientists battling to increase wheat production by more than 60 percent over the next 35 years to meet projected demand are optimistic that they have begun to unravel the genetic mysteries that will lead to a more productive plant. A recent study conducted at 26 international sites with a new …

The legacy of drought-tolerant maize

March 26th, 2016 / CIMMYT, Mexico

The Drought Tolerant Maize for Africa (DTMA) Project has contributed towards improving seed system in sub-Saharan Africa for almost nine years (2007–2015), through 233 varieties released including about 200 distinct drought-tolerant (DT) maize hybrids and open-pollinated varieties (OPV) developed to help farmers cope with drought constraint in maize farming. …

Canada approves non-browning, low acrylamide GMO potato for sale

March 26th, 2016 / Genetic Literacy Project, US

the Innate potato has the same nutritional composition of regular potatoes plus reduced asparagine. This amino acid found in many starchy foods produces acrylamide, suspected to be a human carcinogen. Potatoes naturally produce the chemical when they’re cooked at high temperatures above 120 C (250 F). Read …