In the news...

Drought-tolerant maize shows promise in Tanzania

February 20th, 2017 / Alliance for Science, US

Tanzania’s first-ever genetically modified crop — a field trial of drought-tolerant maize intended to benefit small-scale farmers suffering the effects of climate change — is proceeding well and will be harvested imminently, according to scientists overseeing the trial for the Water Efficient Maize for Africa (WEMA) project.
Dr. Alois Kullaya, …

International Year of Pulses closes with call to build upon strong momentum

February 20th, 2017 / African Farming, UK

The International Year of Pulses, which was celebrated in 2016, has helped raise awareness globally of the benefits of eating and growing pulses, with calls to now build upon the strong momentum.
At the closing ceremony of the International Year of Pulses (IYP) hosted by Burkina Faso with the UN …

Is organic farming better for the environment?

February 20th, 2017 / Genetic Literacy Project, US

Many consumers believe that buying organic is “voting with their dollars” for a more environmentally desirable form of farming. That belief is promoted in organic marketing campaigns. Unfortunately, those consumer intentions are not supported by a realistic assessment of state-of-the-art environmentally optimal farming methods.
The standards that govern organic farming, set …

Are genetically modified crops a solution for the African armyworm invasion?

February 20th, 2017 / AFKinsider

A combination of native African armyworms and Fall armyworms from the Americas are ravaging staple crops across southern Africa. If uncontrolled, they have the potential to cause major food shortages, according to a report in The Conversation.
Damage to maize is likely to have the biggest impact on farmers in southern …

Economic transformation in Africa should be spurred by agriculture

February 16th, 2017 / Ghana Business News

The African Centre for Economic Transformation (ACET) said Africa’s agricultural sector can drive economic transformation on the continent if the challenges in the sector are properly addressed.
Dr. Yaw Ansu, Chief Economist at ACET, speaking on: “The Importance of Agriculture in Economic Transformation,” said if Africa can better impact the lives …

Rwanda: over 3,000 farmers to receive coffee treatment skills

February 16th, 2017 / AllAfrica.com

Sustainable Harvest Rwanda, a nongovernmental organisation that aims to improve coffee productivity, this week launched a three-year-long project to help women better take control of the coffee farming process.
The project, which will focus on three districts (Gakenke, Rulindo and Gicumbi) in the Northern Province, will train more than 3,000 female …

Togolese Gilbert Houngbo elected new IFAD boss amid food crisis in Africa

February 16th, 2017 / Daily Nation, Kenya

The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) on Tuesday elected a new president amid increasing demand for rural agricultural development funding in developing countries
The fund, which is a specialised United Nations agency and international financial institution that invests in eradicating rural poverty in developing countries around the world, elected former …

Scientists explain how plants resist drought

February 15th, 2017 / ISAAA, US

Scientists from the University of Illinois investigated the molecular mechanism that enables plants to lessen water loss while facing drought. They focused on a key hormone known as abscisic acid (ABA) which binds to a protein (PYL receptor) and then causes a series of reactions leading to the closing of …

Pests, disease seen hitting southern African food output

February 15th, 2017 / Reuters, Africa

Crop pests and diseases sweeping through southern Africa pose a threat to food security in a region where production has yet to recover from drought, a senior U.N. food agency official said on Tuesday, calling for a swift and coordinated response.
At the start of an emergency conference called by the …

Examining the folly of “I’m not a scientist …”

February 15th, 2017 / News & Guts.com

Paul Nurse and Dan Rather have both spent their lives looking at the world and how it works, albeit from very different perspectives. Now the Nobel Prize winning geneticist and esteemed journalist come together for a frank and thoughtful conversation on the state of science and its role in society. …