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Innovators and entrepreneurs will unlock Africa’s agribusiness promise

August 31st, 2015 / Quartz Africa

The potential growth of Africa’s food and beverage markets will only be possible with adequate investment in small and medium-sized agribusiness enterprises. Small African firms engaged in agribusiness greatly outnumber the large players. Policymakers need to support agribusiness and technology incubators, export-processing zones and production networks. They must also sharpen …

SA farmers should make use of more GMOs

August 28th, 2015 / iafrica.com, South Africa

Agriculture Minister Senzeni Zokwana said genetically modified farming techniques are being developed by his department and should be adopted by the industry. “We are working with the department of technology in finding new methods by which we can improve new cultivars, the new seeds that are 20 percent resistant to …

Southern African countries urged to unleash agriculture potential

August 28th, 2015 / This Day Live, Nigeria

The Director General of the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), Dr. Nteranya Sanginga, has called on Southern African countries to tap into the youth population in the region to address food insecurity and end unemployment. Addressing policymakers and youths in the region at a conference organised by Centre for …

Africa must adopt climate resilient agricultural policies

August 28th, 2015 / Coastweek.com, Kenya

The Zambian government has called on African countries to adopt climate resilient agricultural policies if the continent is to adapt to the effects of climate change. While acknowledging the adverse effects of extreme climate on agricultural production on the African continent, Minister of Agriculture and Livestocks Permanent Secretary David Shamulenge …

Air pollution affects crops, too

August 24th, 2015 / The Conversation, UK

Air pollutants harm vegetation and crops. In Asia it is estimated that around 10% of the food crop is destroyed by pollutants. For Africa we’ve got no good idea. First because we don’t have the same controlled field experiments on Africa’s staple crops such as cassava or millet as we …

Salt-tolerant plants eyed as crops of the future

August 20th, 2015 / CBC News, Canada

A team of scientists is searching for solutions to what they describe as a fast-approaching agricultural crisis. Their neatly plotted rows of naturally salt-tolerant plants, known as halophytes, could be a part of the answer. The scientists from the M.S. Swaminathan Research Foundation are also trying other approaches: tweaking genes …

Disturbing contrasts in African agriculture

August 20th, 2015 / Daily Monitor, Uganda

B4FA Fellow Michael Ssali reports: In the preface to Africa Development Report 2014, Kofi Annan, wrote: “The unacceptable reality is that too many African farmers still use methods handed down from generation to generation, working their lands or grazing their animals much as their ancestors have done for millennia. Africa …

Can organic farming sustainably feed the developing world?

August 19th, 2015 / Genetic Literacy Project, US

A recent new paper published in the journal Sustainable Agriculture Research examines results from six experiments comparing organic and conventional farming methods. The long-term experiments showed an increase in soil health, productivity, water quality and economic benefits for farmers when they employed organic systems. “These results suggest that organic …

Spectroscopy analysis of soil to help farmers

August 17th, 2015 / African Farming, UK

Soil testing before planting helps farmers to decide the quantity and quality of fertilisers they should apply, thus reducing the risks of crop failure and financial loss. The World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF) has developed a new, faster, low-cost laboratory-based soil analysis technique. Developed by the African Soil Information Service …

Can the Earth feed 11 billion people?

August 13th, 2015 / The Conversation, UK

If industrialised agriculture can now feed 7 billion, then why can’t we figure out how to feed 11 billion by the end of this century? There may be many issues that need to be addressed, the argument runs, but famine isn’t one of them. However there are a number of potentially …