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Hybridisation and the new frontier against spread of global pests

April 11th, 2018

IT’S the stuff of science fiction. Hybridisation of two caterpillars in Brazil confirmed through extensive genomic testing by CSIRO researchers.
But it’s real and will enable the international agricultural community to stay ahead in the race to combat the megapest.
Helicoverpa armigera and Helicoverpa zea (commonly known as the cotton bollworm and …

Vaccines for plants? RNA spray could help protect crops from pests and disease

April 11th, 2018 / Genetic Literacy Project, US

Novel technologies are being sought to replace the traditional pesticides used to protect plants, particularly edible plants such as cereals. A new collaborative project between the University of Helsinki and the French National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS) is shedding light on the efficacy of environmentally friendly RNA-based vaccines that …

New guide for young entrepreneurs working to modernise agriculture through ICT

April 11th, 2018 / CTA

A guidebook designed for young people interested in developing e-agriculture businesses in African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries was launched on 26 April 2017.
Published by the Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation (CTA), An ICT Agripreneurship Guide – A Path to Success for Young ACP Entrepreneurs seeks to help …

Potential of GMOs to combat crop diseases converting skeptical Ugandan politicians

April 11th, 2018 / Genetic Literacy Project, US

Ugandan banana breeders at Kawanda have improved local banana varieties to resist the devastating banana bacterial wilt.
Potato breeders at Kachwekano in partnership with International Centre for Potato have improved the locally grown Victoria Potato variety to resist late blight disease so that potato farmers will not have to buy fungicides.
Cassava …

Agricultural guide on a phone helps increase developing-world farmers’ yields

April 10th, 2018 / FastCompany.com

When Kenyan farmers need to know whether to take their cows to the vet, they can now just ask their phones. Using a popular new service called DigiFarm, they can use their phones to get simple information that will let them determine if their cow is infected with mastitis (a …

Agroecology’s potential to transform food systems for the better

April 10th, 2018 / BizCommunity Africa

According to FAO Director-General José Graziano da Silva at the second International Agroecology Symposium, agroecology can contribute to healthier and more sustainable food systems. “We need to promote a transformative change in the way that we produce and consume food. We need to put forward sustainable food systems that offer …

Kenya approves field trials of bollworm-resistant GMO cotton

April 10th, 2018 / Genetic Literacy Project, US

The National Environment Management Authority [of Kenya] will approve performance trials for genetically modified cotton by May.
Chief compliance officer Margaret Njuki said they are waiting for feedback from the public before they can give a go-ahead.
The sites proposed for the field test include Mwea, Katumani, Kampi ya Mawe, Bura, Perkerra, …

Opposing ‘Golden Rice’ is anti-human

April 10th, 2018 / National Review, US

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if half a million destitute children could be saved each year from blindness and/or death from Vitamin A deficiency? Well, they can be by adding a simple GMO food to their diets known as “golden rice.”
Golden rice is not toxic. It does not genetically engineer, say, …

GMO crops can empower smallholder women farmers in Africa

April 9th, 2018 / Genetic Literacy Project, US

Efforts to get products of modern agricultural technologies, such as GM crops, into the hands of farmers have so far been stymied by the absence of an enabling national policy. Uganda’s National Biosafety Act, passed by Parliament in October 2017, was referred back to lawmakers by President Museveni, who cited …

New genomic tool searches wheat’s wild past to improve crops of the future

April 9th, 2018 / John Innes Centre, UK

A new genetic directory launched today will enable researchers and breeders to scan the genomes of wild relatives of modern wheat to find disease-fighting properties lost to domestication.
The time-travelling trawl is possible following the launch of Open Wild Wheat, a directory which includes the genetic sequences of 150 wild wheats …