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Africa’s food security challenges driving technological innovation

March 21st, 2017 / BIZCommunity, South Africa

Climate change, severe drought, water scarcity and the invasion of Fall armyworm sees Africa’s food security under threat, but technology tools are available to help solve the continent’s food security problems. Lawrence Kandaswami, Managing Director, SAP South Africa says: “Smart farming solutions will become the cornerstone of global food production …

Drought tolerant wheat on the way

March 21st, 2017 / Agriculture.com

Look for a grinning, midsize lab-coat guy this winter, wearing dark glasses possibly, at the CFIA Variety Registration Office in Ottawa or Toronto. Julian Northey plans to be there, toting his paperwork, to register a new durum wheat for trials in western Canada.
If it happens and if it holds up …

Farmers abandon maize for drought-resistant crops

March 21st, 2017 / The Star, Kenya

As the drought continues to ravage parts of the country, farmers in Makueni have nothing to worry about since they have millet, sorghum and green grams to eat and sell.
Samuel Mutune, a father of seven, says he grew maize for many years but that the harvests were poor due to …

The business case for soil

March 17th, 2017 / Nature, UK

Nobody likes dirty business, but the business world must get to grips with dirt. Soil provides food, fibres and fuels, and regulates water resources and climate. Yet most businesses are unaware that their bottom lines depend on soil; nor are they aware of the risks they face from its degradation. …

Crops you harvest in less than six months

March 17th, 2017 / Daily Monitor, Uganda

Currently, due to climate change as a result of deforestation, reclamation of swamps, and industrialisation, among other factors, traditional farmers who depended on the traditional crop growing calendar of March are no longer to tell seasons due to unpredictable dry spells, since there was no mitigation.
This, in part, implies that …

BT cotton varieties with reusable seeds

March 17th, 2017 / ISAAA, US

Scientists at Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) in India has developed genetically engineered Bt cotton seeds that can be reused, thus saving farmers’ input costs. These cotton varieties are PAU Bt 1 and F1861. Rajasthan Agricultural University also developed RS 2013. The F1861 and RS 2013 varieties were transformed into Bt …

CRISPR, microbes and more are joining the war against crop killers

March 17th, 2017 / Nature, UK

Resistance to conventional pesticides — among insects, weeds or microbial pathogens — is common on farms worldwide. CropLife International, an industry association based in Brussels, supports efforts that have counted 586 arthropod species, 235 fungi and 252 weeds with resistance to at least one synthetic pesticide (see ‘The rise of …

Unlocking the power of African soil microbes

March 17th, 2017 / Scientific American

Like the developed world, the African continent soil also harbors billions of beneficial soil bacteria that can be utilized to revolutionize African agriculture. And for many smallholder farmers across Africa who have few resources, microbe inoculants can open new opportunities. Such opportunities can range from increase in crop yields to …

Glyphosate: dangerous chemical or anti-GMO bogeyman?

March 17th, 2017 / Genetic Literacy Project, US

No other chemical in modern agriculture has attracted as much scrutiny and criticism as glyphosate. The herbicide–widely sold generically but also under the trade name of Roundup, and originally patented by Monsanto–has been used in home gardens and by farmers for decades. It has played a key role in the …

Raising crop productivity in Africa through intensification

March 14th, 2017 / Agronomy, Switzerland

The population of Africa will double in the next 33 years to reach 2.5 billion by 2050. Although roughly 60% of the continent’s population is engaged in agriculture, the produce from this sector cannot feed its citizens. Hence, in 2013 alone, Africa imported 56.5 million tons of wheat, maize, and …