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African leaders convene to discuss ways to beat hunger and malnutrition

December 20th, 2017 / African Farming, UK

His Excellence Abdoulaye Bio Tchané, Minister of State for Planning and Development of the Republic of Benin, and The Right Honorable Dr. Saulos Klaus Chilima, Vice President of the Republic of Malawi co-chaired the first meeting of The Malabo Montpellier Forum in Cotonou, Benin.
“We are delighted to host the inaugural …

The world’s top banana is doomed and nobody can find a repllacement

December 20th, 2017 / Wall Street Journal, US

In June, a team of European researchers traveled to Papua New Guinea on a mission of global significance. They came to search for the Giant Banana plant.
The scientists traveled through the jungles of the South Pacific nation, by car and on foot, accompanied by two armed guards. They were tantalized …

Taking agricultural innovations to scale: RTB scaling fund awards first grants

December 20th, 2017 / CGIAR: Roots and tubers

Researchers who develop new technologies often face challenges in translating them into adapted innovations that people and enterprises will use. The CGIAR Research Program on Roots, Tubers and Bananas (RTB) consequently created a flagship project dedicated to improving livelihoods at scale (Flagship 5), which is facilitating the design and implementation …

When you want to keep a dairy cow …

December 19th, 2017 / Daily Monitor, Uganda

B4FA Fellow Michael Ssali advises:
Many smallholder farmers tend to go into dairy cow keeping by blind trust.
They are told about the economic benefits of owning a dairy cow and they go for one without taking sufficient time to inquire about the suitability and qualities of the cow they want …

Why technology should be at the heart of farming

December 19th, 2017 / Daily Nation, Kenya

Nickson Muturi is the project manager for Business Development at Syngenta, and he is leading agricultural data projects across Africa, specifically focusing on mobile technology. He spoke to Leopold Obi.
To what extent is access to agricultural information through the mobile phone of benefit to smallholder farmers?
Farmers in the region …

How gene editing will boost crop yields

December 19th, 2017 / Successful Farming, US

On the surface, a light switch and gene editing have as much in common as a linebacker does with a ballerina.
Dig a bit deeper, though. “In a very simple way, the main application of gene editing is like flipping a light switch on and off,” says Federico Tripodi, …

Tributes pour in for late Kenyan scholar Calestous Juma

December 19th, 2017 / Aljazeera.com

All of us at B4FA are saddened by the untimely death of Calestours Juma, and send condolences to his family and colleagues at Harvard and around the world.
From Aljazeera:
Prominent Kenyan academic Calestous Juma has died in the United States at the age of 64, prompting an outpouring of grief and …

GMOs might feed the world if investors weren’t so scared

December 15th, 2017 / Bloomberg, US

In the basement of Koshland Hall at the University of California at Berkeley is a trove of seeds with the potential to fix some of agriculture’s most vexing problems.
There are wheat seeds—both hypoallergenic, so more people could eat it, and of a variety able to better withstand unpredictable rainfall—a growing …

Climate change: Gates Foundation pledges $300m for Africa, Asia farmers

December 15th, 2017 / Blueprint, Nigeria

Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has pledged $300 million (about N108 billion) in grants to support agricultural research which would help poor farmers to adapt to the consequences of climate change.
The Foundation announced the commitment, which will run between 2018 and 2020, at the One Planet Summit in Paris on …

Biocontrol tech slashes aflatoxin levels in Tanzania

December 15th, 2017 / SciDev.net, UK

A biocontrol technology called AflasafeTZ could help control the deadly aflatoxin contamination in maize and groundnuts in Tanzania, scientists say.
After a two-year field trial conducted in several sites across Tanzania, AflasafeTZ reduced contamination of food crops with the poisonous fungus by over 85 per cent, according to the results of …