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Smallholders’ global food production underestimated

December 18th, 2018 / SciDev,net

The proportion of smallholder farms globally may be much larger than previously thought, suggesting that their current contribution to global food production could be underestimated, a crowdsourcing study reveals.
According to previous studies, smallholder farms — agricultural fields less than around two hectors in size — make up between 12 and …

Significant progress in pearl millet pre-breeding to develop drought- and blast-resistant varieties

December 17th, 2018 / ICRISAT

Efforts to develop pearl millet with improved resistance to drought and blast disease recently got a major boost. The identification of promising introgression lines after multi-location trials, will help accelerate development of new varieties and increase pearl millet production and productivity.
Pearl millet is an important source of nutrition for millions …

Hybrid rice engineered with CRISPR can clone its seeds

December 17th, 2018 / Science News

After more than 20 years of theorizing about it, scientists have tweaked a hybrid variety of rice so that some of the plants produce cloned seeds. No plant sex necessary. The feat, described December 12 in Nature, is encouraging for efforts to feed an increasingly crowded world.
Crossing two good varieties …

The future of drought-tolerant wheat is near

December 17th, 2018 / Global Farmer Network

I have seen the future of wheat and it’s in Argentina.
Or at least one version of it which would be of great benefit to an Australian farmer like me.
Let me explain. Two years ago, I had the chance to visit Argentina in a low rainfall area very similar to areas …

From mangoes to maize, climate change brings new hunger threats

December 14th, 2018 / AllAfrica

In northern Ghana, where climate change is bringing an ever-shorter rainy season, struggling farmers are looking for more land they can plant to get enough of a harvest to feed their families.
That’s bad news for the region’s women, who cannot own land of their own but instead farm on plots …

Climate change: Failure to tackle warming ‘suicidal’

December 14th, 2018 / BBC, UK

The UN secretary-general has warned negotiators at a major meeting that failing to increase efforts on climate change would be “not only immoral but suicidal” for the planet.
Antonio Guterres has flown back to Poland to try and push COP24 to a successful conclusion.
At the UN talks, a group of countries …

In Africa, tech-savvy entrepreneurs sow seeds of a farming revolution

December 13th, 2018 / UN Environment, Kenya

From invaluable farming advice shared via text message to livestock vaccines delivered when and where they are needed thanks to a mobile phone service, agri-tech and precision farming are changing the face of agriculture across Africa.
This transformation is an urgent imperative. With global warming threatening harvests, and the world’s population …

Will a new pest beat transgenic corn to African farms?

December 13th, 2018 / Futurity

Bt corn could help farmers in Africa to combat an emerging pest capable of devastating their crops, but fear of GM crops in Africa has slowed adoption of the technology, says Walter Suza, an adjunct assistant professor of agronomy at Iowa State and a coauthor of the study.
“My hope is …

WRI: GMOs and gene editing can help improve crop breeding to boost yields to feed the world

December 13th, 2018 / ISAAA, US

A new report from the World Resources Institute The says that there is no silver bullet in producing enough food sustainably, but it offers a five-course menu of solutions to ensure feeding everyone without increasing emissions, fueling deforestation, or exacerbating poverty. WRI estimates that feeding the world sustainably while reducing …

Sparing vs Sharing: the great debate over how to protect nature

December 12th, 2018 / e360 Yale.edu

It is one of the biggest questions in conservation: Should we be sharing our landscapes with nature by reviving small woodlands and adopting small-scale eco-friendly farming? Or should we instead be sparing large tracts of land for nature’s exclusive use – by creating more national parks and industrializing agriculture on …