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Robust evidence of declines in insect abundance and biodiversity

November 1st, 2019

There are certain times in life — whether in our relationships, personal health or scientific research — when we think that we know something but the evidence is less than conclusive. An accumulation of clues or symptoms might suggest a particular interpretation without being strong enough to clinch the argument. …

AI for development

November 1st, 2019

Artificial Intelligence (AI) has enormous potential for global development and is already being widely explored as a means to tackle poverty and boost economies. In the health sector, AI technology is used to diagnose diseases such as dengue and zika, while in agriculture it is helping farmers identify pests and take action before …

Quarter of world’s pig population ‘to die due to African swine fever’

November 1st, 2019

About a quarter of the global pig population is expected to die as a result of an epidemic of African swine fever (ASF), according to the intergovernmental organisation responsible for coordinating animal disease control.

In the last year the spread of the disease has taken policymakers by surprise, and has been …

Developing climate smart grain value chains in East Africa

October 31st, 2019

Grain demand is booming in East Africa – but supply is threatened by climate change

The grain sector, and its entire value chain, play an important role in enhancing food security, household incomes and job creation in East Africa. This is especially important given the rapidly increasing Sub-Saharan population. However, the …

HarvestPlus supports sweet potato mobile app project

October 31st, 2019

HarvestPlus Uganda has been collaborating with the BioInnovate Africa project and the Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry & Fisheries (MAAIF) to develop an information and communication technology (ICT) platform for certifying vitamin A orange sweet potato vines.

The ICT platform, which is accessible via a mobile application and a website, allows farmers to …

Biotech soybeans now cover 50% of the world’s biotech crop area

October 31st, 2019

The four major biotech crops — soybeans, maize, cotton, and canola — were the most adopted biotech crops by 26 countries in 2018, according to the ISAAA report, Global Status of Commercialized Biotech/GM Crops in 2018. Soybeans lead at 95.9 million hectares, followed by maize (58.9 million hectares), cotton (24.9 million), and canola (10.1 million hectares). Based on …

Can TELA maize solve the acute food shortages in sub-Saharan Africa?

October 30th, 2019

Sub-Saharan Africa remains the most food-insecure region in the world, with an estimated 237 million throughout the region suffering from chronic undernutrition.

Frequent droughts are partially to blame for the persistent food shortages and the dry conditions make farming particularly challenging for the region’s smallholders. The TELA Maize Project has been working …

Rwanda to make food fortification mandatory

October 30th, 2019

The Food and Drugs Authority (FDA) has designed new regulatory guidelines governing local food processors in a move aimed at increasing food fortification and tackle malnutrition.

The proposed guidelines, expected to be implemented next month, are also intended to improve the quality of the food that is processed in the country.

The …

Soil fungi turn struggling wheat into ‘climate-smart’ crop with boosted nutrient uptake

October 30th, 2019

Introducing fungi to wheat boosted their uptake of key nutrients and could lead to new, ‘climate smart’ varieties of crops, according to a new study.

Researchers at the University of Leeds have demonstrated a partnership between wheat and soil fungi that could be utilized to develop new food crops and farming …

Engineered molecule could protect key food crops from intensifying droughts as climate changes

October 29th, 2019

An engineered small molecule called opabactin that targets the receptor for the hormone abscisic acid (ABA), which plants release in stressful conditions, limited water loss in Arabidopsis, tomato, and wheat, and improved wheat’s tolerance of drought-like conditions in the lab, according to a study published today (October 24) in Science. It …