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“Farming is business” – Migration to the city and the future of farming in Kenya

December 11th, 2017 / Sustainable Food Trust

In the Kenyan reality TV show Don’t Lose the Plot (DLTP), four young farmers budget, plant and grow their farms in a competition that rewards the most profitable and sustainable contestant with an agricultural investment worth $10,000. Set up on one acre of land each, the contenders have nine months …

Scientists see role for insects and ‘orphan crops’ in human diet

December 8th, 2017 / Financial Times, UK

Remarkably few plant and animal species dominate global agriculture and food production. Cattle, sheep, pigs and poultry make up most of the livestock sector, while wheat, maize, rice and soya account for 60 per cent of the world’s total crop output. Fewer than 30 species account for more than 95 …

GMO technology in Uganda

December 8th, 2017 / The Independent, Uganda

B4FA Fellow Michael Ssali writes:
The recent article in The Independent magazine (October 31 2017) titled “Tears and Cheers over New GMO Law” left me, as a farmer and a science journalist, disappointed. It carried negative and misleading sentiments about agricultural biotechnology.
Uganda’s decision to adapt Agricultural GMO technology and the passing …

Weeding out striga from African drylands

December 8th, 2017 / Thomson Reuters

Striga experts from Europe, USA, Africa and Asia gathered for two days 28-29 November 2017 at the Biosciences Hub for Eastern and Central Africa (BecA) in Nairobi to discuss viable options for tackling this weed that has plagued sub Saharan African agriculture for decades.
Despite its striking purple flowers …

Japan to support efforts targeting crop-destroying fall armyworm in South Sudan

December 7th, 2017 / CNBC Africa

Efforts in South Sudan to fight Fall armyworm, an insect that destroys crops, have received a boost thanks to the Government of Japan’s decision to provide $3 million to support a project run by Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the World Food Programme (WFP) together …

Experts intensify war on aflatoxins

December 7th, 2017 / Daily New, Tanzania

Various stakeholders from across the African continent are meeting in Dar es Salaam to step up efforts in the fight against aflatoxin contamination in the maize value chain.
The two-day regional workshop, organised by the Partnership for Aflatoxin Control in Africa (PACA) in collaboration with its partners, seeks to address the …

Climate change fighting plants

December 7th, 2017 / San Diego Union-Tribune, US

The Salk Institute has enlisted a new ally in the effort to address the anticipated dangers of climate change — plants.
Scientists at the institute propose to breed plants to more efficiently remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, sequestering it in the ground for many decades. This could reduce global warming, …

FAO looking at cactus as climate resilient food

December 6th, 2017 / UN News Service

With the reality of climate change becoming more real by the day, including its impact on food sources, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) is urging communities around the world not to take the prickly cactus for granted.
“Climate change and the increasing risks of droughts are strong reasons …

Genes found in drought-resistant plants could accelerate evolution of water-use efficient crops

December 6th, 2017 / Oak Ridge National Laboratory

Scientists at the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory have identified a common set of genes that enable different drought-resistant plants to survive in semi-arid conditions, which could play a significant role in bioengineering and creating energy crops that are tolerant to water deficits.
Plants thrive in drylands by keeping …

UN soil expert urges Africa to increase funding for soil research

December 6th, 2017 / Xinhua, China

A United Nation soil scientist on Tuesday called on African countries to increase their budgetary allocations to purchase soil research equipment that could help improve food productivity.
Daniel Pennock, the Chairman of the Intergovernmental Technical Panel on Soils (ITPS) of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), said timely research is …