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Agroecology as innovation

July 10th, 2019

On July 3, the High Level Panel of Experts of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) released its much-anticipated report on agroecology in Rome. The report signals the continuing shift in emphasis in the UN agency’s approach to agricultural development. As outgoing FAO Director General Jose Graziano da Silva …

Gene editing technology in agriculture: time for African governments to intervene

July 10th, 2019

A series of genome editing related research work in Africa has triggered the need for the continent to develop a dedicated policy for new and precision breeding techniques, especially for genome editing.

According to experts who are already doing gene editing research, National Biosafety Authorities in the continent need to develop …

Foods enhanced with proven health benefits not making it to consumers quickly enough

July 10th, 2019

Professor Johnathan Napier, who pioneered the development of plants that produce heart healthy omega-3 fish oils, says that misinformation and over-regulation is stopping or slowing several GM foods with the potential to save lives from making it to consumers.

He points to the example of Golden Rice, which has been genetically …

Smarter fertilizers can reduce environmental contamination

July 9th, 2019 / Scientific American, US

To feed the world’s growing population, farmers need to increase crop yields. Applying more fertilizer could help. But standard versions work inefficiently and often harm the environment. Fortunately, products that are more ecologically sound – controlled-release fertilizers – are available and becoming increasingly …

CRISPR gene edited soybeans suited for hotter climates offer ‘enormous’ crop yield boost

July 9th, 2019 / Genetic Literacy Project, US

Chinese agricultural scientists using gene-editing technology have created new soybean mutants, which could lead to soybean crops in much warmer climates including South China and countries near the Equator.

To create the soybean mutants, research teams from the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences knocked out two genes using the gene-editing tool known as …

African agripreneurs are reversing the farming stigma

July 8th, 2019 / Borgen Magazine, US

Many African millennials perceive farm work as a last resort, a shameful form of employment that is indicative of poverty. Young African agripreneurs (a shortened form of “agricultural entrepreneurs”) are trying to reverse the stigma by professionalizing farming and transforming it into a more lucrative and attractive employment option for …

The first gene-edited soybean opens door to a slew of new CRISPR foods

July 8th, 2019 / Genetic Literacy Project, US

At the beginning of the year 2019, high oleic soybean oil took its place on the market shelves. It contains several times less saturated fatty acids and healthier oleic acid than oil from conventional soybeans. 

The gene-edited crops most striking feature is that the oil made from it forms less trans …

A CRISPR approach to saving banana

April 23rd, 2019 / Alliance for Science, US

CRISPR/Cas9‐based genome editing is offering new hope for protecting a critical food security crop by developing climate-smart banana varieties.

Research to identify the genes associated with stress‐tolerant traits and other uses of gene editing and genetic engineering to help banana varieties adapt to a changing climate is highlighted in an April …

Africa making progress in using Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) to achieve Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) but more still needs to be done

April 23rd, 2019 / African Brains

Session raised opportunities for scaling up actions considering the role of STI in accelerating efforts to achieve the SDGs under review by Africa Regional Forum on Sustainable Development (ARFSD5)

The Africa Regional Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) Forum was one of the pre-events of the fifth session of the Africa Regional …

What African nations can learn from Rwanda’s growth as an innovation hub

April 23rd, 2019 / New Times, Rwanda

Rwanda is quickly becoming an innovator’s paradise. Technology companies and manufacturers from within and outside the continent are moving to the country to either set up innovation hubs or manufacturing plants.

Last year Andela, which originally launched in Nigeria, announced it was launching a pan-African tech hub in Kigali. The hub …