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FAO launches guide to tackle Fall Armyworm in Africa head-on

February 19th, 2018 / Reliefweb

Faced with the infestation of millions of hectares of maize, most in the hands of smallholder farmers, and the relentless spread of Fall Armyworm (FAW) across most of Africa, the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) launched today a comprehensive guide on the integrated pest management of the FAW on …

Wild crops could save chickpeas

February 19th, 2018 / Reuters

They are nutritious, versatile and a dietary staple for millions of people from South Asia to Ethiopia, but scientists have warned that the humble chickpea is under threat from climate impacts such as higher temperatures, drought and pests.
The key to saving the chickpea could lie with a project cross-breeding domestic …

Crop diversity for human nutrition and health benefits

February 16th, 2018 / World Agriculture

REPORT
Summary: Alongside dramatic increases in crop production over the last 50 years, global food systems have become more dependent on a few major `staple’ crops – just three cereals now provide about 60% of plant-based human energy intake.
There is compelling evidence that diverse diets that include fruits, vegetables, nuts and …

Why sorghum is valued

February 16th, 2018 / The Star, Kenya

Sorghum is a flowering plant in the family of grass botanically known as poaceae. There are 25 species of sorghum in the world.
There are species grown for grain, while others are grown for fodder to feed livestock. Most are drought- and heat-tolerant, and the grains are used as food in …

Why a global decline in genetic crop variety matters for the future of food

February 16th, 2018 / Genetic Literacy Project, US

Potatoes are native to the Andes, and over 4,000 varieties are grown there now. They come in numerous shapes, sizes and colors – red, yellow, purple, striped and spotted. A colorful mound of them resembles the bold, burnished colors of locally woven shawls.
This wide array of types is an example …

Trust, ease and transparency: how one microfinance institution is reaching pural farmers

February 16th, 2018 / AgriLinks

In Kenya, smallholder farmers lack access to financial services and face high barriers to accessing commercial banks and community lending institutions. These institutions rarely approve loans to smallholder farmers or have a slow turnaround time for approval, preventing farmers from getting capital when they need it in the agricultural cycle. …

How climate change is fuelling innovation in Kenya

February 14th, 2018 / Smithsonian Magazine, US

A new generation of start ups are working to help farmers in a region that faces myriad challenges
On a shopping trip to the rice-trading hub of Mwea, Rigu had an insight. In front of each rice processor’s storefront there were heaps of chaff, the almost weightless husk that is separated …

Fighting plant pests

February 14th, 2018 / Daily Monitor, Uganda

B4FA Fellow Michael Ssali writes:
Pests are described as insects, bacteria, viruses, birds, and rodents that destroy crops by eating them or by infecting them with diseases.
They are often a nuisance which results in huge losses for the farmer. They can damage the crop when it is growing in the field …

African reality show trains youths in farming

February 14th, 2018 / Christian Science Monitor,

The TV show aims to challenge prejudices surrounding farming-related careers to prove that agriculture can be fun and profitable by giving young people in Kenya and Tanzania plots of land to cultivate with a cash prize for the most productive.
As a student, Leah Wangari imagined a glamorous life as a …

I Didn’t Think There Were Many African Women Scientists. Then …

February 12th, 2018 / NPR

Recently, an online survey asked me to name African women scientists I admired. I found myself struggling — even though I’m a Kenyan entomologist, researching sustainable ways to feed our expanding population amid a changing climate. I thought to myself, why are there so few of us?
I was wrong: We …