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Nigeria’s new leadership raises hopes for science

June 3rd, 2015 / Nature, UK

Oye Ibidapo-Obe, former head of the Nigerian Academy of Science, discusses research-policy priorities for the country’s new president, Muhammadu Buhari. “The incoming government did not mention science research and funding in its campaign, probably because the average Nigerian does not see science as the core need of the country, so …

Is opposition to GM crops irrational?

June 3rd, 2015 / BBC, UK (audio)

Ask a scientist, and they will almost tell you genetically modified food is safe to eat. Yet a lot of consumers disagree. Is their fear of irrational? Earlier this year a US poll suggested that 88% of scientists think GM food is generally safe to eat, while only 37% of …

WHO cancer unit analyzes popular pesticide

June 2nd, 2015 / Reuters, UK

The World Health Organization is set to examine a widely used pesticide and agribusiness is bracing for bad news, less than three months after the group classified another popular herbicide as “probably” cancer-causing. Twenty-four scientists representing WHO’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) are set to analyze scientific findings …

Drought tolerant crops

June 2nd, 2015 / FarmBiz Africa

A drought tolerant crops project in the vastly dry Mtito Andei area is assisting farmers sow and reap from the desert with farmers earning upto Sh100,00 from sale of crops that would ordinarily not even sprout in the area. Read …

Rice scientists from India helping Africa

June 2nd, 2015 / International Rice Research Institute (IRRI), Philippines

Like many of his classmates, Venuprasad Ramaiah was planning to become an engineer. But, during his first year of bachelor’s degree studies at the University of Agricultural Sciences in Bangalore, India, a course in plant genetics taught by an inspiring teacher, Ms. Savithri Amma, marked a turning point in his …

The search for genetic clues to combat herbicide resistant weeds

June 1st, 2015 / Genetic Literacy Project, US

The advent of Roundup for crop control has brought a long list of benefits for farmers, CSU professor Scott Nissen said, including savings in fuel and water, as well as a reduction in soil erosion. But, while the system has proven easy and effective, Nissen said reliance on a …

Ghana: financial support for women farmers can make the difference

June 1st, 2015 / Graphic Online, Ghana

In Ghana, the role of women in agriculture cannot be underestimated as they constitute more than half the agricultural labour force, 95 per cent of those involved in agro-processing, 85 per cent of those in food distribution and produce 70 per cent of the country’s food requirements. Yet, seemingly, …

Women lead men in agriculture – Wole Soyinka CIJ

June 1st, 2015 / NaiJ.com

Most farmers in Nigeria operate at the subsistence level. Nonetheless, their contributions are so extensive that the country’s food security and agricultural development lie in their hands. Most of these farmers happen to be rural women, yet development agencies have devoted very little resources to how research, new agricultural …

Nature: a source of innovation in poorer countries

May 31st, 2015 / SciDev.net, UK

‘Bioinspiration’ means taking ideas from nature and turning them into technical innovation. This way of doing science could help poorer countries be more competitive. Scientists in developing countries should look for inspiration in their unique environments instead of trying to replicate European and US methods, says George Whitesides, of Harvard …

Biotech crops benefiting small farmers the most

May 31st, 2015 / Farm Futures, US

Farmers in developing countries have the most to gain from using GMO crops, according to an annual report from PG Economics which documents gains in yield and producer income, as well as reductions in pesticide use and greenhouse gas emissions, due to adoption of GMO crops globally. Read …