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Ethiopia: Research reveals indigenous crop varieties face danger

October 6th, 2015 / AllAfrica

Because of little attention given to indigenous crop varieties including teff, wheat and barley in favor of improved seed varieties, Ethiopia’s indigenous crops are facing a serious threat of extinction, according to research jointly conducted by the Ethiopian Biodiversity Institute (EBI) and the International Biodiversity Institute (IBI). Measures are being …

Why development needs social science

October 6th, 2015 / SciDevNet

Social sciences should play a bigger role in African research and development, says B4FA Director Dr David Bennett. “Natural sciences have a much better chance of succeeding at solving Africa’s problems if they are combined with understanding of social factors and relationships, based on locally appropriate agendas,” he writes. Read …

Reliable data is the answer to Africa’s $1 trillion agriculture opportunity

October 6th, 2015 / Quartz Africa

Africa has more than half of the world’s unused arable land, yet Brazil, Indonesia, and Thailand currently export more food products than all of sub-Saharan Africa combined. But the potential for growth is there. What’s needed is for investors and farmers to be better educated about markets, which requires high-quality …

‘Know GMO’ documentary, filming in Africa, challenges anti-GM scare campaign

October 5th, 2015 / Genetic Literacy Project

Forthcoming documentary “Know GMO” aims to quiet the noisy debate around GMOs. Filmmakers were recently in Uganda to interview banana and cassava farmers, scientists and members of Parliament, those invested in seeking solutions to the diseases threatening staple plants in Africa. The film will focus on perspectives from scientists, policymakers …

Ugandan farmer awarded for encouraging 1,500 girls to farm passionfruit commercially

October 5th, 2015 / East African Business Week

Ugandan fruit farmer Eric Kaduru, whose company KadAfrica encourages and supports young people in taking up fruit farming, has won the 2015 Yara Prize, which recognizes outstanding contributions to African agriculture. “Africa needs to do more to foster entrepreneurial agriculture and the interests of women and youth in agriculture,” said …

How supercomputers and plant genetics will provide farmers better seeds

October 5th, 2015 / Genetic Literacy Project

As genomic sequencing has decreased in price, the amount of data available to researchers has grown exponentially. More and more scientists are turning to computational tools to help organize and analyze the genetic data, which could someday be key to feeding a growing world.Read …

Growing the seeds of change in Zambia

October 5th, 2015 / AllAfrica

A photoessay documenting the Pache Pache Seed Growers Association in Zambia, who grow improved seed with the support of Afriseeds – a seed company initially funded by the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA). The association grows a number of bean varieties, cowpeas, soya, groundnuts and maize and …

Urbanisation reducing Ghanaian smallholders’ lands

October 5th, 2015 / SciDev.net, B4FA Fellow Samuel Hinneh

According to a new report, fertile farmlands are rapidly declining in Ghana due to pressure from population growth and urbanisation, threatening rural livelihoods and food security. The study calls for land audits to ascertain appropriate land use and urges the development of high-yielding crops for smallholders. Photo: Francisco Anzola, used …

Africa’s agriculture needs young blood, says report

October 5th, 2015 / BBC

A report produced by the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) and presented last week at the African Green Revolution Forum in Zambia called for modernising land-tenure systems, access to finance, and the image of farming as an industry in order to encourage Africa’s young people to enter …

Biotech strategies to enhance plants’ natural response to drought

October 2nd, 2015 / ISB News Report, US

How do plants deal with flood and drought? They cope by triggering different strategies. Water deficit and water excess are major factors affecting plants yield worldwide. To cope with such factors, plants trigger physiological and biochemical changes allowing them to survive for a limited period of time. See …