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New cassava varieties to ease hunger pangs in Kenya and beyond

July 5th, 2017 / MediaMax

New cassava varieties that should help alleviate Kenya’s food crisis are on the way.
Researchers say the Virus Resistant Cassava for Africa Plus (VIRCA Plus) varieties, which are disease-resistant and nutritionally enhanced, are expected to improve the livelihoods and health status of Kenyans and elsewhere Africa. The planting materials may be …

Ethiopia: Armyworm still wreaks havoc on maize

July 4th, 2017 / AllAfrica

Over the past two weeks, farmers of Yinesu Sostu Wereda in Gojjam, Amhara Regional State, have been busy handpicking larvae of the fall army worm. The farmers from the area, also known as Gogota, are doing this as an immediate response to the recent army worm attack in their region. …

Ghana: Finance minister launches $50m fund for West Africa Centre for Crop Improvement

July 4th, 2017 / Graphic

Ghana’s Minister of Finance, Mr Ken Ofori-Atta, has launched a $50 million endowment fund for the West Africa Centre for Crop Improvement (WACCI). The fund is established to complete, furnish and equip the centre’s new multi-purpose building into a world-class teaching and research centre. The finance minister says the government …

Why the documentary “Food Evolution” speaks to science moms

July 4th, 2017 / Science Moms

“Food Evolution” is a documentary written by award winning director Scott Hamilton Kennedy and Trace Sheehan. Featuring real scientists, the movie proposes that genetic engineering isn’t the evil technology that it’s been made out to be, and that “GMOs,” or genetically modified organisms, are safe to eat. Those of us …

Cultivating Angola’s banana crop

July 3rd, 2017 / BBC

The BBC’s Taurai Maduna visits a banana plantation in Caxito in northern Angola to see how fruit farming is proving itself to be a lucrative way of diversifying the economy in the face of a slump in the country’s oil sector. Read …

G20 countries must come together to fight famine and save millions of lives

July 3rd, 2017 / NDTV

As the German G20 Presidency aims to put in place a stable environment for investment in Africa, the spectre of famine is haunting millions of people in Africa and the Arab peninsula. Nearly 20 million people in Nigeria, Somalia, South Sudan, and Yemen are facing what has been described …

IITA: Diseases threatening Nigeria’s $6bn turnover from maize

July 3rd, 2017 / Development Cable, Nigeria

The International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) says Nigeria’s annual turnover of $6 billion from the maize industry is currently being threatened by diseases and pests especially African army worm caterpillar. Robert Asiedu, research for development director, West Africa, said the diseases may threaten national food security if it …

Modified maize that kills with RNA is given go-ahead in the US

June 30th, 2017 / New Scientist, UK

For the first time, a crop that produces an RNAi-based pesticide has got the green light.
The US Environmental Protection Agency has approved a genetically modified corn known as SmartStax Pro. In addition to producing two Bt toxins to kill any western corn rootworm larvae that try to eat it, the …

How soil dwelling bacteria adapt to richer or poorer conditions

June 30th, 2017 /

Scientists have identified a unique mechanism that the soil dwelling bacterium Pseudomonas fluorescens uses to effectively exploit nutrients in the root environment.
The breakthrough offers multiple new applications, according to the team of John Innes Centre scientists behind the discovery: for the study of human pathogens, for synthetic biology, and for …

To feed 9 billion, will we need ‘GMO 2.0’?

June 30th, 2017 /

Amidst all the conflict and confusion around food safety and nutrition, how do we make the best decisions about how to feed ourselves? What choices do we need to make when it comes to feeding a planet that will, by 2050, more than 9 billion hungry people?
These questions — …