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New biotech crop-breeding technologies struggle for traction across much of Africa

December 19th, 2018 / Genetic Literacy Project, US

B4FA Fellow Lominda Afedraru writes:
Around the world, scientists using biotechnology advances to breed new crops are bound by an array of guidelines and regulations enacted by the nations in which they operate. Many of these countries have built these legal frameworks based, at least partly, on guidance from the Convention …

Preparing Africa for ravages of climate change ‘cannot be an afterthought’ – COP24

December 18th, 2018 / Independent, Uganda

Africa is at a “tipping point” as global warming increases, and urgent action needs to be taken across the continent now, to mitigate risks and safeguard a decade of social and economic gains, according to a new report launched by the United Nations Development Agency (UNDP) at the COP24 climate …

The land, agriculture and forestry nexus at the heart of African sustainability

December 18th, 2018 / AllAfrica.com

How Africa manages its land, agriculture and forestry is of critical importance to the health of its people, its economy and the world’s climate.
Not only is Africa the continent with the greatest potential to increase productivity; it also has the highest percentage of rainfed agriculture and therefore among the most …

Smallholders’ global food production underestimated

December 18th, 2018 / SciDev,net

The proportion of smallholder farms globally may be much larger than previously thought, suggesting that their current contribution to global food production could be underestimated, a crowdsourcing study reveals.
According to previous studies, smallholder farms — agricultural fields less than around two hectors in size — make up between 12 and …

Significant progress in pearl millet pre-breeding to develop drought- and blast-resistant varieties

December 17th, 2018 / ICRISAT

Efforts to develop pearl millet with improved resistance to drought and blast disease recently got a major boost. The identification of promising introgression lines after multi-location trials, will help accelerate development of new varieties and increase pearl millet production and productivity.
Pearl millet is an important source of nutrition for millions …

Hybrid rice engineered with CRISPR can clone its seeds

December 17th, 2018 / Science News

After more than 20 years of theorizing about it, scientists have tweaked a hybrid variety of rice so that some of the plants produce cloned seeds. No plant sex necessary. The feat, described December 12 in Nature, is encouraging for efforts to feed an increasingly crowded world.
Crossing two good varieties …

The future of drought-tolerant wheat is near

December 17th, 2018 / Global Farmer Network

I have seen the future of wheat and it’s in Argentina.
Or at least one version of it which would be of great benefit to an Australian farmer like me.
Let me explain. Two years ago, I had the chance to visit Argentina in a low rainfall area very similar to areas …

From mangoes to maize, climate change brings new hunger threats

December 14th, 2018 / AllAfrica

In northern Ghana, where climate change is bringing an ever-shorter rainy season, struggling farmers are looking for more land they can plant to get enough of a harvest to feed their families.
That’s bad news for the region’s women, who cannot own land of their own but instead farm on plots …

Climate change: Failure to tackle warming ‘suicidal’

December 14th, 2018 / BBC, UK

The UN secretary-general has warned negotiators at a major meeting that failing to increase efforts on climate change would be “not only immoral but suicidal” for the planet.
Antonio Guterres has flown back to Poland to try and push COP24 to a successful conclusion.
At the UN talks, a group of countries …

Will gene editing boost food production? The potential of a ‘revolutionary technology’

December 14th, 2018 / Genetic Literacy Project, US

With the progress already made in the development of genome-editing tools and the development of new breakthroughs, genome editing promises to play a key role in speeding up crop breeding and in meeting the ever-increasing global demand for food. Moreover, the exigencies of climate change call for great flexibility and …