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Tackling vitamin A deficiency with biofortified sweetpotato in sub-Saharan Africa

March 27th, 2017 / Elsevier, Netherlands

Orange-fleshed sweetpotato (OFSP) is a rich plant-based source of beta-carotene, which the body converts into vitamin A. In sub-Saharan Africa, sweetpotato is known as a food security crop but most varieties grown are high dry matter white-fleshed types, lacking beta-carotene. In 1995, researchers recognized the potential of OFSP varieties to …

New research fellows to combat climate change in Africa

March 26th, 2017 / SciDev.net

A programme is building the capacity of African researchers to understand climate change impacts and develop evidence-based solutions to help policymakers tackle climate change challenges.
The Climate Impact Research Capacity and Leadership Enhancement (CIRCLE) fellowship – an initiative by the African Academy of Sciences and Association of Commonwealth Universities – seeks …

Investment key in adapting to climate change in West Africa

March 26th, 2017 / IIASA

Climate change will likely have negative impacts on food production in West Africa, but a new study provides insights on how strategic planning by decision makers could ease or exacerbate food security challenges in the region.
Climate projections for West Africa show that crop yields and grass for livestock grazing are …

Efficiency of public spending will enhance agriculture productivity for poverty reduction in Africa

March 26th, 2017 / The Financial

Reforms in public spending would boost agricultural productivity in Sub-Saharan Africa, raising farmer’s incomes, and promoting broader economic growth, says a new World Bank report released on March 23.
Reaping Richer Returns: Public Spending Priorities for African Agriculture Productivity Growth explores the performance of agricultural spending in Africa, and presents a …

The inside guide to African drought

March 23rd, 2017 / AllAfrica

Farmers, traders and consumers across East and Southern Africa are feeling the impact of consecutive seasons of drought that have scorched harvests and ruined livelihoods. The El Niño-driven crisis has increased the malnutrition rates of rural children, and driven up food prices for urban residents. Livestock deaths and fire …

East Africa gears for synthetic biology

March 23rd, 2017 / ISAAA

East African countries have the potential to apply synthetic biology in various spheres of their economies, observed participants of the recent UK-East Africa workshop on synthetic biology held in Nairobi, Kenya. Synthetic biology, a relatively new concept, especially in Africa, is a field of biology that adopts an engineering approach …

Scientists make a splash with urine experiment

March 23rd, 2017 / CIAT

A study conducted at the International Center for Tropical Agriculture is looking for a way to trap nitrogen from cattle urine in soil by harnessing the grass Brachiaria. Read …

Discovery shows how PHR1, a key switch protein, controls plant response to low levels of phosphate

March 23rd, 2017 / ISAAA

Scientists at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill have identified a key genetic switch that helps soil bacteria that lives on and inside plant roots to harvest phosphate, a vital nutrient for plant yield that is limited in global supply. The scientists show precisely how PHR1, a …

How healthy soils make for a healthy life

March 23rd, 2017 / The Conversation

The next time you bite into an apple, spare a thought for the soils that helped to produce it. Soils play a vital role, not just in an apple’s growth, but in our own health too. The formation of soil, pedogenesis, is a very slow process. Creating one millimetre …

Latin American native maize reveals adaptation secrets

March 21st, 2017 / SciDev.net

An international team of scientists identified a hundred genes that influence adaptation to the latitude, altitude, growing season and flowering time of nearly 4,500 native maize varieties in Mexico and in almost all Latin American and Caribbean countries.
Creole — or native — varieties of maize are derived from improvements made …