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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 …

Researchers develop viral disease resistant variety of cowpea

December 15th, 2017 / Research Matters, India

Pest infestation of agricultural crops have been a long standing challenge faced by our farmers. In a recent study, researchers at the Indian Institute of Technology here have developed a genetically modified variety of cowpea that is resistant to the Mungbean Yellow Mosaic India Virus (MYMIV).
In this research, the …

New technique to help plant breeders develop drought resistant varieties faster

December 13th, 2017 / ISAAA, US

Scientists from the Canadian Light Source (CLS) have teamed up with researchers from the University of Saskatchewan (U of S) to develop a new technique to examine drought tolerance in wheat. Led by Chithra Karunakaran and Karen Tanino, the team developed a simple non-destructive method to screen hundreds of wheat …

Mind the (food) gap

December 12th, 2017 / Daily Maverick, South Africa

By the middle of this century, the world’s farmers will have another 2.4-billion mouths to feed, half of which will be in Africa. But if we only focus on producing more calories of food per hectare, and throttling back population growth in order to fill the gap, we won’t address …

Africa’s top 10 most food-secure countries

December 12th, 2017 / Biz-Community, South Africa

Finding enough to eat has been an ages-old challenge for Africans. Against a physical environment often hostile to agricultural and pastoral activity – deserts, mountains and dense forests – the population explosion of the past century has made the goal of food security an ever more difficult accomplishment. More and …

South African farmer offers ‘living testimony’ to safety of biotech

December 11th, 2017 / Alliance for Science, US

“At first I was resistant due to some of the negative stories about biotechnology that are out there, like hearing that some people develop cancer and stuff,” she said.
After being persuaded to plant biotech seeds on one hectare of land, that resistance quickly faded away.
“Guess what? I saw …

Technology much needed on farming

December 11th, 2017 / Daily Monitor, Uganda

B4FA Fellow Michael Ssali writes:
The passing of the Biotechnology and Bio-safety Bill by parliament about two months ago has cast a chill over some people and according to media reports; there is an attempt to institute legal proceedings to block GMO technology adoption in Uganda.
Yet this is the technology …

“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 …