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Nigeria: starting a cocoa farm this season

May 23rd, 2017 / AllAfrica.com

Cocoa, according to the Cocoa Research Institute of Nigeria (CRIN), was introduced by the Portuguese into the Gulf of Guinea from where it got to Nigeria around the last quarter of the 19th Century. The introduced variety was the Amelonado.
This variety later became unique to West Africa, hence the name …

Ethiopia: maize seed adoption programme surpasses goal

May 23rd, 2017 / AllAfrica.com

The Advanced Maize Seed Adoption Program (AMSAP), a public-private partnership (PPP) between the US Agency for International Development (USAID), DuPont, and the Government of Ethiopia, surpassed its goal by 150pc to boost the production of maize among smallholder farmers in Ethiopia.
The programme aimed to help 100,000 smallholder farmers in 16 …

Twice the tomatoes on the vine, thanks to a bit of genetic tweaking

May 23rd, 2017 / Science, US

Plant geneticists have figured out how to almost double the production of garden tomatoes. Though most of us care mainly about how big or tasty our corn or tomatoes are, breeders also care about how these plants grow, as the branching patterns of stems can greatly affect the number of …

Government action needed on climate resiliency and food security in West Africa

May 22nd, 2017 / Mongabay, US

While some leaders in Washington are barely getting their toes wet to address global climate change, researchers at the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA) have dived in head-first. A new study published in Global Environmental Change modeled potential future scenarios for climate change and food security in West …

Can CRISPR feed the world?

May 22nd, 2017 / Phys.org

As the world’s population rises, scientists want to edit the genes of potatoes and wheat to help them fight plant diseases that cause famine.
By 2040, there will be 9 billion people in the world. “That’s like adding another China onto today’s global population,” said Professor Sophien Kamoun of the Sainsbury …

Rice plant engineered with a ‘tunable’ immune system could fight multiple diseases at once

May 22nd, 2017 / Science, US

Farmers are constantly spraying pesticides on their crops to combat an array of viral, bacterial, and fungal invaders. Scientists have been trying to get around these chemicals for years by genetically engineering hardy plants resilient to the array of diseases caused by microbial beasties. Most attempts so far confer protection …

JICA, IRRI, PhilRICE share rice seed production expertise with African farmers

May 19th, 2017 / Manilla Bulletin, Philippines

A group of African farmers graduated recently from a training extended by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), International Rice Research Institute (IRRI), and Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice) as part of development cooperation to boost food security in member countries of the Coalition of African Rice Development (CARD).
JICA, IRRI, …

Establishing seeds as the key element in climate-smart responses to food security

May 19th, 2017 / Reliefweb

In a world of plenty, climate-smart seed is conspicuously scarce
The effects of climate change are highly visible around the world, and examples illustrating the challenges faced by regions abound. The Pacific is no exception – a particularly vulnerable region when it concerns the impacts of climate change. Rising sea levels …

Geneticists engineer a virus to fight citrus disease

May 19th, 2017 / The Scientist

Since 2005, Candidatus Liberibacter, a genus of bacteria that is spread by Asian citrus psyllids (Diaphorina citri) and turns fruit green and bitter, has been devastating orange crops in the United States. “There’s a real race on right now to try to save the citrus,” Carolyn Slupsky, a food scientist …

Gene banks are forever

May 18th, 2017 / Crop Trust

There have been mergers and name changes, budget crunches and strategic re-thinks for the individual centers. And, from 1971 when it was founded, lots of structuring and restructuring – with the obligatory accompanying re-branding – for the club to which they all belong. I remember when it used to be …