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Gene editing: The key to food security in a warmer world?

January 8th, 2018 / Deutsche Welle, Germany

At the Justus Liebig University in Gießen, Germany, scientist Karl-Heinz Kogler is fighting diseases that affect wheat and other crops. His new weapon is the gene-editing technique CRISPR-cas9. It allows him to literally edit organisms, removing bits of DNA responsible for undesirable outcomes.
Recently, he and his team edited the wheat …

A peace plan for resolving GMO conflict

January 8th, 2018 / Alliance for Science, US

Five years ago, environmentalist Mark Lynas stood before the UK Oxford Farming Conference and offered a public apology for his earlier anti-GMO activism. In the years since, he’s devoted himself pretty much full time to the GM issue, visiting numerous countries in Africa and Asia and meeting farmers, scientists, activists …

Can online courses fix Africa’s food insecurity?

January 5th, 2018 / Ozy.com

The idea came to him on a bus in Rionegro, Colombia. Howard Blight was traveling with a delegation of South African avocado farmers when conversation turned to a hotel back home that was up for sale. “We should buy it,” said one farmer. “And turn it into an agricultural college!” …

Ugandan president refuses to sign biosafety bill into law

January 5th, 2018 / Xinhua, China

In a letter to the speaker last week, Museveni said the use of the GMO crops will contaminate the indigenous ones which Ugandan farmers have developed for years.
“This law apparently talks of giving monopoly of patent rights to its adder and forgets about the communities that developed original material. This …

New technologies are re-engineering traditional plant breeding to meet global food security challenges

January 5th, 2018 / Nature Plants, UK

Breeding crops with a high yield and superior adaptability is vital to maintaining global food security. New technologies on multiple scales are re-engineering traditional plant breeding to meet these challenges. Read more …

The banana as we know it is dying … again

January 5th, 2018 / Discover Magazine, US

The bananas your grandparents ate were different than the ones you eat today. And the bananas your grandchildren know will probably be entirely different as well.
For the moment, we are in the age of the Cavendish, a banana cultivar that accounts for 99 percent of imports to the Western world. …

Speed breeding technique sows seeds of new green revolution

January 4th, 2018 / John Innes Centre, UK

Pioneering new technology is set to accelerate the global quest for crop improvement in a development which echoes the Green Revolution of the post war period.
The speed-breeding platform developed by teams at the John Innes Centre, University of Queensland and University of Sydney, uses a glasshouse or an artificial environment …

Africa’s tropical forests could be next in line as global food demand grows

January 4th, 2018 / The Conversation

There are rising concerns that trends in rapid deforestation across the Amazon and Southeast Asia could spread to Africa.
In particular, some worry that continued demand for commodity crops will lead to large-scale agricultural expansion in Africa where it’s estimated, that 50%-67% of the land suitable for agriculture is still forest.
To …

Speed breeding LED technique grows food six times faster than conventional farming

January 4th, 2018 / ZME Science

Australian researchers have demonstrated a ‘speed breeding’ technique for common crops. Their method yields far more food per unit area than conventional farming, relying on specially calibrated LEDs that emit light at specific frequencies onto crops to accelerate plant growth.
Using this setup, researchers showed that they could grow six generations …

To transform agricultural extension, give youth a voice

January 3rd, 2018 / World Bank, US

At the recent Africa Agriculture Extension week in Durban, there was a common refrain: “Demand for food in Africa is growing and expected to double by 2050.” This is why we see continued growth and employment opportunities in the agricultural value chain and why agriculture extension—or training– is more important …