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Protecting crop and feed diversity enhances food security while reducing GHGs

March 3rd, 2016 / ILRI, Ethiopia

Crop diversity can be conserved and shared. Scientists know how to do it and at a very limited cost to the world community. It requires global leadership and stronger partnerships and the building of capacities of scientists in the developing world. No country is self-sufficient; successful breeding is highly dependent …

How to graft quick-growing seedlings

March 3rd, 2016 / Daily Monitor, Uganda

B4FA Fellow, Michael Ssali reports: NARO-Kamenyamiggo Satellite Station located in Kingo Sub-county, Lwengo District has also set up an improved coffee seedling propagation and multiplication unit solely to supply clean, quick growing, and high yielding plantlets to interested farmers at affordable prices, according to Dr Nicholas Ssekabunga who took Seeds …

Viruses have their own version of CRISPR

March 1st, 2016 / The Atlantic, US

With all the buzz around CRISPR, the gene-editing technique that has instigated many an ethical debate and one acrimonious patent dispute, it would be easy to mistake it for a recent human invention. It’s not. Bacteria invented CRISPR billions of years ago, as a defense against marauding viruses. The bacteria …

Young scientists push Bt research

March 1st, 2016 / The Standard, Philippines

The Outstanding Young Scientists Inc., the official organization of outstanding young scientist awardees of the National Academy of Science and Technology, urged the Supreme Court Monday to allow the research on Bt eggplant to continue. OYSI in a statement asked the high court to reconsider its earlier decision and allow …

Seed firms accused of neglecting female farmers

March 1st, 2016 / SciDev.net, UK

The Access to seeds index report 2016 found that seed firms focus their research efforts on major cash crops, such as maize and rice. But they rarely strive to develop better varieties of seeds that are important to female farmers in developing countries, such as sweet potato or peanuts, the …

Scientists race to halt banana catastrophe

March 1st, 2016 / SciDev.net, UK

Scientists in developing countries are scrambling to find a cure for a devastating fungus that threatens to wipe out the global banana trade and plunge millions of farmers into poverty. Around the world, banana farmers are fighting a losing battle against Tropical Race 4, a soil fungus that kills Cavendish …

How climate change is pushing more African countries to accept GM crops

March 1st, 2016 / African Insider

Faced with unpredictable harsh weather conditions more and more African Countries are changing their stance against genetically modified (GM) crops to help improve on farm yields and feed a growing population. For long GM food has been viewed with suspicion by many African governments with vicious debates taking place across …

How technology can be a sweet game-changer for African agriculture

March 1st, 2016 / Mail & Guardian Africa, Kenya

Many fear that the new industrial age will hurt emerging markets, as they are likely to suffer when artificial intelligence and robots become widely used, reducing the competitive advantage of their cheap labour. For 80% of Africans employed in the agriculture sector, this also holds an uncertain future since the …

Immunity gene fusions discovered in plants

February 26th, 2016 / ISAAA

A certain class of plant immune receptors has been identified to be highly informative about plant disease resistance. Nucleotide-binding Leucine-Rich Repeat receptors (NLRs) with additional integrated domains that act as ‘baits’ for the pathogen have been identified in rice and thale cress, and experimentally shown to be involved in disease …

What can be done about badly depleted nitrogen levels in Africa’s soil

February 26th, 2016 / The Conversation, UK

African soils have been mined for their nutrients for far too long. Nutrients are removed in harvesting across the continent, but they aren’t being returned to the soil. This usually happens in the form of manures or fertilisers. As with a bank so too with soil: if you don’t deposit …