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Soybean farmers in east and southern Africa get a boost

April 5th, 2017 / SciDev.net

Smallholder farmers in east and southern Africa could benefit from a project to innovate ways to help unlock barriers in regional soybean value chains.
The UK-funded FoodTrade East and Southern Africa (FoodTrade ESA) has awarded £1million (about US$1.2 million) to Classic Foods Limited of Kenya and Seba Foods Limited of Zambia …

Why GMO crops need to be embraced

April 5th, 2017 / The Standard, Kenya

In the onset of a new system, persons who have benefited from the older systems often vehemently oppose change.
While this assertion by Niccolo Machiavelli is almost trite, we still painfully await a change of heart by our policy makers. This declaration applies to all fields, where the adoption of genetically …

Earthworms are more if you want to save the planet

April 5th, 2017 / The Conversation, UK

Not all wildlife is created equal in our eyes. Take the earthworm, which doesn’t have the widespread appeal of larger, more charismatic animals such as gorillas, tigers or pandas. Worms are never going to get a strong “cute response”, and they won’t ever be the face of a conservation campaign.
But …

The challenge ahead: harnessing gene editing to sustainable agriculture

April 5th, 2017 / Bizcommunity.com

The role of genetic engineering in agriculture and food has generated enormous interest and controversies, with a large-scale embrace by some nations and wholesale bans by others. Many studies have been done and much research remains to be done on the impact genetically modified organisms (GMO) can have on broader …

The army worm disaster

April 5th, 2017 / Daily Monitor, Uganda

B4FA Fellow, Michael Ssali reports: The armyworm was mentioned in this column on February 18. Back then it was referred to as a threat that we faced since it had been reported to have invaded countries such as South Africa, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Zambia, and Zimbabwe and even forced the …

Africa is gardening the Sahel to keep the desert out. Is it working?

April 5th, 2017 / TRT World

It’s been almost 9 years since Senegal planted the first tree in the Sahel region, as part of the Great Green Wall initiative. How is it going? Read …

How to feed 9.7 billion people? CRISPR gene editing for crops

April 4th, 2017 / Singularityhub.com

It’s no secret that we’re going to struggle to feed the rapidly expanding global population. New genome editing technologies could hold the answer, according to scientists.
The number of humans on this planet is expected to hit 9.7 billion by 2050, and crop demand is predicted to increase by 100 to …

New generation of GMO crops could dramatically increase yield

April 4th, 2017 / Genetic Literacy Project, US

Farmers could one day control when their crops ripen after the development of modified rice that flowers on demand.
Despite how advanced our agricultural technology has become, outdoor plants still develop according to the whims of nature — the gentle warmth of early summer sun, the soft patter of spring rains.
Japanese …

The business case for soil

April 4th, 2017 / Nature, UK

Nobody likes dirty business, but the business world must get to grips with dirt. Soil provides food, fibres and fuels, and regulates water resources and climate. Yet most businesses are unaware that their bottom lines depend on soil; nor are they aware of the risks they face from its degradation. …

Trump’s new executive order will worsen hunger in Africa

April 4th, 2017 / National Geographic, US

On Tuesday, President Donald Trump took his most concrete step thus far to unravel his predecessor’s legacy on climate change, with a wide-ranging executive order that dismantles several Obama-era policies to restrict greenhouse gas pollution. The order outraged environmentalists—Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) called it “a declaration of war on American …