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Africa must adopt climate resilient agricultural policies

August 28th, 2015 / Coastweek.com, Kenya

The Zambian government has called on African countries to adopt climate resilient agricultural policies if the continent is to adapt to the effects of climate change. While acknowledging the adverse effects of extreme climate on agricultural production on the African continent, Minister of Agriculture and Livestocks Permanent Secretary David Shamulenge …

Why activists, but few farmers, complain they can’t save patented seeds

August 28th, 2015 / Genetic Literacy Project, US

Pity the poor farmer who saves seeds. According to anti-GMO activists, the hapless seed saver who’s simply trying to raise crops more cheaply by not paying for new seeds each year, is being oppressed by evil “Big Ag”–companies that only want to sell their hybrid and patented seeds (often, but …

How growing trees on the farm leads to food security

August 26th, 2015 / Daily Monitor, Uganda

B4FA Fellow Lominda Afedraru reports: it is important to plant different tree species in crop lands because they contribute to higher productivity of crops and animals as well as the soil. Trees from legume families fix nitrogen, which is useful for crops. Trees also provide fuel wood for cooking and …

The war on GMOs: the food is safe but the rhetoric is dangerous

August 26th, 2015 / The Slate, US

The World Health Organization, the American Medical Association, the National Academy of Sciences, and the American Association for the Advancement of Science have all declared that there’s no good evidence GMOs are unsafe. Hundreds of studies back up that conclusion. But many of us don’t trust these assurances. We’re drawn …

How plant sensors detect pathogens

August 26th, 2015 / Erika Alert, AAAS, US

An international team of scientists describes precisely how a plant senses a pathogen, bringing an unprecedented level of detail to Flor’s model. “We know that plants have sensors to detect pathogens but we knew little about how they work,” says Professor Banfield from the John Innes Centre (UK). See …

Food production efforts should include nutrition education

August 26th, 2015 / Daily Monitor, Uganda

B4FA Fellow, Michael Ssali reports: A study, The Cost of Hunger in Africa, which was conducted in 2013 by the government, with support from African Union, revealed that Uganda loses Shs1.8tn ($899m) annually—or 5.6 per cent of GDP—due to the effects of malnutrition. Illnesses related to malnutrition cost the country …

Air pollution affects crops, too

August 24th, 2015 / The Conversation, UK

Air pollutants harm vegetation and crops. In Asia it is estimated that around 10% of the food crop is destroyed by pollutants. For Africa we’ve got no good idea. First because we don’t have the same controlled field experiments on Africa’s staple crops such as cassava or millet as we …

Rwanda: Micronutrient fertilisers can double crop yields

August 24th, 2015 / The New Times, Rwanda

Farmers planting rice, potatoes, wheat, beans and maize can almost double their produce with the use of micronutrient fertilisers and lime, a new study indicates. This is according to a study conducted in 2014 by the Ministry of Agriculture and Animal Resources (MINAGRI) in partnership with International Fertiliser Development Centre …

Uganda: farmers advised on seeds

August 24th, 2015 / East African Business Week, Uganda

“When small holder farmers form cooperatives, NARO can support them with technical skills to enable them establish community seed banks. When this is done we shall solve the problem of counterfeit seeds on the market and poor market distribution. Farmers have been alleging that they are being supplied with fake …

Rice production could increase 33%

August 22nd, 2015 / Genetic Literacy Project, US

A newly discovered gene could increase rice production by up to a third, according to a study by Chinese scientists, potentially offering a new weapon in the fight against global hunger. By modifying the plant’s BG1 gene, the researchers said they were able to create one of the largest rice …